Minnesota Alliance With Youth leaders strive to be: visionary, strategic, positive, humble, people-centered, and accepting of ambiguity. We aim to have integrity and conviction and be learners, empowers and problem solvers.
CEO & President
Sarah has over 30 years of experience working across all areas of adolescent health and development, including intervention and treatment, counseling, education, and community-wide youth development. She has worked with thousands of young people in developing leadership, public service, advocacy, and positive social change efforts at local, state, and national levels. A co-founder of Faribault’s Community of Promise Collaborative, she was appointed chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee by the Governor, and has served two four-year terms. She also serves on a number of local and statewide boards dedicated to the health and well-being of young people. As one who loves her work, she quotes Margaret Wheatley: “What brings us together is our compassion – our dream of how to make a difference for the good.” She also loves spending time with her family at Leech Lake and traveling.
Director of Training and Recruitment
Salena is the Director of Training and Recruitment at the Alliance, supporting current AmeriCorps members and spreading the word to future Promise Fellows! Salena comes with a wealth of AmeriCorps knowledge, bringing five years of management experience with AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs, and is herself a proud AmeriCorps alumna, serving as a VISTA with both Volunteers of America in Pennsylvania and United Cerebral Palsy of Texas, and as an AmeriCorps State member with Partners in School Innovation in San Jose, CA. Previously, she was the VISTA Program Manager for the PSEI VISTA Program at the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota and a Program Associate at Playworks Minnesota. Salena has a BA in Religious Studies and a BS in Sociology, both from Santa Clara University, and a Masters in Sociology from San Jose State University. Originally from California, Salena and her dog Effie have made Minnesota with all of it’s wonderful seasons their home. In her free time Salena enjoys cooking, spending time with Effie and exploring different craft activities.
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Leader
Sarah is a Promise Fellow Leader at the Alliance. She grew up in Northern Minnesota, and went to Bemidji State University. Sarah graduated with a B.S. in History and a M.A. in English with an emphasis on gender and medieval studies. She taught Composition and Argument/Exposition at Bemidji State for three years while obtaining her graduate degree, worked on student senate, and at various bookstores. After moving down to The Cities, she served a year at Inver Grove High School as a Promise Fellow and decided to serve again this year with The Alliance to help build the Promise Fellow communities and provide resources. Sarah loves reading medieval literature, reading romance novels, reading… well, pretty much anything, and hanging out with her daughter.
Executive Administrator to the President & CEO
Joel is an administrative professional with a wide array of experiences and industries including Healthcare, Corporate and Non-profit. As the son, brother, and grandson of a teacher, Joel acknowledges the challenges and values the importance of education in our society. At Minnesota Alliance with Youth he is focused on supporting and augmenting the work of the President, senior leadership team and Board of Directors. Joel graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus in drawing, painting and illustration from the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul. Joel co-founded Artists in Residence, an arts program creating pop-up galleries in homes for sale as a driver to positively impact the local artists, neighborhood connections and economic potential. Joel has too many hobbies, and whenever he can tries to squeeze in gardening, cooking, home improvement, homebrewing, playing with his dogs, and growing his followers on Pinterest.
Compliance and Program Coordinator
Bette is an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow and VISTA leader alumna, and a graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison having earned her B.A. in Political Science, International Studies and Latin American Studies. Her interest in working in the non-profit sector was sparked through her studies which focused predominantly on economic development and its ties to public policy. In her free time, Bette likes to eat Thai food, train for her next half marathon, and binge on How I Met Your Mother and Friends on Netflix.
AmeriCorps Recruitment Specialist
Christina joins the Alliance with years of experience in youth-oriented employee recruitment/training and partnership cultivation. Most recently, she worked as the Education Director for a non-profit youth arts organization, where she designed programming, orchestrated training and hiring efforts, and managed school district and community partnerships. She has also worked in donor relations at St. Olaf College, and as the Camp Manager for Hidden Pines Ranch, a day camp located in Stillwater. She holds a B.A. in Human Resource Psychology from St. Olaf College. Christina enjoys traveling with her “adventure buddies,” exploring the Twin Cities theater scene, and is very passionate about finding the best chips and salsa in Minnesota.
Youth Policy Manager
Bailey joined Minnesota Alliance With Youth in August 2016 with a position in collaboration with our friends across the hall, Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. As Youth Policy Manager, she focuses on the Solutions Not Suspensions Committee and building student voice at the state legislature through the Minnesota Youth Council’s Policy Committee. Bailey served 2 years as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow, with Children’s Defense Fund-MN and the Minnesota Youth Council. Originally planning to be a history and geography teacher, Bailey’s plans changed while studying at UW-Eau Claire and going on the school’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Bailey hopes to attend graduate school at Humphrey School of Public Affairs someday and is the slowest coffee drinker you’ll ever meet.
Youth Education Partnerships Coordinator
Brandon, an AmeriCorps Public Allies alumni, supports the Education Committee of the Minnesota Youth Council. During his AmeriCorps term of service with Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, he supported the Solutions Not Suspensions Coalition as they centered youth voice in conversations around school climate and discipline. Brandon is currently enrolled at University of Minnesota, anticipating his Bachelors in Sociology and African & African American Studies. Brandon plans to attend graduate school with hopes of becoming a Sociology professor. When he's not studying, you can find him cooking, playing video games, watching documentaries, or napping.
GradMinnesota AmeriCorps VISTA member
Colin graduated from Macalester College, earning a degree in philosophy with an emphasis on politics and law. He now serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with GradMinnesota. Colin loves visiting his grandmother in Stillwater, going on runs, and cooking.
