Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

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DCF Leadership Team

Secretary-designee Emilie Amundson

Secretary-Designee Emilie Amundson served previously as chief of staff at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). She also worked as the Director of Literacy and Mathematics and as the English Language Arts Consultant for the DPI. Before that, Amundson was an English educator and school founder in New York City.

Amundson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master of Education Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has completed coursework toward a PhD in literacy studies, with hopes to finish someday. Emilie is the proud spouse of an art educator and the proud mom of two school-age children.

Deputy Secretary Jeff Pertl

Deputy Secretary Jeff Pertl, spent the last decade as the Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Public Instruction, working on issues around early childhood education, school finance, and closing the achievement gap. He was the liaison to the Department Children and Families and in that role worked collaboratively on early childhood and family policy issues.

Jeff was as a long-time county supervisor and possesses a wealth of experience in local government financial, personnel, and human services issues. Additionally, he served for several years on the Wisconsin Counties Association board of directors, working on statewide issues like youth justice reform, child welfare funding, and early childhood education access.

As a child of divorced parents, Jeff experienced firsthand the vital role child support has in creating a positive, stable family environment. As an adult, he and his wife have been licensed foster parents and their two boys, Marcus and Matthew, were adopted at birth in Wisconsin.

Assistant Secretary Danielle Melfi

Assistant Secretary Danielle Melfi began her career at Deloitte Consulting, where she helped launch Deloitte's anti-human trafficking practice, advising federal agencies and nonprofit organizations on policy and program implementation to better protect victims and support survivors. Danielle later led government affairs for Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse. At Thorn, she managed a stakeholder coalition that included law enforcement, service providers, policymakers, and tech companies that came together to make the internet safer for kids. There, she also launched a diversity and inclusion strategy to restructure employee recruitment and hiring processes.

Danielle most recently served as an aide to Senator Tammy Baldwin and was a member of Governor Evers' transition team. She graduated Summa cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Loyola University Maryland. As an only child to two working parents, Danielle grew up supported by the village of child care, family and friends, and community programs. She is excited to mobilize those same resources on behalf of Wisconsin's kids.

Legislative Advisor Nadya Perez-Reyes

Nadya Pérez-Reyes previously worked as an attorney with the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Juvenile and Mental Health Office, where she represented children in delinquency, waiver, children in need of protection or services (CHIPS), juvenile in need of protection or services (JIPS) proceedings and parents in termination of parental rights (TPR) cases.  Nadya also worked in the State Public Defender’s Washington and Ozaukee County Trial offices, representing both adults and children. Before joining the Wisconsin State Public Defender, she worked at Legal Action of Wisconsin and the Government Accountability Board (now the State Elections Board).

Nadya has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, Spanish Language and Literature, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies; a Master of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies with an emphasis on the African Diaspora; and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nadya loves to travel and on her last trip ventured to Italy, Egypt, and England.

Director of the Office of Urban Development Bianca Shaw

Bianca Shaw worked previously for the Department of Workforce Development in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation as a Business Services Consultant and in the Wisconsin State Legislature as a legislative assistant. She has served as a Program Director at the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, managing the police and resident program. Bianca also worked as a FoodShare assistant with Hunger Task Force, advocating to end hunger and food insecurities in Milwaukee.

Bianca has a deep appreciation for policy, organizing, and educating the community on relevant topics. She is a proud graduate of the Wisconsin Women’s Network Policy Institute and Emerge Wisconsin. She serves on the board of the Wisconsin Women's Network, Victory Garden Initiative, and Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. Bianca is also the proud mother of a beautiful daughter, Olivia.

Director of the Office of the Inspector General Michelle Robinson

Dr. Michelle Robinson brings over a decade of empirical and applied research, data, evaluation, and policy expertise. Most recently, Michelle held the role of Research, Data and Policy Associate for the Race to Equity Project at Kids Forward, a non-profit, non-partisan statewide child and family public policy and advocacy organization. There, she led research and evaluated existing programs and policies to develop models of community-engaged, culturally responsive, and participatory solutions to local challenges.

Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. As a graduate student, she was a fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), and a training fellow in Institutes for Education Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Training Program (ITP) housed at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). Michelle’s dad and stepmom are foster parents of a family of six young children. She is passionate about cooking and is known for her talents in the kitchen.

Director of Strategic Communications Thomas McCarthy

Tom previously served as the Communications Director at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) where he led a team charged with supporting the mission and vision of the state superintendent. He also worked as the Communications Officer at the DPI. Before joining the DPI, Tom worked in the Wisconsin State Legislature as a legislative assistant, research assistant, and committee clerk. There, he focused on connecting communications and policy to build more effective solutions and better serve impacted stakeholders.

Tom earned his bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the proud father of a new baby girl and when he has free time, enjoys playing music.