Meet Sarah Kern
Sarah Kern is the Corporate and Foundation Support Specialist. It’s her goal to find funding to help support everything accomplished at Easterseals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an associate degree in business management from University of Maryland University College while traveling the world with her Navy husband, Jerimia. Once he separated from the military they moved to Johnstown where they lived for 18 years. She and Jerimia have three nearly grown children: Isabella (20), Rebecca (18), and Kristofer (14).
Sarah caught the grant writing bug when she offered to help her former boss finish a grant report. She moved to Easterseals a little over a year ago and enjoys the challenge of securing impactful funding.
In her spare time Sarah tries to keep her house livable, her family fed, and her dog Jackie walked. She also enjoys volunteering at her church and reading historical biographies.
Meet Brandy Rogers
Brandy Rogers has been with Easterseals since August of 2010. Brandy began at Easterseals, thirteen years ago, as the Administrative Assistant at the Johnstown and Somerset Division, which provides speech and hearing services. Brandy has grown up with Easterseals, friends that she has had had been working for Easterseals before she was born. She was born in Johnstown and loves the fact that she can give back to the community by helping individuals receive the help and support they need through a non-profit organization. Brandy provides support to the speech therapists and audiologist at the Johnstown office. Her role at Easterseals’ has recently expanded to oversee the Cyber School Program which provides virtual and in-person therapy services to children that attend different cyber schools throughout Pennsylvania. Her current role with Easterseals is as the Therapy and Cyber School Coordinator.
In her free time, Brandy loves to spend time with her three dogs (Mae (pictured), Zeke and Vegas. Whether taking walks in the woods or just running around the backyard, her dogs mean the world to her. She is also an avid fan of Ohio State, Vegas Golden Knights and the Cowboys, as you can tell by the dog’s names. Brandy also coaches volleyball at Bishop McCort Catholic High School with her best friend Missy. Brandy and Missy have been playing volleyball together since high school and they have been coaching together for four years.
Meet Carole Perrotti
Carole Perrotti is a fierce advocate for a family member with a disability. She understands how important it is to support those who work directly with individuals with disabilities and was fortunate to be hired in 2003 as a Human Resources Assistant. With the downsizing of staff during the lean years of 2008 through 2016, Carole took on the additional responsibilities of the Executive Secretary’s duties and obtained a new title, Administrative Assistant to encompass the Human Resources Department and the Administration Department. She wears many hats and can be reached via the Headquarters phone number prompts as the Operator, as the Human Resources Department, and with her own extension. Twenty years later, Carole is still enjoying this role of assisting her “customers”, our employees.
Carole was a stay at home Mom with two young children when her husband was killed by a drunk driver in 1991. Carole worked part-time as the Head Cook at her children’s school, was transferred to another local school, then became a clerical staff member at a local YMCA. She went back to school full-time in her thirties and obtained an associate degree/Administrative Office Professional.
Carole is most proud of her children, Matt, and Kim after all they have experienced growing up without a father. She is enjoying watching her grandchildren, Griffin, Brighton, and Greenleigh grow up. Another grandchild, Mitchell, lived 58 days in the NICU and is thought of with love every day.
Carole is a Beatles fanatic and sometimes can be heard whistling their songs while working at her desk. She enjoys the camaraderie she has established with our employees over the years. A consumer who worked in the now defunct prevocational program at our Strip District office calls every year for updates about his coworkers. Carole plans to provide assistance to all for many more year.
Meet Sharnette Crite-Evans
Hello, my name is Sharnette Crite-Evans. I started working with Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania on June 1, 2016, in the Vocational Department at the Uptown Site which transitioned into an Adult Day Facility in July 2018, which merged with the Harmarville Site in March 2020. I work in Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania ADS program in Harmarville as a Program Specialist/Center Supervisor. I have a son and a daughter who I love so much. My daughter just turned 30 and is North Carolina and my son is 26 and is in Ohio.
I moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 5 from Brooklyn, New York. My experience basically started at the age of 8 when my mother started working at Achieva in the 1980s for 30 years. I’ve been in this line of work for 22 years working as a habilitation aide, rehabilitation specialist, and program specialist in the community, Day and Residential Programs. I graduated from Carlow College with Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and from Carlow University with a Master’s Degree in Professional Leadership with a certification in training and development.
I was once told that this field is my Calling and I enjoy working with people who have disabilities. I am grateful for Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania to continue to provide me with the opportunity to work in the field that I love.
