Jan Byland, MSW, JD, CPA, Executive Director LA Child Welfare Training Academy

Jan is a passionate, committed leader and collaborator for safe and thriving children and families as well as thriving staff and partners.  Inspired in law school by the opportunity to strengthen Louisiana’s laws and policies relating to children and families, Jan joined the Department twenty years ago and was quickly selected to serve on the Children’s Code Committee of the Louisiana Law Institute.  During her tenure with the agency, she has worked in many different leadership roles, all focused on building effective and sustainable system capacities for achieving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for those served.Jan has modeled continuous learning throughout her career, including attaining her Master’s in Social Work while working for the Department full-time, participating in the inaugural Innovations in Louisiana Government Fellows Leadership Development Program, the cross-agency Lean Six Sigma Team, and the Chapin Hall Center for Advanced Analytics for Child Welfare Administration.  In her time with the department, Jan has developed a deep appreciation and high regard for the many dedicated staff and partners who step up every day to attend to the needs of children and families with competence, compassion, and respect. In her new role as Child Welfare Training Academy Director, Jan will focus on strengthening Louisiana’s child welfare training system and workforce capacities for best practice, partnering with others within and outside the department, to strengthen outcomes for children and families.

Corie Hebert, Ph.D., Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University

Dr. Corie Hebert is an Assistant Professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. She teaches undergraduate courses in the social work program and is the Title IV-E Child Welfare Program Coordinator. She received her B.A. from Auburn University in Psychology and her M.S.W from the University of Alabama. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Louisiana State University after practicing in the field of health care and gerontology for ten years. Her research focus is on child welfare practice and teaching effectiveness.

Mark Harris, JD, Executive Director of the Pelican Center for Children & Families

Mark Harris is the Executive Director of the Pelican Center for Children and Families. He formerly served the Louisiana Supreme Court as the Project Coordinator for the Louisiana Court Improvement Program for 15 years and has been formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for outstanding efforts in promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of Louisiana’s at-risk children. Mark Harris previously served as the Adoption Opportunities Grant Coordinator for Orleans Parish. He holds BA degrees in English and History from Tulane University and a JD from Loyola University.

Laura DiMattia, Program Manager, Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy

Laura DiMattia is the Program Manager for the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy (LCWTA). In this role she is responsible for overseeing the operations of the LCWTA, which includes post-award grant management, assisting investigators with the expenditures of their grant accounts, contract management, monitoring grant accounts, reporting on grant funds and a variety of budget related compliance issues, as well as daily operations. Laura earned a B.A. degree in Mass Communications from Southeastern Louisiana University and is in the process of earning her Master’s Degree in Organizational Communications. She possess a yellow belt certification in Lean Six Sigma. She is a member of the Southeast Chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP)

Arianne Zaunbrecher, Training Assistant, Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy

Arianne B. Zaunbrecher, LCSW obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, from Louisiana State University. She has 15 years of experience in child welfare at the local and state office levels.


Gabriela Acosta, MBA,  Training/Grants Coordinator,  Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy

Gabriela Acosta obtained a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management from Southeastern Louisiana University. During her time in Southeastern Louisiana University, she obtained an award for most Distinguished Graduate in Supply Chain Management Honors 2015-2016. Currently, she holds the position of Training/Grants Coordinator at the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy. Her role is to provide support with training and grants coordination, to manage the overall program evaluation, reports and assessments, to maintain the training calendar and catalog, to assist with marketing functions, to prepare monthly cost reports and to assists in the development and coordination of web-based training.


Connie Riddle, Program Coordinator,  Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy

Connie Riddle is LCWTA’s Program Coordinator. Her role is to provide technical support to Foster Parents and other stakeholders related to the online Moodle training, as well as assisting with the development and editing of training materials. Connie earned her BA in Cultural Resource Management from Southeastern Louisiana University and is in progress of attaining her Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication.