Our Staff


Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director & Juvenile Justice Attorney

Mr. Keenan-Devlin was named Executive Director on July 1, 2016. Previously, Mr. Keenan-Devlin served as the Deputy Director/Staff Attorney – representing youth in juvenile delinquency and school law proceedings, as well as leading the agency’s development efforts. Mr. Keenan-Devlin’s experience in the area of public policy in Illinois, as well as his strong ties to the Evanston community serve him well in his new role at the Moran Center. Mr. Keenan-Devlin previously worked as the Health Policy Advocate for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and as Legislative Director of Citizen Action/Illinois. He has also held numerous leadership roles in various local civic and community organizations. Mr. Keenan-Devlin graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music, and then received his law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Mr. Keenan-Devlin serves on the Boards of the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University and Citizen Action/Illinois. In his free time, Mr. Keenan-Devlin enjoys quality time with his wife and their growing family.

Kristen Kennard, Deputy Director & Director of Social Work Services

Ms. Kennard was named Deputy Director on July 1, 2016, after serving as Director of Social Work Services since 2010. Ms. Kennard is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in youth and family counseling. As the Deputy Director and Director of Social Work Services, Ms. Kennard conducts social work assessments for Moran Center clients, provides individualized therapy and case management and also supervises social work programming. Prior to joining the Moran Center, Ms. Kennard’s work included facilitating rehabilitation and problem-solving groups in a juvenile detention center, as well as crisis management counseling with locked-out and runaway youth. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University and a Masters of Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. When not at the Moran Center, Ms. Kennard can be found running along the Chicago lake shore, reading a great book, or playing trivia games.

Joi-Anissa Russell, Director of Strategic Partnerships

Ms. Russell brings 15 years of fundraising experience to the Moran Center. Ms. Russell is the founder of JAM Consulting, where she was a fundraising consultant in the non-profit sector. She has extensive experience in development, communications and fundraising. Prior to launching her business, Ms. Russell was Executive Director of Shorefront, an Evanston non-profit center that collects, preserves and educates people about Black history on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. She was also the Director of Foundation Relations at The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. Ms. Russell has also worked as Grants Manager at Girl Scouts of Chicago and as an Agency/School Coordinator at Chicago Communities In Schools. Prior to her career in development, Ms. Russell worked at Arthur Andersen, Leo Burnett and Channel 60 in Chicago. Ms. Russell received her Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University, The Medill School of Journalism. She has appeared on stage with the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston and in other Chicago venues. Outside of her work at the Moran Center, Ms. Russell can be found spending time with her husband and two children, volunteering in PTA activities, watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and dining at fun, new restaurants.

Tom Verdun, Director of Legal Services

With nearly 40 years of experience, Mr. Verdun is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney. Prior to being named Director of Legal Services on July 1, 2016, Mr. Verdun has served as Senior Staff Attorney at the Moran Center since 2004. In addition to representing and advocating for clients, Mr. Verdun directs all of the Center’s legal service programs, including the Moran Center’s Expungement and Sealing Help Desk at the Skokie Courthouse. Before coming to the Moran Center, Mr. Verdun served with distinction as an attorney for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender. As an Assistant Public Defender, Mr. Verdun handled hundreds cases, ranging from drug charges to murder charges. For over 15 years, Mr. Verdun was a member of the Murder Task Force and defended numerous clients on capital cases. Mr. Verdun is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School and Northern Illinois University, where he graduated with honors. Outside of his work at the Moran Center, Mr. Verdun can be found reading, traveling, and cheering on the White Sox at The Cell.

Kelly Austin, Communications Manager

Ms. Austin started as a volunteer and now serves as the Communications Manager. In this role, Ms. Austin is helping improve how the Moran Center gathers, analyzes and communicates information about our donors, clients and programs. Having spent most of her career in consulting, Ms. Austin has experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, helping organizations use information to work smarter. Ms. Austin has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. In addition to her work at the Moran Center, Ms. Austin enjoys spending time with her family and friends, catching a good indie flick or planning her next trip.

Åsa Gezelius, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Ms. Gezelius is a licensed clinical social worker with experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of clinical settings. She provides individual counseling, case management, as well as family support for Moran Center clients and youth referred through the City of Evanston Diversion Program. Prior to joining the Moran Center, Ms. Gezelius worked in therapeutic day school settings, both in Skokie and Chicago. She also worked in counseling centers and community based social service agencies in Chicago and Sweden. Ms. Gezelius holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago, as well as a Type 73 Certificate in School Social Work. In her free time, Ms. Gezelius enjoys spending quality time with family and close friends, reading a good book, and playing with her two kittens.

Susan Knight, Grants & Special Projects Manager

Ms. Knight joins the Moran Center as Grants and Special Projects Manager after devoting her career as a social worker promoting social justice and fostering opportunities to improve the health and well-being of children and families.  Her experiences providing social work counseling, developing and managing programs, and educating future social workers have inspired her desire to “tell the story” to potential funders about the societal benefits of interrupting to preschool-to-prison pipeline.   Ms. Knight graduated with honors from Pitzer College with a B.A. in psychology, and holds a Master’s Degree in social work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.   In addition to her work at the Moran Center, Ms. Knight enjoys socializing with friends and family, long walks, and appreciating the natural world.

Donna Masini, Administrative Director

As the Moran Center Administrative Director, Ms. Masini oversees the internal operations of the agency, including human resources, technology, and finances. She has a business background in marketing, sales and finance. When she is not at the Moran Center, Ms. Masini runs her own business – Bartman Masini Fiber Art – and is an active volunteer for District 65 and Evanston Township High School as well as St. Athanasius Church. Ms. Masini has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, walking her dog, and selling her scarves at art fairs.

Verity Sandell, Special Education Legal Advocacy Attorney

Verity Sandell represents children and parents in their special education, school discipline, and other education matters. As part of her work, she provides training on education law issues to attorneys, case workers, parents, guardians, and mental health professionals. Prior to joining the Moran Center in September 2016, Verity served as a staff attorney in the Legal Assistance Foundation’s Children and Families Practice Group. Before becoming an attorney, Verity taught elementary school in the Chicago Public Schools, as a Teach For America corps member. Her experiences teaching led her to law school, to advocate for the educational rights of low income students. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law magna cum laude and is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu. In 2014, she received the Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship for her commitment to public interest law. She has a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Sociology from Pomona College and an M.A. in Teaching from Dominican University.