Alliance VISTA Leader
Sam is a graduate from Goucher College, Baltimore having earned his B.A. in International Relations and Philosophy. He was inspired to serve as a Promise Fellow and VISTA by his experiences as a tutor and mentor to youth in Baltimore. In his free time, Sam enjoys swing dancing, making a floury-mess of his kitchen while baking, and zooming around the Twin Cities on his trusty bike.
Cammy Lehr, Ph.D.
GradMinnesota Project Manager
Prior to working with the Alliance, Cammy worked as an Education Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education for nine years. She led a project focused on building statewide capacity for effective implementation of educational practices in partnership with staff from the National Center on State Implementation and Scaling up of Evidence Practice (SISEP). She directed a federal grant focused on dropout prevention and played a key role in developing and disseminating a statewide early warning data system that identifies youth in grades 6 and 9 who may need additional supports to graduate from high school. Cammy has over 25 years of experience in education including work as a school psychologist, researcher and university instructor. Outside of work, Cammy enjoys gardening, trips to her cottage near Lake Superior, planning for retirement in Ely and being with family and friends.
Chief Financial Officer
Julie oversees all the financial and human resource functions of the Alliance. She works directly with the CEO/President and Board of Directors to ensure all systems run efficiently and effectively while complying with operational requirements. She also works closely with staff and Promise Fellows to assist them with benefits and payroll related items. Julie has more than 15 years of experience managing offices and providing financial and human resource support in both the public and private sectors, with emphasis on nonprofits. When not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two boys.
Chief Strategy Officer
Kori oversees the integration of the three major initiatives of the Alliance: AmeriCorps Promise Fellows, the Minnesota Youth Council, and GradMinnesota. She focuses her work on program leadership and management, external relationships, and knowledge management. Before coming to the Alliance in September of 2012, she spent nine years with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, most recently serving as the Director. She has a long history of national service work and is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus. Born and raised in Minnesota, Kori studied in Thailand, England, and Ghana, and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in entrepreneurship. She also holds an M.B.A from Northeastern University, with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship. Kori enjoys spending time with her family, including her son and 14 nieces and nephews, and embracing the interesting seasons that Minnesota has to offer.
Jade Djuna Schleif
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Leader
Born and raised in Minnesota, Jade is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas where she earned her B. A. in Sociology and Justice and Peace Studies. She then served two years as a Promise Fellow at the American Indian Magnet School in St. Paul. Now a Promise Fellow Leader at the Alliance, her mission is to support incoming Fellows while increasing member engagement and recruitment. Jade also continues to co-lead the Big Urban Woods 4-H Club all year round. She is passionate about Restorative Justice, facilitating circles and guiding youth to cultivate and share their inner light with each other and the world. In her free time, she enjoys losing herself in nature, walking her cat, re-reading Kurt Vonnegut novels, crafting any excuse for a weekend North Shore trip, and finding that perfectly ripe avocado at the grocery store!
Director of Development & Communications
Kate spearheads the development and communications activities at the Alliance, securing funding from a wide base of donors and aligning communications, media and advocacy to actively engage supporters. Before joining the Alliance team, Kate managed the development and community outreach programs at Women’s Advocates, Inc., the first domestic violence shelter in the nation. Kate serves on the board of Kulture Klub Collaborative and enjoys gardening, playing soccer and exploring her Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood with her husband and two sons.
Sarah France Ullmer
AmeriCorps Training Director
Sarah is a 2000 graduate of Macalester College, and has worked for the past decade in youth and community development at local, statewide, and national levels. Having begun her career at YouthCARE/Camp Sunrise, her paths have since included working with youth and adults to organize community gardens with GardenWorks, teaching environmental education at Wolf Ridge Environmental Center, and facilitating trainings on service-learning and youth engagement from Minnesota to Qatar. She also has studied and practiced massage therapy and is currently pursuing certification as a life coach. She believes deeply in the power of people to create change for good in the world, and looks forward to fresh tomatoes and basil in the summer and sliding on frozen lake ice in the winter. She is proud to call Minnesota home, but sometimes — as a Colorado native — gets lost looking for the mountains.
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow- Minnesota Youth Council
Kullyn is a recent graduate from St. Olaf College having earned a B.A. in Political Science and Religion. She now serves as the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow for the Minnesota Youth Council. In her free time, Kullyn likes to hike, bake, and spend time with her dog Jubee.
Director of Training & Evaluation
Noam joins the Alliance team after spending the last five years supporting youth in the Twin Cities. After graduating the University of Minnesota, he taught math for Minneapolis Public Schools. That path brought him to Breakthough, an educational nonprofit that provides academic enrichment programming to under resourced students. After serving as the Curriculum and Instruction Director for two Breakthrough nonprofits, Noam completed his Masters in Math Education. In his spare time, he is an avid cyclist and enjoys the year-round outdoor adventures that Minnesota has to offer. He also enjoys spending time exploring the Twin Cities with his wife and pug.
Director of Training & Member Support
Kathy joined the Alliance staff in September and brings a wealth of past experience, including STEP-UP Work Readiness Trainer at AchieveMpls, Research Assistant at American University and Program Coordinator at Washington State Employment Security Department. At the Washington State Employment Security Department, Kathy managed a statewide AmeriCorps program that provided youth employment and training. Kathy is a proud alumna of both AmeriCorps Washington Service Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from American University School of Public Affairs and a Certificate in Nonprofit and National Service Management from the University of Washington, Evans School of Public Affairs. Kathy enjoys exploring the great outdoors, especially the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Hannah, a graduate of St. Olaf College, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Dance, and participated in the Great Conversation program, studying the evolution of literacy and artistic expression, philosophic thought, religious belief, and the sciences of human behavior from the ancient into the modern world. At the Alliance she manages grant compliance, assists the finance department, and supports the Promise Fellow initiative. When not organizing or cataloging, she is often romping through nature, exploring the cities for new treasures, or spending time reading favorite books.