CAA Team

Denise Tanata, J.D.
Executive Director

Denise has been working in the field of child advocacy in Nevada since 1998.  She has extensive experience conducting applied research and policy analysis on children’s issues, with an emphasis on translating research and data to improve policy and practice.  In addition to numerous academic papers, reports and publications in the fields of child welfare, early childhood education and children’s health, Denise has also presented on legislative advocacy focused on empowering individuals toward collective action.  She previously served as a Senior Scholar at the Lincy Institute at UNLV and also served as the Executive Director of the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy (NICRP) in the School of Community Health Sciences at UNLV.

Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from UNLV, with a minor in Sociology and received her Juris Doctorate from the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.  She serves on numerous boards and coalitions aimed at improving the lives of children and families in Nevada and is the recipient of the US Congressional Flag by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for her commitment to the children of Nevada as an academic, advocate and volunteer.


Shelby Henderson
Policy Manager – School Readiness

Shelby’s passion for child advocacy was ignited by her work as a 2012 Teach for America Corps member in the Las Vegas Valley. During her two year commitment, Shelby was a lead pre-school teacher at Acelero Head Start Stewart Center. While working at Acelero, Shelby witnessed the value of high quality early childhood education and realized the lack of access to high quality programs in Nevada. In addition to her teaching experience, Shelby has expertise with family and community outreach. She was most recently an Urban Leader Fellow who worked with the Colorado legislature developing Pay for Success legislation and worked with the Colorado Department of Education researching Kindergarten Entry Assessments.

Shelby received her Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and History from the University of North Texas and received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Jared Busker
Policy Analyst

Jared is passionate about combating systemic poverty throughout Nevada. Before working at the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA where he developed his passion for combating poverty. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is currently working to complete his Master’s in Urban Leadership at the same institution. Jared has served as the Treasurer of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Southern Nevada and as a Board Director for the Nevada Council on Economic Education. In his free time, Jared enjoys hiking and camping with his dog.


Maggie Salas-Crespo
Communications Coordinator

Maggie Salas-Crespo joined Children’s Advocacy Alliance as the Communications Coordinator. Maggie developed her passion for healthcare policy while working as an exchange enrollment facilitator, and later as an outreach associate for Nevada Health Link. During her time with Nevada Health Link, Maggie coordinated outreach efforts statewide to educate Nevadans on the Affordable Care Act and provided assistance for people to enroll for healthcare. After her time with the Nevada exchange, Maggie worked as the Nevada Representative for the Alliance for Healthcare Security where she successfully led grassroots efforts against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Maggie received a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.


Danielle Viquez
Strong Start Northern Nevada Campaign Coordinator 

As a social work student at the University of Nevada, Reno, Danielle interned with City Councilman Oscar Delgado where she worked closely with youth groups to promote civic literacy and engagement. Through this work, she developed a passion for helping children get a strong start in life, as well as empowering families to become advocates in their community. Danielle received her Bachelor’s in Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Berdie Woodhouse
Administrative Assistant

After many years in the accounting profession, Berdie has stepped away from preparing financial statements, budgets and taxes, and has taken the position of Administrative Assistant with CAA. Prior to joining the CAA team, Berdie had the opportunity to work as a Legislative Assistant (2013 Legislative Session) and a Proofreader for the Senate Committee on Finance (2017 Legislative Session). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Technology and ten years later earned a second degree in Accounting from Carroll College in Helena, Montana.


Shema Dannatt 
Southern Nevada Story Baking Coordinator

Shema is a native to Las Vegas and a single mother of 5-year-old daughter. She developed her passion for advocacy after completing a few internships within the Justice System in Nevada and caring for her daughter’s severe asthma. Shema’s primary goal is to continue advocating as much as possible for children, especially those who benefit so highly from having health insurance, given her personal fight to make sure her daughter grows up healthy. Shema is currently finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Counseling from Nevada State College.


Valeria Becerra  Camargo
Northern Nevada Story Banking Coordinator

Valeria first joined the Children’s Advocacy Alliance as an intern while finishing up her social work degree with her minors in Spanish and Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno and later transitioned into the team to help with the story baking efforts. As a Reno native and growing up in a foster care household, Valeria was able to see and understand the areas in her community where help was most needed to better serve children and families. Growing up, she always strove to work towards being part of that positive change and CAA has helped fuel that passion. Through advocacy, she wishes to impact and advocate for children and families on a social work macro level.