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Leadership & Staff

leadership & staffThe Christian Family Care leadership & staff is made up of over 245 paid and volunteer individuals who lovingly serve children, families and the community. A few names that you may have already met and whom are leaders for the Agency are as follows.

Mark Upton

President / Chief Executive Officer

Prior to becoming the President of Christian Family Care, Mark Upton served as Executive Vice President/Provost of Phoenix Seminary. In October of 2007 he assumed the role previously held solely by CFC founder Kay Ekstrom.

Mark has served this community for many years as a business professional, church and community ministry leader. As well as the CFC board, Mark serves on the board of Pinnacle Forum AZ, Arizona Life Coalition, and Bible Education Legacy Fund of Phoenix Seminary. Mark has also served on the Governor’s Arizona Serves Task Force, No Child Waiting Executive Committee, CWLA, and the Scottsdale Bible Church Elder Board. He brings a deep and abiding love for our Lord, a love for children and families, and a passion for excellence to the ministry of CFC.

Mark Upton is married to Lorraine and they have a son and two daughters, as well as twelve grandchildren. They have lived in the valley for over thirty eight years.

Pam Giardina

Chief Programs Officer

Pam Giardina moved to Arizona from New York in 1975. She studied music education at the State University of New York at Fredonia and proceeded to achieve a Master of Science in Special Education/Rehabilitation Counseling from Syracuse University. Her great passion through the programming at CFC is to bring help, healing and wholeness to hurting children and adults through the opportunity of experiencing quality social and clinical services.

As the Chief Programs Officer at Christian Family Care Agency, Pam currently oversees Family Services, Foster Care, and Clinical Services; she brings seasoned leadership to these programs of the agency which she served in prior to becoming the CPO. Through her tenure at the agency Pam has seen the implementation of our Parent University, Supportive Post placement services for families in foster care and adoption, Safe Families for Children a national prevention model for families in crisis prior to DCS involvement and the continuation of the agency’s accreditation through the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Pam has shared her child welfare expertise with various affiliations: Arizona KIDS Consortium, Council on Accreditation as a Peer Reviewer, Arizona Foster Family Treatment Association and Arizona Council of Human Services Providers. Additionally, she speaks and presents at conferences on woman, youth and family issues.

Pam and her husband of 44 years live in the east valley, and have 2 adult daughters.

Jeff Fellman

Statewide Director of Foster Care

Jeff holds degrees in Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.  His experience includes developing Christian mental health centers in both Tucson and Phoenix and pastoring churches for 12 years in Minnesota and Arizona, most recently on staff at City of Grace Church in Mesa.  He was a child abuse investigator with Arizona’s Child Protective Services for nine years and currently worked at CFC as a Foster Family Specialist in both the regular and high-risk programs for the last four years.

Jeff is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is currently working toward Board Certification in Christian Life Coaching.

Dan Utrera

Statewide Director of Clinical Services

Dan brings to Christian Family Care an ability to build relationships, as well as a passion for training and development. Since 1993, he has served in various behavioral health, social service, and educational organizations. Most recently, he spent 6 years with a Fortune 500 company which provides behavioral healthcare services for government healthcare programs.  Dan has been independently licensed as a Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) since 2003 first in Washington, then eventually in Arizona.  He is listed on the AZ Board of Behavioral Health’s Clinical Supervisor Registry for Marriage & Family Therapy.

Dan holds a M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from George Fox University, as well as a B.S. in Business Administration from The University of Arizona.

He has been married to his wife Tia since 2002 and has an energetic son whom keeps him on his toes.

Don Bishop

Director of Family Services

Don holds a Bachelors and a Master’s degree of Social Work with a clinical emphasis from Andrews University.

Prior to his current role, Don served as the Statewide Visitation Program Manager with Christian Family Care. Before joining CFC, his experience includes developing and managing residential housing programs for homeless veterans and other high risk homeless populations with a clinical focus.

Don also has experience as a Mental Health Therapist doing individual and family therapy as well as court ordered substance abuse education and intensive outpatient programs with adults and adolescents. He also worked as a Juvenile Corrections Officer in a residential treatment program with adolescents between the ages 13 to 18.

Don is a Veteran of The United States Army where he served as a combat medic.

Gary Miller

Director of Marketing & Advancement

Gary brings over 33 years of marketing, development, design and communications to Christian Family Care. His passion is to communicate and market CFC’s amazing work and changed lives, all for the glory of God.

Gary holds a Bachelor  of Fine Arts in Communications from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining CFC in 2012, Gary was Founder and President of The M. Group, a Phoenix-based identity management firm. Before coming to Phoenix, he worked for advertising and marketing communications firms in Kansas City, Beverly Hills and Century City, California. Gary’s non-profit development experience ranges from work with the United Way, The Neighborhood Christian Clinic, Phoenix Seminary to the American Cancer Society. He serves on the boards of Family Matters and The Be Kind People Project and has served on the boards of The Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Scottsdale Bible Church.

Gary is married to Amy and they have four sons and two daughter in-laws.

Sharon Brown

Human Resources Manager

Prior to coming to Christian Family Care, Sharon served as the Director of Human Resources and Facilities for Phoenix Seminary for seven years. Her background includes being a small business owner for 18 years, office manager and paralegal all of which God has given her experience and insight into human resources from different perspectives. Sharon has a passion for serving the Lord and people through providing human resource services to ministries. She attained SPHR certification in 2012 and has been a member of a church and para-church HR Church Connections group for the past two years.

Sharon has been active at Scottsdale Bible Church for the past 23 years, serving in the women’s ministry and choir.  She is married to Jim and have six wonderful children and three grandchildren.  They have a passion for missions and have been volunteers at the European Leadership Forum mission trip since 2012.

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Governor Ducey's Message about Christian Family Care

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Board of Directors

  • Mark N. Upton, President
  • Steve Whiteman, Board Chair
  • Dennis Wilson, Vice Chair
  • Bob Stave, Treasurer
  • Brad Edson, Secretary
  • Michael Hunter
  • Julie Bartolini
  • Linda Bowers
  • Huron Claus
  • Sheila Mengarelli
  • Dough Napier
  • Tony Muller

Southern Arizona
Advisory Council

  • Warren & Joan Braun
  • Evan Carlson
  • Robert Davis
  • Noel Robinson
  • Rachel Rulmyr
  • Tim Wagner
  • Dennis Wilson
  • MaryAnn Wilson
  • Tawnya Groen