ASCENT Staff & Board
Board of Directors
The ASCENT Board is a well conceived cross section of business, faith, recovery, and treatment communities in Joplin. Each member brings a unique perspective to the mix. All of the members are extremely successful in their chosen fields as well as experienced in a variety of community development and public charity projects over the years. We have three business owners, a senior pastor, the CEO of the local mental health/substance abuse treatment provider, an attorney, and sales representative. ASCENT is also proud to be partnered with St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Teddy Steen – Executive Director:
Teddy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and a Teaching Certificate in Secondary Education. She holds certifications through the Missouri Substance Abuse Credentialing Board as a SATOP instructor, a Recognized Associate Substance Abuse Counselor II, a Missouri Recovery Support Professional, and a Medication Assisted Recovery Specialist. She has 27 years of sustained substance abuse recovery. Teddy serves on the Workforce Investment Board. She is the Missouri Re-entry Committee Chairperson for District 9 and District 33 Missouri Probation and Parole office, and she serves on the Restorative Justice Board with District 9 Missouri Probation and Parole office.
Carl Perkins – Program Director:
Carl Perkins (MSW, LMSW, CPS) has been serving as a volunteer for ASCENT since its inception in 2007 and paid staff since 2012, becoming program director in 2018. Since 2000, Carl has maintained continuous sobriety, become President of his family owned construction company, completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in writing from Missouri State University and a Master of Social Work from Missouri State University and raised his four children. Carl is committed to his recovery, the local recovery community, and his church fellowship. As Ascent Recovery’s Program Director, Carl will continue to provide a unique contribution as he, himself, is an ex-offender, who has successfully negotiated the challenges that face those attempting to reenter society.
Clayton Jackson – Residential Manager
M. Clayton Jackson (CPS) successfully graduated the Ascent Recovery Residential Program. He was in the Ascent program for 13 months. Clayton has volunteered with Ascent Recovery ever since his graduation July 16, 2015. He accepted the staff position as Residential Manager September 10, 2018. After a long sordid past of addiction and crime, Mr. Jackson has maintained continuous sobriety since his last and final arrest on September 26, 2012. Whether it be church, Building Bridges, Good Dads, family or within the recovery community, Clayton continues to serve locally in many capacities. After termination-of-rights to his minor son, Clayton regretted that loss for many years. Nevertheless, with profound determination, commitment, and perseverance, Clayton and his lovely wife Mauri have now had that previous decision overturned. Clayton’s minor son is now in the home. Clayton and Mauri maintain full legal custody. They also have two other children. As a Missouri Certified Peer Specialist, Clayton provides recovery couching and care-coordination for the Ascent men. As an ex-offender who has successfully negotiated the challenges of reentry, Clayton is a powerful asset to The Ascent community.
Rev. Aaron Brown – President:
Rev. Aaron Brown, Senior Pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church: Rev. Brown is from Warrensburg, MO. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Hendrix College and a Master’s Degree from the Duke University Divinity School. He is also an ordained elder in the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Brooke LaPosta – Secretary:
Brooke LaPosta is an Account Executive with Quest Diagnostics. Brooke has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. Brooke has been involved with ASCENT since 2010. She is actively involved with the Women’s House Therapeutic Community. She has a passion for helping women overcome addiction.
Paula Baker – Advisor:
Paula Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Ozark Center and Freeman Healthcare Systems: Paula holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology from Pittsburg State University. Paula has been employed by Ozark Center for over 25 years. Paula is currently the Vice-President of the Missouri Coalition of Community Mental Health Centers, Chairperson for Southwest Missouri Psychiatric Provider’s Group, Board Member of Southwest Missouri Community Alliance, and a member of the National Council of Community Mental Health Centers. Paula is also involved in her local community as a Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House and is active with Rotary and Joplin Chamber of Commerce.
