Staff List

Elise Padilla, MSW, MBA, STAR Center Director

Elise Padilla comes to the STAR Center from direct service delivery working with individuals experiencing co-occurring substance use and mental health issues using a peer support model. Mrs. Padilla is a peer in recovery who has been a peer support advocate focusing on systemic change and leadership development, and believes that lived experience can greatly benefit service delivery and research.

Mrs. Padilla received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology/Sociology from the University of New Mexico and her Masters of Social Work- Leadership & Administration and Masters of Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University in 2017.

In her professional career she has worked in research, direct service delivery and organizational development, with an emphasis on leadership .


Tanya Ryder, M.Ed., STAR Center Senior Project Manager

Tanya Ryder joined the STAR Center Team in January 2013. As the Senior Project Manager, she manages the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of STAR Center events, resources, communications and virtual learning. In addition, she provides national technical assistance in youth leadership development and areas related to systems transformation towards recovery and consumer directed approaches.

Tanya provides a variety of experience working with underserved and multicultural communities. Her previous employment in program/project management includes the Department of Family Services for Fairfax County Government, the Hispanic Committee of Virginia and the American Red Cross.

Tanya holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Sociology from Trinity University-Washington and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

She is a wife, mother of 2 girls and 4 Boston Terriers. Her passions are coffee, reading, running and podcasts. As a person in recovery, her faith and family are her cornerstones. 



Contact Us:


Elise Padilla, MSW, MBA, Director

Tanya Ryder, M.Ed.,  Senior Project Manager

Toll-free: (866) 537-STAR (7827)

                (703) 312-7887


3803 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 222-3