Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Center Staff

Jeanne Frantz

Jeanne Frantz has led infant and toddler playgroups at the Child and Parent Center since 2006.  She holds a  B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. in Clinical Developmental Psychology from Bryn Mawr College. 

Jeanne has worked with parents, children, and adolescents at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. She serves on the Program Committee of Smith Memorial Playground in Fairmount Park. Jeanne is the mother of two school-aged children and lives in the Philadelphia area with her family.  Her areas of interest include positive discipline, temperament and personality, cognitive development in infants and toddlers, and developmental delays and differences.   Jeanne believes that Hall-Mercer’s program helps parents to build vital supportive connections with each other.  She says, “Watching my own children grow, I have found that it truly does take a village to raise a child.  My work at the Center is about helping parents to build that village.”


Alyssa Rickels

Alyssa Rickels earned her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University in 1994.  Following a brief stint in the juvenile justice policy field, she spent her graduate training in adoption and child welfare.  Alyssa is the mother of four children, two boys ages 13 and 10 and twin girls, ages 7.  At Child and Parent Center Alyssa facilitates weekly parenting support groups that focus on the specific issues of parents of infants.  Alyssa’s areas of interests include managing work/life balance and helping new parents navigate relationship and identity changes following the birth of a child.  Starting this Fall Alyssa will be facilitating Twin Talk, a monthly discussion group for parents with twins.


Alison Nalle

Alison Nalle has been a facilitator at the Child and Parent Center since 2005.  She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology.   She continued her education at Bryn Mawr College where she earned a Masters from the Graduate School of Social work and Social Research.  Alison has worked at The Crefeld School with Adolescents and at Martin Luther King High School with pregnant and parenting teens.  She is a parent of three children ages 11 to 18.

Alison is interested in supporting families as they undertake the important job of raising children in a complex world.  Through discussions designed to provide a better understanding of child development, Alison hopes to encourage parents to develop their road map for effective parenting.


Michele Gill McKenna

Michele Gill McKenna earned her MSW from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work and her BA from Dickinson College.  Michele has been practicing as a licensed Clinical Social Worker doing child and family therapy for the past 10 years.  She has worked at Center for Family guidance and the Center for Growth serving children, adolescents and parents with behavioral and mental health issues.  Michele lives in Center City and is a mother to four young children and a dog.  Michele has loved facilitating parent/child groups and Time out for Teens and Tots, a program for teen mothers here at Hall-Mercer.  Michele feels that Hall Mercer’s program helps parents recognize their child’s unique personality and enables  them to utilize parenting techniques that best fit their child’s needs.


Gail B. Loeb

Gail B. Loeb received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her degree in Social Work from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.  She has been with the Child and Parent Center since its inception and was Director of the Center for 15 years.  She has been involved in the creation of many of its programs including Exploring Parenthood, Time out for Teens and Tots, Your Younger Child, and programs for single parents, adoptive parents, working parents, and parents of twins.  Over the years, she has provided training and consultation to professionals and paraprofessionals on the needs of parents and children in the early years.

Gail is a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and stepmother and was a single parent for almost 15 years – all roles she brings to her current work with new parents at the Child and Parent center.



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