Kenny Neal, President/Owner, Midland Erector Company and affiliates: Kenny holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Mississippi State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Minnesota. He is very involved with Community and Public Service Agencies. Kenny has served on the Board of Directors of Boy Scouts, United Way, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Twin Hills Country Club. In addition, Kenny has help the position of Joplin Area United Way Vice-President and President.
Mark Quinn is Segment Vice President of Marketing at Leggett & Platt, Inc., a multi-billion dollar components manufacturer located in southwest Missouri. His division of the company accounts for over $1.3 billion in sales. Quinn has an extensive background in marketing, having spent more than 18 years working with Sealy and Serta mattress companies in the U.S., Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
In addition to traditional marketing experiences, Quinn has also written, performed, directed and produced television commercials, infomercials, web series and live broadcast shopping channel shows, setting sales records along the way. He’s been featured in The Washington Post, Business.com, SocialMediaToday.com, YoungEntrepreneur.com, MO.com and Linked2Leadership.com, and his thoughts on the bedding industry can be read weekly on MQuinn.com. Quinn also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Better Sleep Council.
Kate (Moss) DeGraff:
Kate DeGraff, Founder and CEO of KM Guru Marketing: Kate has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia where she majored in Business, Communications, and Sociology. Kate is an active Member/Ambassador of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and Business Networking International (BNI). Guru Marketing has been congratulated for success in The San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com), as well as Yahoo Finance!. Kate has been involved in Addiction Recovery Programs in various ways since 2012. Kate strives to educate anyone struggling with addiction, and finds her purpose and own practice in the 12 Step Program. Kate volunteers a majority of her time around the Joplin community – Lafayette House, ASCENT Recovery Residences, 12 Step Programs, Joplin and Jasper County Jails, and being a positive Sponsor to various women suffering with the disease of alcoholism. Kate has been a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church since 1992.
Kim Landers, Redwood Development: Kim has a marketing/sales degree from Southwest Missouri University. She is a member of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church and is very active in her children’s activities. She has been involved with Redwood Development which is the business her Father started.
Teresa Brown, Ronald McDonald House: Teresa holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Southwest Missouri State. She worked as the Community Relations Representative for the family McDonalds franchise for many years. In 1998 her family opened the local Ronald McDonald House and Teresa has served on it’s Board Of Directors since its inception. Teresa is also an active member of ASCENT fundraising event committee.
Bryan is a Vice President and owner of BBC Electric in Joplin. He has worked at BBC since his family purchased the company in 2005. BBC is an electric utility contractor, building and maintaining power lines. Prior to that Bryan worked as a pharmacist for May’s Drug in Joplin. Bryan has lived in Joplin since 2000 and been involved in the recovery community since 2005.
Keenan Cortez is the General Manager of Aaron’s Inc. here in Joplin and is also very active with the community. Keenan is on the Capitol Improvement, Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee, he sits on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Joplin, he is Vice-President of the Downtown Community Service Center Board. He is also an at-large member of the Administartive Council of St.Pauls UMC. He is very active in the local recovery community and recovers himself with multiple years clean and sober. Keenan is married to the most beautiful woman ever Alva, and has four children and four grandchildren.
Doug Brush – Program Advisor:
Doug Brush, BS, CAC II, is the former CEO, and current Director of Men’s Recovery Program at Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences (MARR), the program ASCENT was modeled after. Doug was an original founding member of MARR more than 35 years ago and has dedicated his life to substance abuse treatment and recovery. Doug has given ASCENT full access and permission to utilize the MARR model, and extremely successful model for the past 35 years. He continues to provide ASCENT the benefit of his experience in a volunteer advisory capacity.
Jack Quinn is the Quality Assurance Manager for Boyd Metals in Joplin. He has 23 years of experience working in the production/manufacturing industry including previous work for Leggett & Platt, Inc. and ConAgra. Jack was born and raised in Monroe City, MO and has lived in Joplin for over 20 years. Jack is a supporter of the recovery community, serving as an advocate for recovering individuals at both the state and local level. Jack and his wife, Dory, are member of the St. Paul’s Church.