HEA Staff

Bringing together committed and passionate leaders for a better Elkhart County.

HEA Staff

Brian Wiebe

Executive Director

Brian 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, as well as overseeing operations and fundraising.

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 received her Ph.D. 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 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.

Dorothy Shirk

Director of Community Engagement

Dorothy has nearly 30 years of business experience, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer at Menno Travel in Goshen, where she engaged in regional, national, and international training 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 completed the Nonprofit Executive Fund Development Leadership Certificate Program at The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business and the Principles and Techniques of Fundraising program through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy IUPUI Fund Raising School.

She serves on the board of Goshen College Maple Leafs Athletic Club and the Greencroft Communities Foundation Homestead Golf Committee.

Don Jantzi

Parent Engagement Network Coordinator

Don has 35 years of experience as an educator. Don taught in 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 the direction for IPLA.

Carl Weaver

College and Career Network Coordinator

Carl taught for 49 years at Goshen High School before joining HEA.

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.

Kathy Royer

Director of Foundations for Learning

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, Kathy taught high school in Kenya and managed three United Nations High Commission for Refugees programs serving South African Political Refugees in Lesotho in southern Africa. In Indiana, 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.

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.

Dr. Jason Harrison

Director of Pathways for Students and Adults

Jason received his Ph.D. in Leadership from Andrews University. His dissertation focused on leadership development in collaborative learning environments.

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.

Cindi Dixon

Director of Finance

Cindi worked for 12 years in the Dean’s office at the College of Arts and Letters at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She then spent nine years at Learning Generation Initiative and then with HEA following the merger with HEA, where she handled the office management, purchasing, and bookkeeping and oversaw the data entry for the Adult Education state-wide database.

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.

Dr. John Hutchings

Middle Education Network Coordinator

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.

Jim Kirkton

College and Career Network Coordinator

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 statewide.

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.

HEA Adult Education Staff

The HEA Adult Education staff supports adult learning in Elkhart County, including reading and writing literacy, High School Equivalency (HSE), and incumbent worker skills training.

Barbara Stith, Program Manager, Adult Pathways

Barbara is the program manager for HEA’s Adult Pathways program. Barb received her BA from Bethel College and her MA from IUSB, concentrating in English and History. Her lifelong goal was to teach college, and she has taught at Bethel, IUSB, and is currently an associate faculty member at Trine University.

Starting with HEA in 2013, Barb 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. Barb has a heart for the students HEA Adult Pathways works with and is honored to help them achieve their goals.

Theresa Prather, HSE Instructor, Adult Pathways

Theresa Prather serves as Certified Lead Teacher for HEA Adult Pathways.

Theresa worked at Learning Generations Initiative (LGI) for more than two years prior to continuing at HEA. Theresa is the expert in pre- and post-testing students. She teaches the 12-hour orientation and manages a student list.

Yazmin Ramirez, ELL and CLT Instructor, Adult Pathways

Yazmin Ramirez worked at LGI prior to continuing with HEA Adult Pathways. She is a bi-lingual English Language Learner Instructor and Certified Logistics Technician for adult learners.

Misael Cortez, CPT and ELL Instructor, Adult Pathways

Misael is a bi-lingual English Language Learner and Certified Production Technician Instructor for adult learners.

Carol Hemund, Tutor Coordinator, Adult Pathways

Carol Hemund is HEA’s volunteer coordinator, recruiting and supporting tutors in reading, writing, and math to support literacy and HSE students. She matches volunteers with students, manages their work, and provides support and encouragement to both students and volunteers. She currenly oversees 60 community volunteers.

Sherry Weldy, Career Coach, Adult Pathways

Sherry is a coach and career counselor for adult students, preparing them for life and career exploration. She also manages the state data management system.

Cindy Norman, Literacy Coordinator, Adult Pathways

Cindy began her college career at Bethel College in Mishawaka and finished her master’s degree in Mild Disabilities at Indiana University. She taught in the Elkhart Community Schools prior to joining HEA as coordinator of the adult literacy program. She enjoys seeing how important reading is to adults and how hard they work to reach their goals.

Shabbir Qutbuddin, IT Sector Partnership Coordinator, Adult Pathways

Shabbir coordinates the IT Sector Partnership for the South Bend/Elkhart region.