BRINGING TOGETHER COMMITTED AND PASSIONATE LEADERS FOR A BETTER ELKHART COUNTY

Each of our staff members brings an extraordinary list of leadership experiences to HEA. Collectively, our team has led dozens of organizations, served on countless community boards, taught thousands of students, and transformed the lives of children and adults both at home and abroad. By sharing their knowledge and organizational leadership experiences, HEA staff members are able to make well-informed, collaborative decisions that support the involvement of every Elkhart County citizen.

HEA Staff



HEA Adult Education Staff

The HEA Adult Education staff includes one full-time and four part-time staff members who support the GED program in Elkhart:

Brian Wiebe, Executive Director

Brian has worked as an educator for 25 years in early childhood, middle school, high school and higher education as teacher and administrator, serving for 10 years as Executive Director of the Goshen College Music Center. Prior to leadership at Goshen College, he taught at Central Christian School in Kidron, Ohio and at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. At the Music Center, he was responsible for all outreach community programming that grew out of the Center’s first decade, also overseeing operations and fundraising. He played a significant role in Elkhart County's strategic planning process beginning in 2010 that led to the creation of the HEA in 2012, and became HEA’s first executive director in October 2012. He has a master's degree in music from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing a master’s in arts in Intercultural Leadership from Goshen College.

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Kathy Royer, Associate Director

Kathy has worked as an educator and a social worker throughout her career, with most of her professional life working in non-traditional educational settings with children and adults. Beginning in 2006, she was employed by Learning Generation Initiative, becoming the executive director in 2009. Previously she worked for 13 years at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns as the Director of Community Partnerships and Service Learning. Prior to that, she taught high school in Kenya and managed three United Nations High Commission for Refugees programs serving South African Political Refugees in Lesotho, southern Africa. She served as President of the Dismas House Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of Veritas Academy, a grades K – 8 Charter School in Indiana. She was recognized with a Presidential Award from the University of Notre Dame for her work to build the relationship between the University and the community of South Bend.

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Dr. Aliah Carolan-Silva, Director of Research

Aliah received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University. She has conducted multiple research and evaluation studies in the areas of education and community development, educational equity, family-school relationships and college access. Aliah has many years of experience as a teacher, having taught elementary students in rural Paraguay, migrant youth in Michigan and pre-service and in-service teachers at Michigan State University. During her graduate studies, Aliah was awarded both a Spencer Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research on improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth. Prior to coming to HEA, she spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning at Goshen College.

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Sarah Metzler, HEA STEAM Coordinator

An Elkhart native, Sarah’s passion for providing high quality education to all students has led her to become actively involved in a number of school and district-wide education reforms. She worked as a lead teacher for a district in Colorado, helping to implement the first district-wide fully standards-based, learner-centered school initiatives in the lower 48 states. Since returning to Goshen she has been a TAP Master teacher for Goshen Community Schools and now works with Chamberlain Elementary School as an Instructional Guide, supporting the school’s transition into Expeditionary Learning. Sarah has experience working in public education K-12, has a MA in Curriculum and Instruction and is a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language.

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Cindi Dixon, HEA Operations Manager

Cindi has been with LGI (now HEA Adult Education) for nine years. Cindi does the purchasing and bookkeeping for HEA and oversees the data entry for the state-wide database. Prior to coming to LGI, Cindi worked in higher education institutions.

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Don Jantzi, Coordinator of HEA Parent and Child Engagement

Don has 35 years of experience has an educator. Don taught at elementary schools for ten years, including time as a 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th grade teacher and two years teaching in South America. Don was assistant elementary principal for four years and principal of an elementary school for 21 years. For 20 years, Don was part of a team that trained facilitators for the Indiana Principal Leadership Academy (IPLA). Don also served as a facilitator for the IPLA and as part of the Blue Ribbon Team to set direction for IPLA.

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Dr. Bruce Stahly, Coordinator of HEA Early Education

Bruce has been an administrator at Northridge High School, MSD of Wabash County, School City of Mishawaka, South Bend Community Schools, and Goshen Community Schools and worked in public education for 39 years. Bruce earned a B.A. in Chemistry in 1967 (Goshen College), an M.S. in Education in 1974 (Indiana University), an Education Specialist degree in 1981 (Indiana University), and his Education Doctorate in 1990 (Indiana University). His community affiliations include Goshen Rotary (President) and College Mennonite Church member where he serves on numerous committees. Bruce has served in statewide education positions as president of the Indiana Association School Business Officials and president of the Indiana Urban Schools Association. In 2010, Bruce was recognized by the Indiana School Boards with the Loren Burt Outstanding Educator Award and by Indiana University School Administrators Association with the Outstanding Educator Award.