Meet Lee Schiefelbien
Hello everyone, my name is Lee Schiefelbein. I am the new Contract Developer/Manager for Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania. A little about myself and my background/experiences. I am a single father of 6 children; my oldest son is 23, my oldest daughter is 12, and I have 10 yr. old quadruplets.
I am a retired military service member with a little more than 15 years of Army active duty service. While in the Army, I deployed twice (once in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the other in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan). During those deployments I was responsible for many different jobs such as logistics, food preparation, communications, transportation, and escort protection. My final years in the Army I worked as the clinical manager for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s COVID-19 and Flu vaccine programs.
I have a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from University of Maryland Global Campus, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Trident International University, and an Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy from Thomas Edison State College.My prior military experience included international logistic management and emergency medical care (EMT).I am so glad to be able to use my experiences and education to improve the organization. I look forward to working with everyone here at Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania.
Meet Sarah Powell
Wrapping up her first year as development associate for ESWCPA, Sarah primarily assists development staff with fundraising events and appeals and manages the organization’s social media accounts. Her favorite part of working at Easterseals is the organization’s commitment to social equity and the opportunity to learn about the history and experiences of individuals with disabilities.
Graduating from Ithaca College in 2019 with BAs in theatre studies and writing, Sarah’s passion for nonprofit work began in middle school volunteering for her local library and continued through literary theatre internships and a transition to development positions. She is a proud alumna of AmeriCorp VISTA. Outside of work, Sarah moonlights as a bar trivia whiz kid, frequents the art-house movie theatres in the Pittsburgh area, and cohabitates with her mischievious cat Sammy.
Meet Tammy Gross
Her warm smile, kind eyes and friendly voice immediately tell you all you need to know about Tammy Gross. She loves everything about her work coordinating interpreting services for people with hearing loss and serving as nurse for our central region summer camps. Working out of our York office, she seems like someone who’s just always been here, though it’s only been four years since that fateful day when Jinny, an Easterseals rec intern, told her about an opportunity to serve as summer camp nurse. Tammy always loved working with people with disabilities, and her face lights up when she tells you “There’s nothing better than when someone you’ve known for only a week gives you a hug and says you’re their favorite camp nurse ever. It melts my heart.” She explains it’s the best time they have all year, so of course, she does anything she can to help, including going on a zip line. Did she wake up that day and think to herself, “Ya know, I’m gonna ride a zip line today?” No. This was one of those kind selfless gestures encouraging a camper with “…if you do it, I will too…” that come second nature to Tammy.
Born in Gettysburg, Adams County, Tammy attended Dover High School but is a self-proclaimed York native. Her home life is also filled with love from an adoring family including kids Kris and Brian, granddaughter Kylee, husband of 44 years, Terry, and a dog named Violet. Make sure you give a big “Hi” to Tammy any time you get to the York office or drop her a line today at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be glad you did.
Meet Doug Clewett
Doug Clewett is in his 5th year as ESWCPA’s VP of Human Resources. His career spans over 30 years in the mental health and disability fields.
He came to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University where he received a Master’s degree in Psychology. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the College of Wooster, in Wooster Ohio.
He began his career working in community mental health programs, as a resident advisor, a mobile therapist, a rehabilitation counselor and then as the Director of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program. For the last 20 years, he has held both operations and human resource positions. He is happy to wear just one hat now and focuses on the changing needs of staff and programs.
Outside of work, Doug enjoys house and yard projects, tennis, friends and family and his annual trip to the Delaware shore.
Meet Frank Dalmas
- Graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Degree in Education for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and Special Education.
- 38 years in the field of Education while always serving students with special needs and under-served student populations.
- Career highlights include serving as a public-school superintendent, school principal, Director of Special Education and Director for several Approved Private Schools in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
- My professional certifications include: Letter of Eligibility for School Superintendent, K-12 Principal Certification, Special Education Supervisory Certificate, Instruction and Curriculum Supervisory Certificate, Special Education Teaching Certificate and Elementary Education Teaching Certificate.
- I have 2 adult children living in the Pittsburgh area and one granddaughter.
I am excited to be a part of the Easterseals Family and I look forward to the coming years serving as Director of Children’s Programs. I look to grow Children’s Programming in areas of After-school services and Respite services. I want to thank everyone for their warm welcomes since starting at Easterseals and looking forward to what is ahead
Meet Susan Gurcak
My name is Susan Gurcak. I am the new Education Director for the Easterseals School in Cranberry Township. I grew up and still live in Wexford PA. I received my special education/regular education degree from Mercyhurst University in 1995. I am married to my wonderful husband for 12 years, and we have two daughters. I have been with Easterseals for 23 years. I was temporarily hired as a special education teacher for the summer program in July of 1999. I fell in love with the students and asked if I could work for Easterseals full-time. Luckily for me the teacher that had the classroom I worked in over the summer chose to not come back and I was hired. Working as a team to help my students learn has been a wonderful experience. The best part of the job is seeing my students come in as a three-year-old, watching them grow, learn and succeed over the 5 years that they are typically with us. In this new role as Education Director, I look forward to working with our families, staff, IUs, School Districts and Management to help provide the best education for our students!
