Cindy has been with STARS Nashville since 2004 and serves as the Accounting Manager. She has a degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Criminal Justice, however has worked in the accounting field since 1995. Cindy married her childhood sweetheart and has three wonderful children. One of greatest joys God has blessed her with is being “Gmama” to her grandchildren. Cindy is an avid UT VOLS fan and enjoys reading and crocheting.
Director of Treatment Services
James Bush, LPC-MHSP, is the Program Director of YODA (Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse) a division of STARS Nashville. Whether facilitating groups, training peers or collaborating with funders, he has and continues to serve the mental health community of the Middle Tennessee region. For multiple years, his efforts have been concentrated on the growing adolescent substance abuse population within the Greater Nashville area and surrounding counties. Which has led to service through community events, and partnerships with for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Chief Development Officer
Erin has been with STARS since 2008. She is passionate and dedicated to STARS’ mission and work. Erin attended Washington Lee University for her undergraduate degree and Vanderbilt University for a Masters of Education in human development counseling. She and her husband, Willy D., have two hilarious children – a daughter, Evans, and a son, Michael Mahoney. She completely digs being their mom! It is also important to note that she is a huge Red Sox and Nashville Predators fan.
Director of Clinical Services
Lauren began her professional career with a yearlong stint in Siberia. Putting her B.A. in Russian Studies to good use, she worked with a local non-profit to support grassroots activism in the region. She then moved to San Francisco, CA, where she worked at Jewish Family and Children’s Services as a program director for Russian-speaking émigré youth from the former Soviet Union and solidified her passion for social work and service.
Lauren received her Masters in Social Work from New York’s Hunter College School of Social Work in 2005 and then returned to the Bay Area to work for Seneca Family of Agencies, serving youth and families involved in the foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. Her work spanned a wide range of direct service, supervisory, administrative, and program development roles in residential and community-based settings.
In 2013, Lauren moved with her family to Tennessee. She’s loved getting to know the great city of Nashville and the surrounding areas and is grateful every day for her amazing twins, Lily and Henry, her husband, Daren.
Rodger Dinwiddie has been the CEO of STARS-Nashville, an evidenced-based Student Assistance Program, since 1986. Prior to joining STARS, he served as the Executive Director of another nonprofit organization working with the juvenile court for five years and was a classroom teacher in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for 7 years.
Rodger is an Olweus Technical Assistance Consultant for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and Safe Dates Program, and he serves as the Tennessee State Olweus Coordinator in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and Clemson University. He currently provides consultation in the areas of best practices in bullying prevention and intervention, school climate improvement, bullying in the workplace, improving workplace relationships and culture, substance misuse, as well as the development of social emotional competencies. Rodger is also a national trainer for the Hazelden/Betty Ford Center. He is a Past-President of the International Bullying Prevention Association and former president of the National Student Assistance Association.
Rodger is a native Nashvillian, where he is involved in numerous community organizations, including the Nashville Rotary Club. He and former CEO of Oasis Center, Hal Cato, were named Nashvillians of the Year by the Nashville Scene for their work in the collaboration and development of the Youth Opportunity Center, a partnership between Oasis Center and STARS. Rodger is an alumnus of Leadership Nashville, 2008, and most recently recognized as one Nashville’s Most Admired CEOs by the Nashville Business Journal, 2019. STARS has been recognized by the Nashville Tennessean as a member of the Best Places to Work, Hall of Fame.
He received his BS from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and his M.Ed. from Middle Tennessee State University. He is married to Suzanne, has two adult children, Joe and Anna, and two grandchildren, Benjamin and Corinne.
Director of Prevention Services
Kay Higgs has been in the field of Student Assistance Counseling since 2002 and joined the STARS team after a merger in 2006. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. Kay holds numerous certifications and enjoys facilitating workshops and professional developments. Kay facilitates workshops in Healthy Dating Relationships, Bullying Prevention Best Practices and Restorative Practices.
Born in the United Kingdom, raised in Jamaica, West Indies and Hartford, CT, she prides herself on being able to connect with people from all different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Kay is married to her college sweetheart Stephen and parent to two amazing young adults Nathaniel and Leah. When Kay is not working, she spends time volunteering at her church, reading, hanging with friends, travelling and shopping.
Director of Training
Eric Johnson is currently the Director of Training at STARS Nashville. In addition to his work as a trainer and speaker, Mr. Johnson’s experience at STARS includes both direct student assistance work in schools and program management. His training work has taken him across the country, speaking to educators, mental health professionals, administrators, communities, Parent groups and Student Leaders giving him one of the best jobs one could have. Over the past few years, through the Safe and Supportive-Schools initiative, he helped develop materials for the Tennessee Youth Engagement Summits, traveling throughout the state, training students and educators to utilize youth voice to shift the culture and climate in their schools. He is a pretty awesome trainer for the STARS MOVE2STAND Leadership Training geared to help students recognize the harmful effects of bullying and harassment.
He has presented at National Conferences and Seminars on the “Rites of Passage” and Bullying Prevention Strategies. In 2005, he was a recipient of the Tennessean Top 40 under 40 Award honoring those whose commitment to community is an inspiration to others. In 2011, the highlight during this journey was being honored by his former high school as a hometown hero as one “Living Beyond the Dream.” He is married to his wife Stephanie and they have three beautiful daughters.
He strongly believes that in order to teach young people, you first have to be able to connect to young people.
Executive Administrative Assistant/IT
Anna has been on the STARS team for more than 25 years, serving as an executive administrative assistant to Rodger Dinwiddie. Anna is also in charge of IT administration.
Chief Operations Officer
Sandy began her career at STARS in 2001 as a STARS SAP Specialist in Rutherford County. When she is not at work, Sandy loves spending time with her husband, Brian, and their three tremendous kids, Colby, Addison and Cooper. She also loves reading and shopping. Sandy has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Middle Tennessee State University, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management.
Chief Finance Officer
Cynthia has been with STARS since 1997. She feels privileged to be in a working environment that ignites her passion for youth while providing an opportunity to use her business skills. She is a graduate of Trevecca University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration. Having worked in accounting since 1986, she holds a CPA license. Cynthia is married to Dale and has two awesome two adult children and one grandchild. When not working, Cynthia enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Susan is passionate about supporting the social and emotional wellness of others. She values STARS mission and programming, and feels privileged to be a part of it all. She has a Bachelor of Music and a Public Relations minor from Belmont University, and has extensive experience working with kids of all ages in various teaching roles. Susan enjoys singing around town and at church, songwriting, doing yoga, spending time with friends, and dancing.