Bringing together committed and passionate leaders for a better Elkhart County.
Brian Wiebe, President/CEO
Prior to HEA, Brian worked as a educator for 25 years in early childhood, middle education, high school, and higher education as teacher, professor, and administrator, including 10 years as founding Executive Director of the Goshen College Music Center. During these 25 years, he conducted orchestras, choirs, operas, and a dozen performances of Handel’s Messiah.
Brian has a Master’s Degree in music from Northwestern University and a Master’s in Arts in Intercultural Leadership from Goshen College. He has served on local, regional and national boards, and was one of the initial co-chairs of the South Bend | Elkhart Region’s “Education and Workforce Committee.” When he’s not working he enjoys training for marathons, and in mid-2019, he survived the swim and bike portions of his first triathlon and completed a Half Ironman.
Dr. Aliah Carolan-Silva, VP of Research and Integration
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.
Sarah Metzler, VP of Foundations for Learning
Sarah has been an integral part of three systemic school and district-level reform programs: Standards-Based Education in Colorado and TAP and EL Education (Formerly Expeditionary Learning) in Goshen Public Schools. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is a National Board Certified Teacher.
Dr. Bruce Stahly, Senior Advisor for Finance
Dr. Stahly’s administrative professional career includes assistant superintendent positions at MSD of Wabash County, School City of Mishawaka, South Bend Community Schools, and Goshen Community Schools. He became Superintendent of Goshen Community Schools in 2002 and served in that role until 2012. Since 2012, he has served as a consultant for numerous school corporations and returned as an assistant superintendent for School City of Mishawaka in 2016 through 2018 and as Interim Superintendent at Fairfield Community Schools from January through June of 2019. He currently works part-time for Horizon Education Alliance as the Senior Advisor for Finance and continues with other consultant work for schools.
Breanna Allen, Director of Student Pathways
Breanna’s experience working in higher education includes assisting college students in preparation for the workforce, along with logistical coordination for students, faculty, staff, and external partners.
Anabel Bruner, Adult Pathways Orientation Coordinator
Her parents are from Monterrey, Mexico, and she was born in Texas before moving north to Elkhart where she now resides with her husband and five pets. She is the only one of her four siblings to go to college and graduate. She previously worked in the medical field and is excited to be working with a group of people that want to help the community. Anabel finds it rewarding to help someone achieve their goals.
Misael Cortez, CPT and ELL Instructor
Cindi Dixon, Director of Finance
Currently, Cindi oversees all of the organization’s financials as well as Human Resources, office management, and IT. She manages HEA’s receivables and payables, budget and audit, as well as the grant accounting and reporting. She has her associates degree from Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas.
Carol Hemund, Adult Pathways Tutor Coordinator
Emily Herriott, Coordinator, Triple P of Elkhart County
Before taking this position, Emily worked at Child And Parent Services for eight years, first as a bilingual Parenting Instructor and then as the Director of Parenting Education. Her work in the non-profit sector over the last 25 years has mostly been in adult education and her passion is helping to remove barriers so that families from diverse backgrounds can access needed services and support. Emily has a master’s in arts in Intercultural Leadership from Goshen College.
Andrew Hershberger, Director of Marketing and Communication
Andrew has a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing and Communication from Purdue University. He and his wife call Elkhart, Ind., home.
Allison Horner, Project Coordinator
Allison Horner joined HEA in August 2019 as a three-year Project Coordinator apprentice. Allison works with the Student Pathways team and most often with her apprenticeship mentor, Breanna Allen. One of her first projects was working on logistics for Manufacturing Day 2019.
Allison is a senior at Northridge High School in Middlebury. Allison is a straight A student, National Honor Society Member, and a second-year captain of the varsity cheer squad. In addition, Allison is in her second year of serving as a leader for the Middlebury Youth Council Leadership program. Allison spends her free time with her family and friends. She is also a frequent volunteer at Southwestern Michigan College and coaches a youth cheer team with Fearnow Gymnastics. Much of her summers are spent watching her little brother, Max, play baseball. She looks forward to attending college and plans to major in Business.
Jim Kirkton, Pathways Liaison
Jim has presented at conferences regionally and statewide. 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.
He is the co-author of the book Building a School of One: One School’s Journey, which chronicles raising student performance by personalizing the school experience and raising the academic expectation.
Sarah Koontz, Project Manager
Prior to HEA, Sarah worked as an educator for 12 years in middle childhood education as a math teacher. Her first nine years of teaching were at Goshen Middle School where she was also a mentor teacher through TAP, a system for teacher and student advancement. Sarah earned her Master’s of Educational Leadership through Ball State University in 2013. Her last three years of teaching were at Concord Junior High School.
Sarah is passionate about education and the importance of growing all children. When she is not working, you can find her spending time with her husband and three children. She enjoys being active and cooking for others.
Cindy Norman, Literacy Coordinator
Lena Maldonado, HSE Instructor
Jim Siegmann, HEA Ambassador
Barbara Stith, Director of Adult Pathways
Starting with HEA in 2013, Barbara furthered her goals of working with adult learners by preparing them to take their High School Equivalency exam. In 2015, she became program manager involved in the management of curriculum and development of programming. In 2019 she became the Director of Adult Pathways.
Barbara has a heart for the students HEA Adult Pathways works with and is honored to help them achieve their goals.
Sara Tam, Triple P Team Coordinator
Before joining HEA in 2019, Sara served as the Triple P and Parent Clerk at CAPS Child And Parent Services. Sara officially joined the Triple P team in 2017, but she provided freelance assistance to the initiative since 2016. Prior to working with Triple P, Sara provided clerical support and childcare for the Parenting Education department at CAPS.
Sara began working at CAPS in 2012, while she was working on attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies with a Concentration in Mathematics and Science and a Minor in Psychology, which she earned in 2016.
Carl Weaver, Pathways Liaison
Sherry Weldy, Adult Pathways Manager
Dr. Michelle Wirth, Research Coordinator
Michelle taught college-level psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan as a graduate student and at the University of Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor and Visiting Professor. She also mentored undergraduate and graduate students in science.
Michelle won a research grant from the National Institute on Aging to study resilience, stress, and stress hormone biology over the lifespan. In the community, Michelle taught brain science to middle- and high-schoolers through the Riverbend Community Math Center, and co-taught a zine-making course to middle-schoolers through Goshen Youth Arts.
HEA Administrative Staff
Brian 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 a master’s in arts in Intercultural Leadership from Goshen College.
Dr. Aliah Carolan-Silva
Director of Research
Aliah taught elementary students in rural Paraguay, migrant youth in Michigan, and pre- 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.
Director of Foundations for Learning
After graduating from Goshen College with degrees in art and conflict resolution, Sarah served as an Americorps volunteer with the Juvenile Justice Department and Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in Boulder, Colorado. She has also instructed young adult English language learners in Chile and taught at the high school and middle school levels in Colorado before returning to Elkhart County, where she served as a TAP Master Teacher and Instructional Guide in Goshen Public School System.
Sarah has been an integral part of three systemic school and district-level reform programs: Standards Based Education in Colorado and TAP and EL Education (Formerly Expeditionary Learning) in Goshen Public Schools. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is a National Board Certified Teacher.
Dr. Jason Harrison
Director of Pathways for Students and Adults
Jason has facilitated team-building and leadership development experiences for numerous schools, universities, and organizations. He 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 received a B.A. in Business Administration from Goshen College and an M.A. in Christian Formation/Youth Ministry from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
In the community, he is involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and LaCasa Help-A-House, and is a board member at Cornerstone Christian Montessori and serves on multiple committees at Walnut Hill Mennonite Church.