Board of Directors
Eric Wells was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Eric attended Northeastern State University and obtained a BBA in Information Systems in 2012. Currently, Eric is Director of Information Systems at Muskogee Public Schools.
Eric was unaware of the growing epidemic of sex trafficking. In his capacity at the schools, Eric has seen firsthand how severe the damages of sex crimes can be. Sadly for girls in the sex trade, help may come too late. Eric understands and sees the need for organizations like RISE to come to life. He is intent on spreading awareness to others about sex trafficking.
In his spare time Eric enjoys cycling, water sports, washing cars, and spending time with family
Tina Taylor, is a lifetime resident and involved citizen of the Muskogee/Fort Gibson area.
She began working in the healthcare field in 2000 at Muskogee's hospital (Then, Eastar Health System). While working, Tina pursued her degree in nursing and graduated in 2001. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), is a Registered Nurse (RN), is an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP-BC), and a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).
Married, Tina and her husband have one daughter and one son who they live to see play sports. They live on a farm, love the lake and going fishing
Steve Strode grew up in Schenectady, New York, where he graduated from Linton High School, and attended Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, before transferring to Oklahoma State University. He graduated from Central State University in Edmond, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. He worked for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in the Division of Probation & Parole for 23 years, and then worked for nearly 10 years for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, in Child Welfare Services, until retiring. While at DOC, Steve obtained his MS in Criminal Justice Administration from OSU, and also became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Moral Reconation Therapy, a cognitive behavior modality. Throughout his 34 year career with the State of Oklahoma, Steve has worked to ensure that children are protected and safe, and that the adults and parents address the issues that brought them to the attention of the court system.
Steve took early retirement from the State of Oklahoma in 2008, in order for him to be better able to care for his mother who came to live with him in 2006. After retirement, he continued to volunteer with the Post Adjudication Review Board, and currently serves on the board of Directors of the Child Abuse Network (CAN) in Tulsa. In his spare time, Steve enjoys keeping up with Oklahoma State University sports and spending time with his granddaughters
Kristy Carlton is a shareholder at Beaird Harris & Co., P.C. (a Texas CPA Firm). Kristy is actively involved in the firm's Practice Management and Process Development Team. As the shareholder in charge of Accounting Services, Kristy also oversees the firm's Financial Statement and Payroll division and is responsible for keeping the firm apprised of the latest industry compliance and regulations.
Kristy graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000 and became a CPA in 2003. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Oklahoma Society of CPAs.
Kristy lives in Muskogee with her husband, Ryan, and their four children. In their free time, they enjoy being outdoors and attending kids' extra - curricular activities.
Kayla was introduced to the issue of sex trafficking at age 13 when a documentary was shown at her youth group. This issue absolutely broke her heart. In 2013 she approached her mom, finally ready to "do something" about human trafficking. While she immediately knew that helping to open a shelter was the end goal, she and the small team that had formed decided it would be best to start with awareness and education for themselves and the community. In 2015 her mom formed RISE and the work began. Kayla has worked to help spread the word about RISE and the work being done there. In 2020 she became a member of the board and serves as the fundraising chair.
Kayla is a health coach in Woodward, OK. She also started a women's ministry called Pursued that puts on an annual women's retreat as well as a retreat for the girls living at RISE.
In her free time, Kayla enjoys watching movies or playing with her two pups Bentley and Winston. She and her husband Dillon travel any time they get the chance!
Founder & Executive Director
KERI SPENCER, J.D.
Keri Spencer grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, graduated from Hilldale High School and holds an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Connors State College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Williams Baptist College and a Law Degree from the University of Arkansas. She is a licensed attorney in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Keri has spent her entire professional career as an attorney advocating for at risk youth. As a prosecutor in juvenile court, then as an attorney for DHS handling foster care cases, her life’s work has been to ensure that the children and youth of her communities are safe, loved and equipped to become healthy, happy, productive adults.
She has been an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Bacone College in Muskogee, and has worked on the pastoral staff at New Community Church where, among other things, she provided legal consultation and oversaw the church’s policies on child abuse reporting. In her capacity as Founder & Executive Director of RISE, Keri has worked tirelessly alongside the Board of Directors in seeing RISE opened and operational so that the girls RISE will serve will become survivors living restored lives free of the sex trade.
Married for 25+ years, Keri and her husband, Steve, have 2 grown daughters. They enjoy spending time at the beach when they are not both traveling for work
Dr. Lynett Rock was born and raised in Oklahoma. After several years living in Dallas her family decided to move back to Muskogee for good, Lynett is employed at Connors State College where she is the Division Chair of Mathematics, Science, and Physical Education. Dr. Rock recently received her Doctorate in Education from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Rock was unaware of the scope of domestic trafficking in the United States until her research turned her attention to the current epidemic.
Dr. Rock is the mother to three wonderful children: Scarlet, Tyler and Harrison. When Dr. Rock is not inside a classroom you can find her riding one of her horses or spending time with her family
Sherry was born in Muskogee, making her an Okie from Muskogee. She was raised a country girl outside of Warner. Sherry graduated from Northeastern State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, her major being Special Education with a certification in Elementary Education. She is the mother of seven children and grandmother to five. At the age of 16 Sherry became a Sunday school teacher and was also active in her country church as pianist and song leader.
She is currently a business owner in the textile arts industry, but is planning on returning to teaching in the near future.
Sherry was looking for a ministry in which to serve and became aware of the RISE ministry around the time they opened their doors. She began a sewing class there that is ongoing to teach the girls a life skill and give them another outlet for their creativity.
Sherry and her husband, Steve, have been married for nine years and enjoy spending time together gardening, doing home improvement, sky diving (once!) and digging deeper into their Christian faith.
Nick was born & raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Nick attended OSU IT and has earned a BAS in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics. Nick is currently the Market Relationship Manager/Technology Engineer for The PC Landing Zone.
Nick became aware about the issue of sex trafficking when RISE was under construction. At the time he was working for Muskogee Public Schools' Technology Department, and those employees volunteered to install cameras, networks, and computers. After learning about and seeing firsthand the work RISE was doing, Nick knew he wanted to be involved and spread awareness.
In his spare time Nick enjoys being a family man who enjoys spending time with his daughter, wife and family.