Our Team

Mark Griffin

Executive Director

Dr. Mark Griffin began his career in child and family services while he was an undergraduate student working as a youth care worker in a residential care and treatment facility for abused and neglected children and teens. Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical/community psychology, and continued his career moving into leadership roles as a program and agency administrator. These positions included serving as head of the Orange County, Florida Department of Children, Youth and Family Services, as the county’s Deputy Director for Health and Human Services, and, after moving to Georgia in 1994, as Executive Director of the Rockdale Coalition for Children and Families, a Georgia Family Connection agency. After 29 years in this field, Mark transitioned into a second career as a psychology and counseling professor and earned a doctorate in counseling psychology. He taught for 20 years concluding his college teaching career at the University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus from which he retired in 2018. During both of his careers, Mark also practiced as a licensed professional counselor providing individual, marital and family counseling. Finding that he was not yet ready to sit on the sidelines, Mark “unretired” in 2021 and returned to his original passion, child and family services. He is excited to have the opportunity to lead the White County Family Connection collaborative.

Laura Hyatt

Lead Family Advocate

Laura has been with White County Family Connection since September 2021. She has lived in the surrounding area since 2013 and graduated from the University of North Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2017. After college, Laura spent over three years as a Ministry Assistant at the Mt. Yonah campus of Concord Baptist Church. Her time at Concord ignited a love for serving and building relationships in the White County community. Laura has a passion for strengthening families and advocating for the needs of children. She has experience working among at-risk children, as well as kinship, foster, and adoptive families. Laura is grateful for the opportunity to utilize her passions to serve families in White County!

Julie Courson

Family Advocate

Julie has been with White County Family Connection since April 2022. Julie graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in special education. She enjoyed several years as a camp staff at the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind where she met her husband. She worked as a teacher of the visually impaired and an orientation and mobility instructor before raising her children and homeschooling them. White County became home for Julie and her family in 2000. She is a long-time advocate for families having served as a foster parent for 10 years. Julie is passionate about providing resources and advocating for safe and stable families. She believes in the value of empowering families to enact long-term, positive change. Julie enjoys cooking delicious meals for her family, camping and taking the family dog on long walks.