Who We Are

Our Mission: Provide safe and effective programs to strengthen youth and families.

Arnette House provides programs and services to the 5th circuit which includes Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus & Hernando Counties by caring and dedicated professionals who focus on the strengths of the family while providing skills and knowledge to help improve life at home. Our master’s-level counselors utilize various forms of therapy with the family to end conflict, improve communication and reunite children with their families.

More about what we do here

Key Staff Contacts



Cheri Pettitt, LMHC
Chief Executive Officer



JP Leard
Chief Financial Officer



Mark Shearon
Chief Compliance Manager/Shelter Manager

Denise 2


Denise Paradis
Group Home Manager



Kay Nicol
Human Resources Officer



Pamela Zeljak
Community Development Coordinator



Crystal Westman, LMHC
Clinical Supervisor




Arnette House Mascot



Board of Directors

Kerry Crawford, President, retired Marion County Sheriff Deputy, has been a board member since 2011.

Justin Turner, Treasurer, is a third generation native Ocalan, and also a third generation CPA. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and his Master of Accountancy degrees from the University of North Florida. Justin is a partner of the CPA Firm Turner & Turner, P.A. and has served on the Arnette House Board of Directors since 2011.  He and his wife, Lindsey, have two children and enjoy attending local community events and fishing as a family out of Bonita Fishing Club, Inglis, FL.

Brandon Crysler, Secretary, is a Mortgage Banker with Southern Home Loans, and has been on the board since 2012.  Brandon Crysler has been in the mortgage business since 2002. He started as a Loan Officer with Ameriquest Mortgage in Nashville, Tennessee. He quickly learned the business and became a Branch Manager with over 25 loan officers within his first 8 months. Brandon and his team have closed over 4000 loans, giving them an edge in the market place and the experience to tackle most situations. In 2006 he and his wife Casey moved to Ocala, Florida, started a Mortgage broker business, and began building their family. They now have 3 kids and the whole family enjoys contributing to the community through Church, Arnette House, Home and Roots. Currently, Brandon is a Producing Branch Manager with Southern Home Loans where he consistently supports, trains, and builds his team. The prime benefit of what Brandon does is being able to help families purchase their home.

Sara Connell Arnette helped co-found the Arnette House with her late husband, Vernon Arnette in 1981. She is also a Past President, serving two years. Mrs. Arnette is active in the First United Methodist Church of Ocala, was the founding president of Altrusa International Inc. of Ocala and served on the Munroe Regional Medical Center board of trustees for eight years. Mrs. Arnette has been an Arnette House board member since 1997.

Lorin Bryan is a retired insurance agent who specialized in working with clients on Medicare.  He served for 2 years as President of the Arnette House Inc. and was instrumental in obtaining from the City of Ocala the 5 acres on which the Arnette House Inc. is presently located, and the building of the shelter facility.  He is past President of the Ocala Rotary Club, served on the board of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce. He has served in the past and currently serves with the United Way of Marion County and helped originate the first “Day of Caring” which has continued to this day.  He has donated more than 25 gallons of blood here in Marion County. He is a Florida cracker and obtained a B.S. degree in business management at Florida State University and served his country as an officer in the United States Army.  He has served in various positions on the Board of the Arnette House Inc. since 1985.

Timothy Babiarz, Esq., joined the board in 2015.

Rev. Jonathan French, is the senior pastor of Grace Episcopal Church.  He attended the University of the South in Tennessee and previously worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on college campuses across Central Florida.   He has been on the board since 2013.

David Goebel is Vice President/General Manager of Goebel’s Used Cars, Inc. He played football from 1986-88 for and graduated from Troy University in 1990 with a B.A. degree in Business Management. David is an avid mountain biker, attends the Church @ the Springs and enjoys weightlifting and attending Troy University football games. He is also a member of the Ocala Rotary Club and serves on the board of the Marion County Fellowship of Christian Athletes. David resides in Ocala with his wife and three children. Mr. Goebel has been an Arnette House board member since 2001.

Michael Greiner is a Financial Advisor, AVP with the Merrill Lynch office in Ocala and also serves as its Branch Manager.  He is an Ocala native who graduated from the University of Florida in 1991 with a B.A. degree in Economics.  Michael is active in the community and currently serves on several committees within United Way of Marion County.  He is also a member of the Metropolitan Ocala Rotary Club and the School Advisory Council at Osceola Middle School.  Michael resides in Ocala with his wife and two children. Mr. Greiner has been an Arnette House board member since 2008.

Cynthia Haile, is a Community Service Specialist at the Ocala Police Department, and has been a board member since 2012.

Kelly Rogers, joined the board in 2015.  Though originally from Michigan, Kelly has lived in Ocala for most of her life. A great deal of her career has consisted of management positions in social service organizations serving children in need including children’s mental health services, juvenile justice programs, child welfare, and educational programs. She is the owner of a licensed adult vocational school, and has spent the past 4 years career coaching and teaching Career Development courses at one of only two regionally accredited colleges in the nation exclusively serving students with learning disabilities. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Management from Webster University, and Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services with a minor in Psychology from Saint Leo University. In addition, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Multidisciplinary Human Services at Capella University. Her community involvement and contributions include: PACE Center for Girls; Arnette House Youth Shelter; Brother’s Keeper Soup Kitchen; Skill Day Center; Boys & Girls Clubs; and Big Sun Soccer League.

Debra Jenkins, is a Florida Insurance Executive with the Bird Agency.  She is from Little Rock, Arkansas where she studied accounting at Capitol City Jr. College and University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She moved to Ocala in 1993 and became an Insurance Agent in 2003.  She is an Ambassador for the Chamber & Economic Partnership and is a co-founder and chairman of Select Business Associates.  She has 1 son and 3 grandchildren.  She has been on the board since 2013.

Ashley Lightbody, is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. She was born and raised in Ocala. She has served her community through many organizations including the Junior League of Ocala. Ashley has held many Chair and Board positions, most recently 2013-2014 Junior League President. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys playing golf, fishing and anything “nerdy”.  She joined the board in 2015

Kenneth Minnotte, works as a banker at Campus USA Credit Union, and has been a board member since 2013.

Katina Pantazis, is an Attorney as well as an athlete, violinist, artist, and entrepreneur.  She earned a Business degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida in 2004. In 2009 she earned her Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Elder Law Scholarship and participated in a study abroad program in Spetses, Greece, focusing on comparative international law. Ms. Pantazis is a partner at Waugh Pantazis, P.A. in Lady Lake and practices estate planning, probate and trust administration.  She has been on the board since 2013.

Dan Parsons, is a Vice President and General Manager at at Lamar Outdoor Advertising, and has been a board member since 2013.

Nicole Sloan, is a Tax Associate at Crippen, Trice, Ford, Torres, LLP and has been a board member since 2013.

Dr. Bill Stankosky, practices at Pitts Chiropractic,  and has been a board member since 2010.

Jermaine Stokes, is a native of Ocala, but spent most of his youth traveling with his family because of his father’s military career. He attended New York Institute of Technology on a basketball scholarship, where he earned his BA is Business Management. He is very active in the community, especially with programs involving youth. He has been on the Board since 2011.

Director Emeritus, Col. Alva Wiklerson

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