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Our Staff

A team of experienced professionals dedicated to treating each person with compassion, care and dignity.

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Meet Our Team

Social Worker

Ashley Franklin, LMSW

Ashley earned her masters degree through the University of Tennessee School of Social Work. Prior to joining JFS, she worked in an adolescent treatment center and school systems. She joined the JFS team in 2018 provides services to the community including counseling, case management, family life education programs, and more.
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Ashley’s experience encompasses program design, direct practice, and establishing community resources. In 2005, she became the first district wide Social Worker for Franklin Special School District and was there for 13 years. She developed and implemented the first district food pantry for the school system and was a founding board member of the NOOK (Needs Of Our Kids). She served as a member of several committees including Coordinated School Health, and WCS/FSSD School Safety Board. Another accomplishment is developing a partnership with a local animal shelter to enable adolescents to work with animals and develop better socio-emotional skills.

Ashley is an empathetic and compassionate social worker who takes a strengths- based approach to helping her clients. She connects and builds trust quickly with clients through her down to earth and authentic style.

She is intentional in her work with children, adolescents, adults and families. She implements Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, as well as a Family Systems approach to help clients focus on their goals and overcome barriers in life.

Ashley enjoys working with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, life adjustments, addiction, and marriage and family issues.

615-354-1662

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Controller

Kevin Goughary

Kevin joined the JFS staff in late 2020, and possesses extensive financial experience in both nonprofit and corporate environments. Prior to working in the world of non-profits, Kevin led the finance department of EJ Footwear. At JFS, Kevin continues to utilize his experience to serve a greater purpose as the financial arm of the JFS team!

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From its inception, Kevin directed all financial and operational functions of Soles4Souls, a charitable organization distributing shoes and clothing to people facing abject poverty or natural disasters–both locally and internationally. Subsequently, in co-founding a nonprofit with another Nashville professional, he continued to serve the needs of people in developing nations. That organization, ToolLife, provided tools and other resources to help create sustainable livelihoods through skills training.

615-354-1646

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Clinical Director

Toni Jacobsen, LCSW

Toni received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Tennessee and has nearly 30 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She utilizes a versatile approach to therapy and is passionate about working together with individuals and families to address issues that are interfering with their daily their lives.
More About Toni→

Toni is a licensed clinical social worker and is the Clinical Director at JFS. She began her career in the mental health field in 1989 facilitating abuse prevention groups for children. She has worked with abused/neglected teenagers in a group home through the YWCA, as a Child and Family Therapist for The Guidance Center and as a Clinical Director at Camelot Cares before coming to JFS. Toni volunteered to serve on the Williamson County Child Fatality Review Team and to be a board member for First Steps. She joined Jewish Family Service in 2000 and provides a range of services to the Jewish and general community including counseling, family life education programs, financial assistance, adoption, support groups, as well managing the kosher food box, school supply and Hanukkah gift programs.

Toni has over 28 years of field experience with a wide range of populations and utilizes an eclectic approach including cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy with children, supportive and short-term problem focused therapy. Toni has expertise addressing anxiety, depression, trauma, parenting issues, behavioral problems, dysfunctional families, marital discord, and divorce.

One of her passions is working together with individuals and families to address an issue that might be causing dysfunction in their lives. Sometimes we can control what is happening around us and can make positive changes while other times all we can do is survive the storm.  Toni works with her clients to increase their ability to cope through teaching positive coping skills.

Toni enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, volunteer work and creating new things.

615-354-1672

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More About Ashley →

Ashley’s experience encompasses program design, direct practice, and establishing community resources. In 2005, she became the first district wide Social Worker for Franklin Special School District and was there for 13 years. She developed and implemented the first district food pantry for the school system and was a founding board member of the NOOK (Needs Of Our Kids). She served as a member of several committees including Coordinated School Health, and WCS/FSSD School Safety Board. Another accomplishment is developing a partnership with a local animal shelter to enable adolescents to work with animals and develop better socio-emotional skills.

Ashley is an empathetic and compassionate social worker who takes a strengths- based approach to helping her clients. She connects and builds trust quickly with clients through her down to earth and authentic style.

