HEA Staff

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

HEA Administrative 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 Communications

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

Family Engagement Action 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.

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.

Carl Weaver

Pathways Liaison

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

Jim Kirkton

Pathways Liaison

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.

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.

Sarah Metzler

Director of Foundations for Learning

Sarah’s educational journey has led to diverse experiences and perspectives on child development. As an 8-year old, she was immersed in a public elementary school in Paraguay, where she later returned to volunteer for a year in a children’s shelter.

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 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.

Breanna Allen

Pathways Coordinator

Born and raised in Terre Haute, Ind., Breanna made her way up to the South Bend-Elkhart region in 2012 as a Higher Education Administrator. Over the past six years, Breanna has worked for Harrison College and Ivy Tech Community College in various roles such as Manager of Student Services and Director of Career Development.

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.

Kathleen Jones

Project-Based Learning Coach

Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Kathleen Jones is an educator with over 15 years of project based learning (PBL) experience. After moving to Elkhart County in 2017, Kathleen connected with HEA and is excited to be applying her PBL expertise to HEA’s Business/Education Roundtables program.

In her role, Kathleen leads teacher professional development, facilitates planning and exchange sessions, and ensures teachers are supported as they implement project-based units.

Hillary Harder

El Sistema Coordinator for Elkhart County

Hillary Harder grew up in Wichita, Kan. where she attended a dual-language school and began making music at an early age. Whether playing bluegrass with her family band, singing in community and school choirs, or playing in the youth symphony orchestra, there was never a shortage of challenging and rewarding experiences making music in an ensemble.

Hillary received her Bachelor of Arts from Goshen College in Music and Spanish, spending significant time performing but also working with youth through the Music Together program and the Youth Honors Orchestras through the Community School of the Arts.

Dr. Michelle Wirth

Research Coordinator

Michelle received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin. She is a social scientist with 20 years of experience doing research on stress and emotion, including study design, data analysis, and communicating the findings to a variety of audiences – telling stories about the science that can reach people at any level of expertise.

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 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

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

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

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

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

Carol Hemund

Tutor Coordinator

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

Data Manager

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

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.

Lena Maldonado

Orientation Coordinator

Lena obtained a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Baylor University and has 15 years of experience working in government, law, and medical sectors.