Education Branch Staff

Melanie Foote is the Manager of the Education and Strategic Planning Branch. Melanie joined the Education Branch in 2015. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. She is a member of New York and Kentucky State Bars, and has been practicing in Kentucky since she joined the Adult Post Conviction Branch of the Department of Public Advocacy in 2007. While in the Post Conviction Branch, Melanie represented adult clients on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, mistake in the proceedings, and claims of actual innocence. In that role, she secured the release and exoneration of Mr. Jason Girts, who had been wrongfully convicted based on false statements made by a child relative. In 2009, she joined the Kentucky Innocence Project to work exclusively on DNA based claims of actual innocence. At the completion of the DNA Grant in 2010, she began representing clients in district, circuit, juvenile and family court in the Elizabethtown and LaGrange Trial Offices. While at the Elizabeth Trial Office, Melanie had the pleasure of representing Mr. Jose Padilla, after his case was vacated and remanded by the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Padilla’s charges were ultimately dismissed after a period of deferred prosecution, allowing him to remain in the United States. Melanie is a faculty member of the 2017 Public Defender Trial Advocacy Program in Dayton, Ohio.

Ray Ibarra is an Education Attorney Supervisor and has been active in DPA education since 2015 and is one of the agency experts on bail and pretrial release litigation. He is a faculty member of the DPA Public Defender College where he assists with Circuit Court training, District Court training, Litigation Persuasion Institute and Investigation Institute. Ray is also the program coordinator and a founding member of the DPA mentorship program where he helped guide the goals and structure of the program. Ray is a Gideon’s Promise alumnus and now serves as a part of Gideon’s Promise alumni faculty. Prior to joining the DPA Education Branch, Ray was the Directing Attorney of the Cynthiana Trial Office. He has also worked in the Covington and Newport Trial Offices. Prior to coming to Kentucky as an Equal Justice Works Public Defender Corps Fellow specializing in Pre-Trial Release Litigation, Ray graduated from Georgetown Law in Washington, DC in 2009. He has also worked at public defender offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County, California, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Ray and his wife Andrea Kendall—who is also a DPA attorney in the Capital Trials Branch— are proud foster parents and have a combined total of eighteen years and seven household moves in the service of public defense reform.

Glenn McClister is an Education Staff Attorney. He received his J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1997,and for eight years worked as an Assistant Public Advocate in Somerset, Kentucky. Born in Chicago, Glenn attended a protestant seminary for two years after receiving his A.A. degree and then, like his father and brother, became a preacher. Five years later, he quit to pursue graduate work in philosophy. After completing the requirements for an M.A., he then spent two years as a professional actor, getting the chance to play the lead in “Two Gentlemen of Verona” on the stage of the Globe Theater in London, during a summer program there. After having secured a talent agent on 88th street in New York and spending a great deal of time unemployed, Glenn joined the 101st Airborne Division when Desert Storm began and served for two-and-a-half years. After digging ditches in a Kentucky state park for a year, Glenn went to law school, where he won the College of Law Faculty Cup at graduation. In addition to his duties as an advocate, Glenn also spends a great deal of time training public defenders throughout the nation. He has been on the faculty of Missouri’s public defender training and has trained public defenders in Pennsylvania.

Patti Heying is DPA’s statewide Recruiter. Patti received a Master’s Degree in Theatre from the University of Kentucky in 1987, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Louisville in 2007.  She has worked as an acting and vocal coach in Minnesota and Kentucky for the past 20+ years, including serving as adjunct faculty in the theatre departments at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.  Patti was the Training Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for 5 years and has been the agency’s recruiter since 2007.  She designs and provides coaching sessions and workshops on presentation skills for criminal defense attorneys within Kentucky and has been a guest coach in Missouri and New Orleans for NLADA’s Appellate Defender Training.  Patti continues to direct, perform and teach with local theatres in the Bluegrass area.

Lisa Blevins​ is the branch’s Program Coordinator. Lisa is a native of Lexington, KY where she received her B.A. in theatre from the University of Kentucky. She worked as a stage manager and other capacities in regional theatre in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, before returning home and working as Production Stage Manager / Company Manager for the Lexington Children’s Theatre.  Lisa joined the Department of Public Advocacy in 2000 as the General Counsel Secretary, and has been Program Coordinator for Education since 2004, ensuring the logical coordination for DPA training of all sizes.​