She is intentional in her work with children, adolescents, adults and families. She implements Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, as well as a Family Systems approach to help clients focus on their goals and overcome barriers in life.

Ashley enjoys working with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, life adjustments, addiction, and marriage and family issues.

(615) 354-1662

Email

More About Kevin →

From its inception, Kevin directed all financial and operational functions of Soles4Souls, a charitable organization distributing shoes and clothing to people facing abject poverty or natural disasters–both locally and internationally. Subsequently, in co-founding a nonprofit with another Nashville professional, he continued to serve the needs of people in developing nations. That organization, ToolLife, provided tools and other resources to help create sustainable livelihoods through skills training.

(615) 354-1646

Email

More About Toni→

Toni is a licensed clinical social worker and is the Clinical Director at JFS. She began her career in the mental health field in 1989 facilitating abuse prevention groups for children. She has worked with abused/neglected teenagers in a group home through the YWCA, as a Child and Family Therapist for The Guidance Center and as a Clinical Director at Camelot Cares before coming to JFS. Toni volunteered to serve on the Williamson County Child Fatality Review Team and to be a board member for First Steps. She joined Jewish Family Service in 2000 and provides a range of services to the Jewish and general community including counseling, family life education programs, financial assistance, adoption, support groups, as well managing the kosher food box, school supply and Hanukkah gift programs.

Toni has over 28 years of field experience with a wide range of populations and utilizes an eclectic approach including cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy with children, supportive and short-term problem focused therapy. Toni has expertise addressing anxiety, depression, trauma, parenting issues, behavioral problems, dysfunctional families, marital discord, and divorce.

One of her passions is working together with individuals and families to address an issue that might be causing dysfunction in their lives. Sometimes we can control what is happening around us and can make positive changes while other times all we can do is survive the storm.  Toni works with her clients to increase their ability to cope through teaching positive coping skills.

Toni enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, volunteer work and creating new things.

(615) 354-1672

Email

Executive Director

Pam Kelner

Joining the organization in 2010, Pam’s business background combined with her “social worker heart” has made her a perfect fit for the role of Executive Director of JFS. She has helped the agency grow in many ways including developing new programming, grant writing, fundraising, marketing, and board development.

More About pam →

Pam graduated from Boston University with a BA in Marketing and Finance. Upon graduation, she began a 14 year career at Bloomberg Financial Markets in New York. At Bloomberg she held many different positions in the Sales and Marketing division ranging from management to conference planning, electronic trading and training for all new sales recruits. After moving to Nashville in 2005, she became certified to teach Pilates and owned her own business, @ Home Pilates, which offered private and small group Pilates lessons to clients either in their homes or in her home studio.

Pam currently serves on the board of Congregation Sherith Israel as Secretary, Akiva School, The Council on Aging’s Leadership Council, Nashville Pride, and serves as the Board Chair for the  local board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP).

Pam was named a Women of Influence in Nonprofit Leadership by the Nashville Business Journal in 2019.

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Senior Administrative Coordinator

Janet Parr

At JFS, Janet applies her creativity and organizational skills to assist the director, board and staff in the areas of fundraising, marketing and programming while ensuring the efficient work flow of day-to-day office operations. JFS recently honored Janet with the agency’s 2013 Ruach Award.

More About Janet →

After studying music at the University of Georgia, Janet attended Belmont University where she received her Bachelors of Administration. She then worked as a music industry professional for over 20 years before joining the staff of Jewish Family Service in 2008.

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Helping Hands Program Coordinator

Anna Sir

Anna oversees the Helping Hands Program and oversees the recruitment and training of a robust group of volunteers and focuses on staying connected to the seniors who are served by these JFS programs. As an active community volunteer for numerous organizations, she joined our team in 2006

More About Anna →

Anna received a Bachelor of Science degree from MTSU with an emphasis in Social Work and English. She also completed a certificate in volunteer management from the Center for Nonprofit Management of Nashville and is a certified yoga instructor.

