Meet the Board

Lisa V. Merchant, Ph.D., LMFT – Presiding Member

Dr. Merchant is an Assistant Professor in and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Abilene Christian University. She is also the Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Studies.  Dr. Merchant is an alumna of ACU (’04) and earned her Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy at Texas Tech (’15).  Dr. Merchant also facilitates a Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program at the Ministry of Counseling and Enrichment, serves on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is the state delegate to the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.  She also has earned a first-degree black belt from Team Chip Tae kwon do, has two teenage sons, and loves shrimp tacos.

Jodie Elder, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT – Vice Chair

Jodie Elder is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Texas State University-San Marcos, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Jodie is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator and facilitates counseling work based on Dr. Brené Brown’s research. Over the past 15 years, Jodie has provided counseling services for children, adolescents, families, couples, and individuals in various agency and private practice settings.

Jodie greatly enjoys providing educational presentations for both clients and fellow clinicians and also helps to shape the next generation of counselors through her work as an Adjunct Faculty at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

She is passionate about professional service and has served as President, Past-President, and Director of the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. She also served for 8 years as the Texas Counseling Association’s appointed liaison to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. Jodie is honored to serve as a professional member of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Russell F. “Russ” Bartee, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT-S

Russ Bartee, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as a faculty member in the Graduate Counseling Program at Texas Wesleyan University. He received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Christian University, and his master’s in counseling from the University of North Texas and PhD from Texas Woman’s University in family therapy. He has been an active clinician in the Fort Worth area for almost 30 years, and continues to maintain a small clinical practice in addition to his duties as a professor at TWU. He has taught at Tarleton State University, Texas Woman’s University, Capella University, and Northcentral University, all in the graduate counseling programs. He has served as a Board Member for the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and has chaired both the Ethics and Elections Committees for TAMFT. He is a state board approved supervisor for both the LMFT and LPC licenses and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. He married his high school sweetheart and has 3 married children and 8 grandchildren. He enjoys reading history and biographies, and spending outdoor time playing golf and with his grandchildren.

Barbara E. “Barbie” Ezell

Barbara “Barbie” Ezell of Portland recently retired as the Director of Special Education, Dyslexia and 504 for Gregory-Portland ISD. She is a member of the Texas Council for Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) and former TCASE House of Delegates Representative for Region 2. Additionally, she is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Portland and is a Zeta Tau Alpha alumna. Ezell received a Bachelor of Science from Southwest Texas State University and a Master of Science from Corpus Christi State University, with certifications as a Counselor and Special Education Counselor. She also obtained additional certifications as an Educational Diagnostician and Administrator from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.

Lee A. Hampton, Jr.

Daniel W. Parrish

Nicole M. Richardson, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Nicole Richardson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – Supervisor and Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor in Austin, TX.  She earned her undergraduate degree at Texas State in 2006, and master’s degree at St. Edward’s in 2009.  After working in several community agencies, she began her private practice.  She is a former board member of Austin Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and current member of Texas Counseling Association and EMDR International Association.  She specializes in trauma and is certified in EMDR, has extensive training and experience working with couples and families in crisis as well as additional training in substance use recovery. 

Elvira Reyna

Jeanene L. Smith, M.A., LPC-S, LMFT-S

Jeanene Smith, MA is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor.  She received her undergraduate degree from West Texas A&M and her masters degree from the Seminary of the Southwest.  Jeanene is a member of Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapists where she served as a member of the TAMFT board in various positions from 2008 – 2019.  She is also a member of American Counseling Association, Texas Counseling Association and is a former clinical member of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.  Jeanene is a board member of Austin Center for Grief and Loss.  Jeanene has a private practice in Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband and two large dogs when she is not at the ranch watching longhorns, donkeys and stars in the Texas sky.