Cairn Guidance brings decades of experience in education and adolescent/school health at the local, state, and national levels.
About the Director
Jess Lawrence is an enthusiastic, energetic, extroverted New Englander living in Eastern Kentucky by way of Portland, Oregon after 20 years. She started her career doing exactly what she wanted to do since her own high school experience—teaching 7th graders health education. In 2003, Jess was hired as the Health Education Curriculum Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education, where she provided assistance and professional development to health teachers across Oregon. In 2006, Jess pursued a career as a national school & community health consultant, working with state departments of transportation, education, and health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school districts and non-profits working to create healthier schools and communities. She writes curriculum, presents keynote addresses at conferences and facilitates adult learners.
Jess is Chair of the Board of Directors for RMC Health in Colorado. She is also on the Advisory Board for Yoga Foster, based in New York City and equips teachers with resources, equipment and support to implement yoga in the classroom. She was nationally recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in 2013 when she received the first Healthier Generation Hero Award for cycling across the US solo in 2013 and raising over $23,000 to fight childhood obesity. She is also being recognized by the American School Health Association (ASHA) in October of 2016 as an ASHA Fellow.
Jess commits the time to regularly swim, run, bicycle, cook and travel internationally for vacation. Jess has lived in Chile and New Zealand. The majority of Jess’ television screen time is spent watching the best sport in the world, soccer! Her biggest weakness is mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Elizabeth Thorne, Masters in public health
Vice President of Policy and programs
Liz is passionate about creating environments that enable all young people to reach their full potential. As VP of Policy and Programs, Liz leads projects that drive systems change through policy, research, high-quality programming, and partnership. Liz has worked in public health and research for nearly a decade. As the Adolescent Health Policy and Assessment Specialist for the Oregon Public Health Division, she conducted statewide surveillance of adolescent health issues and provided strategic policy direction. She advised on topics including minor consent and confidentiality, school-based health center expansion, evidence-based messaging for youth post-marijuana legalization, and advancing youth participatory action research.
Liz is a member of the Oregon Youth Development Council and guides policy and funding decisions for community and school-based youth development programs. In this role she brings expertise in positive youth development science and best practices.
Liz lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, two young children, and two dogs. She teaches yoga as often as possible and is most at home camping or hiking in nature.
Antionette Meeks, EdD, CPP, MCHES
Dove Self-Esteem Cadre Coordinator
Antionette Meeks is formerly with the Florida Department of Education was the Health Coordinator/Assistant Director, where she worked with district offices, state and community organizations, and other state agencies. Antionette organized and led a professional development cadre and a cadre of district-level health education coordinators who acted as an advisory board. She also created, organized, and facilitated the Academy for Teachers of Health Education, worked with the Florida Department of Health on the implementation of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and facilitated the implementation of the School Health Profiles. As she closed her career at the Florida Department of Education, she was a member of the staff for the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, where she assisted with aspects of their bullying and child abuse prevention education program for schools.
Samantha Lowe, MS in Experimental Psychology
Samantha Lowe is a recent graduate of Morehead State University’s Experimental Psychology master’s program. Originally from Maysville, Kentucky she has been a resident of Eastern Kentucky her entire life. Growing up in Appalachian culture sparked Samantha’s interest in sex education, and she later went on to further research the topic in her Master’s research project; A Vagina is an Ugly Duckling: Metaphors for Sex Education. This project focused on young adult’s ability to speak metaphorically about sexual and non-sexual topics, while also analyzing how political affiliation and virginity status hinder or enhance one’s ability to effectively communicate about sensitive topics. Samantha worked very closely with undergraduate research assistants, teaching and promoting appropriate lab protocol for sensitive subjects. But the most rewarding part of her research came from interacting with over 150 students during research interview sessions, giving her the opportunity to really understand how young adults in the Appalachian region perceive sensitive facets of human sexuality. Samantha’s graduate work proved worthy, and her research was accepted to the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in May of 2016!
Samantha still currently lives in Morehead, Kentucky with her two dogs, Tesla and Petie. When Samantha has free time you can find her hula-hooping, cooking, reading Chuck Palanuick, or spending time with one of her four younger sisters.
With a strong passion to educate and initiate conversations on sexual health, Samantha is excited to begin her journey with Jess and Cairn Guidance.