615-354-1686

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More About pam →

Pam graduated from Boston University with a BA in Marketing and Finance. Upon graduation, she began a 14 year career at Bloomberg Financial Markets in New York. At Bloomberg she held many different positions in the Sales and Marketing division ranging from management to conference planning, electronic trading and training for all new sales recruits. After moving to Nashville in 2005, she became certified to teach Pilates and owned her own business, @ Home Pilates, which offered private and small group Pilates lessons to clients either in their homes or in her home studio.

Pam currently serves on the board of Congregation Sherith Israel as Secretary, Akiva School, The Council on Aging’s Leadership Council, Nashville Pride, and serves as the Board Chair for the  local board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP).

Pam was named a Women of Influence in Nonprofit Leadership by the Nashville Business Journal in 2019.

(615) 354-1644

Email

More About Janet →

After studying music at the University of Georgia, Janet attended Belmont University where she received her Bachelors of Administration. She then worked as a music industry professional for over 20 years before joining the staff of Jewish Family Service in 2008.

(615) 354-4234

Email

More About Anna →

Anna received a Bachelor of Science degree from MTSU with an emphasis in Social Work and English. She also completed a certificate in volunteer management from the Center for Nonprofit Management of Nashville and is a certified yoga instructor.

(615) 354-1686

Email

All Services

Our comprehensive social services and programs are designed to enrich the whole person, enhance the whole family, and empower the whole community–no matter your age, race, religion, preference, identity, economic standing, or otherwise.

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Counseling Services

Life can be challenging, relationships can be hard, and you may need the extra support that comes with working with a therapist. Our licensed social workers offer counseling for individuals, couples, and families, as well as for children and adolescents.

Individuals  |  Couples  |  Families   |  Children & Teens

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Adoption Services

Choosing to adopt a child, or to place a child for adoption, is a life-altering decision. We are a licensed child-placing agency in Tennessee with more than 40 years of experience in adoption services in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Birth Parents  |  Adoptive Parents  |  LGBTQ+ Adoptions

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Food & Financial Support

Whether you need emergency financial assistance, such as help paying a utility bill or rent for the month, or material assistance by ensuring your children have gifts at the holidays, school supplies, or food supplements, Jewish Family Service offers this critical assistance in a confidential, compassionate manner.

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Older Adult Programs & Services

We recognize that older adults are true treasures, and we strive to create and maintain a community that values and celebrates them for their wisdom, contributions, and experiences. Our programs and services are an important outlet for our older adults, encouraging them to be social and stimulated.

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Family & Community Enrichment

Life can be challenging, and knowledge is power. The Jewish Family Service’s Family and Community Enrichment programs serve to empower, protect, and address the ever-changing needs of the entire Nashville community.

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Who We Are

Passionate providers of comprehensive social services, we are advocates, allies, educators, cheerleaders, and guides who create solutions to problems facing families and individuals of all ages.

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Our Staff

We are a team of experienced professionals dedicated to treating each person with compassion, care and dignity.

Meet the Team →

Board of Directors

A group of people with different backgrounds and perspectives who come together to help Jewish Family Service fulfill its mission and expand its reach.

Meet Our Leadership Team →

Ways To Help

The number of ways in which you can help support individuals and families navigate life’s transitions are endless.

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Volunteer

Volunteers are a vital part of how we support our clients. Find opportunities to assist those in our community who need a helping hand.

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Make a Donation

Since our founding in 1853, the generous support of our community has made the work of Jewish Family Service possible.

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JFS Central

Press coverage about JFS Nashville’s programing and services, learn about the history of the agency from our past newsletters, and enjoy reading original JFS content like our signature advice column, “Dear Esther.” Stay up to date with the impact we’re making throughout our community.

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Events & Gatherings

Check out the full calendar of upcoming JFS Nashville events. From community education, support groups, and special engagements alike, find out where you can show up and get connected.

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Information & Referral Resources

Connect with our community partners. Our information and referral directory includes local and national resources that can provide additional support for addiction, mental health, and more.

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Senior Services Directory

Need to know which pharmacies deliver? How to get a ride somewhere? Volunteer opportunities? The senior directory is the go-to resource for anything seniors might need related to the community.

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Contact Us

How can we help? Send us a message, give us a call, or find us on social media. We usually respond within 1-2 business days.

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