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Dr. John Hutchings, Coordinator of HEA Middle Education

John has worked as an educator for over 40 years. He spent the first five years of his distinguished career as a special education teacher. John then moved from the classroom into a leadership position taking the job of Supervisor of Special Education with Elkhart community Schools where he remained for six years. He stayed with Elkhart Community Schools providing leadership as Director of Student Services for the remainder of his career. From the time he was a teenager, John never doubted that he would devote his life to the field of education. His work with Horizon Education Alliance is another milestone in his professional journey.

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Jim Kirkton, Coordinator of HEA College and Career

Jim worked for over 22 years as an English classroom teacher. During this time, he served as department chair, advised for newspaper and yearbook, served as a play director, and was awarded runner-up for Indiana Teacher of the Year. Jim also served as Head football coach for 17 years. Jim has over 18 years as a school administrator at New Haven High School, Heritage Jr.-Sr. High, Churubusco Middle School, and Goshen High School. Jim has presented at conferences regionally and state wide. He is co-author of the book Building a School of One: One School's Journey, which chronicles raising student performance by personalizing the school experiences and while raising the academic expectation.

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Dr. Jason Harrison, Coordinator of HEA Business/Education Roundtables

Jason received his PhD in Leadership from Andrews University. His dissertation focused on leadership development in collaborative learning environments. As a consultant, Jason has facilitated team-building and leadership development experiences for numerous schools, universities, and organizations. Prior to coming to HEA, Jason has worked at Camp Friedenswald as Program Director, Goshen College as Assistant Campus Minister, and Cornerstone Christian Montessori as Interim Executive Director. His passion for experiential learning grew out of leading cross-cultural learning experiences in Ivory Coast, Liberia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Jason also received a B.A. in Business Administration in 2000 (Goshen College) and an M.A. in Christian Formation/Youth Ministry in 2005 (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary). His involvement in the community has included Big Brother/Big Sister program, LaCasa Help-A-House, board member at Cornerstone Christian Montessori, and multiple committees at Walnut Hill Mennonite Church.

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Jim Siegmann, HEA Ambassador

Jim has been serving HEA “on loan” from the Elkhart County Community Foundation since January 1, 2013. Jim was Program Officer at ECCF from 2004 until 2012, and prior to that owned Siegmann Printing Company beginning in 1968 until the company was merged with Impressions, Inc. in Elkhart in 1990. Jim has served as board president of the United Way of Elkhart, president of United Way of Indiana and has served in leadership roles in many other nonprofit organizations.

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Theresa Prather

Theresa Prather is a full-time staff member, serving as Certified Lead Teacher for HEA Adult Education. Theresa has been with LGI for over two years. Theresa is the expert in pre- and post-testing students. She teaches the 12-hour orientation as well as managing a student list.

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Carol Hemund

Carol Hemund works part time with HEA as the volunteer coordinator for the Elkhart Literacy Project. Carol has been with HEA for two years. Carol recruits volunteers, matches them with students and manages their work and provides support and encouragement to both students and volunteers. Currently she oversees 60 community volunteers.

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Yazmin Ramirez

Yazmin Ramirez works part time for HEA as administrative assistant and in orientation support. She has worked with LGI/HEA for six years. Yazmin was trained by LGI with a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. She is bilingual and has taught in Spanish and English. Currently she provides administrative support for our teachers especially with the enrollment and initial assessment process.

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Barb Stith

Barbara Stith, director of HEA Adult Education, has been with HEA since early 2013, having previously worked in higher education. Barb still manages some students and helps with staff oversight and overall programming for adult education.

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Sherry Weldy

Sherry joined the HEA team in July 2014 as both a coach and career counselor. She has a long demonstrated commitment to preparing students for life and career exploration. As the director of career services at Bethel College, Sherry concentrated on fostering relationships with employers, faculty and students allowing her to provide coaching, counseling, and tools to improve success in the workplace. Her polished presentational skills and charismatic sense of humor allow her students to walk away with a solid understanding of the material and a smile on their faces..

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Dorothy Shirk

Dorothy Shirk is the Director of Community Engagement for Horizon Education Alliance, a non-profit organization working to improve educational success in Elkhart County. In this role she leverages her nearly 30 years of business experience to bridge business and community relationships within all sectors of the county to work at collaboration with educational institutions to improve workforce development. Prior to joining HEA, she was the Chief Operating Officer at Menno Travel in Goshen, an American Express Travel Representative office, where she engaged in regional, national and international trainings and collaboration and served on the American Express Vacations advisory board. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Goshen College and is a member of Kiwanis International and a past president of the Goshen Noon Kiwanis club. Dorothy is currently enrolled as a student in a Nonprofit Executive Fund Development Leadership Certificate Program at The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business.

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Cindy Norman

Cindy is the Literacy Coordinator for Adult Pathways.