Meet Colleen Felentzer
I have over 30 years of experience with non-profit and community organizations. I began my career as a secretary for a school district before deciding to go back to school for a degree in Communications. I attended Point Park University while working full-time. After graduating, I began working for the Allegheny League of Municipalities as the Director of Communications and Events. It is there that I became very good at juggling many projects at one time. Event planning included banquets, board meetings, golf outings and 4-day conferences at Seven Springs. My most memorable career experience had to be getting to work on a fundraiser that raised $1 million dollars for the Flight 93 Memorial. Being a big part of the “Hearts of Steel” bracelet project was very rewarding, and even more so after fate put me seated beside one of the victim’s mothers on a flight to Tampa, who happened to be wearing her bracelet proudly.
I am married, and Dave and I have two “furbabies” named Chico and Archie. My hobbies include swimming, camping, going to the movies and shopping. I have 3 beautiful nieces that have me completely wrapped around their fingers. I volunteer at my church as part of the GenKidz Team, where I teach children in Kindergarten through fourth grade.
I am very excited to be the Communications and Events Specialist for Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that doing a good job results in more help for others. I can’t wait to get to know the different areas and gush about all the wonderful things that Easterseals is doing!
Meet Jeri Brown
Jeri has been with Easterseals for three years April 2022. She was originally hired as the Administrative Program Assistant for the Franklin Division, which includes the Residential Program and the Erie Photo Center. She serves on the Safety Committee, the Wellness Committee and was the HR and Development Representative for Franklin. She is currently transitioning into a new position as Photo Center Coordinator for the five Pittsburgh photo centers, in addition to the Erie site. She will remain in the Franklin office and maintain about 10% of her administrative duties there. Sharon Bennardo, Administrative Assistant for the Pittsburgh photo centers, will be Jeri’s eyes and ears on site and will handle the majority of the day-to-day operations. Although Jeri says she will miss her role in the Residential Program she is looking forward to her new role and any challenges it might bring.
Jeri was born and raised in California and moved to Oil City, PA about seven years ago. She met her husband in college in CA, got married, had two children, purchased a home, and started a business. Her husband was born and raised in Oil City and they often visited his family there. Finally, after being with my husband for 36 years, they decided that CA had gotten too crazy and out of hand with the cost of living, traffic, gangs, drugs, and poor schooling. They sold everything and moved to his little hometown and Jeri has loved every day of it!
Jeri’s son, Nicholas, is 30, and her daughter, Melissa, is 24 have both moved to Oil City, also. Jeri has a one-year-old English Mastiff rescue pup named Nitro. Jeri enjoys fishing, hiking, drives in the country, eating out, and most of all she loves her church! Jeri says, "my church is very active in service to our community, so I have the opportunity to serve in many different areas that bring me much joy.”
Meet Dr. Sydney Black
Dr. Sydney Black earned her BS summa cum laude at Edinboro University and her doctorate from University of the Pacific. An appreciation of music led her to a career in audiology. Dr. Black has experience in a variety of settings, including the Phoenix Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. She is originally from western Pennsylvania and was excited to return home to help serve the community to better access hearing healthcare. Dr. Black has many fond childhood memories of spending time at her aunt and uncle’s farm in Somerset County.
In her free time, Dr. Black enjoys going to concerts and spending time with her dog and three cats. She is thrilled to join the team at Easterseals. She is passionate about improving access to hearing healthcare and improving one’s quality of life through better hearing. Easterseals is a nonprofit in the Johnstown/Somerset communities that helps Children and Adults with Hearing and Speech disabilities. Our services are available to everyone. To welcome our new Audiologist Dr. Sydney Black to our Johnston Division, we will be offering free hearing tests February 2022 through the end of May 2022. Call the office to make an appointment - 814-535-5508.
Meet Gretchen Confer
Gretchen Confer has been working at Easterseals Child Development Center for 4 years. Starting as a Personal Care Aide, then ran a Summer Camp, and now the Program Coordinator. at our State College Division. She loves to watch the children grow and learn as they enter our center and enjoys working with the families. Gretchen was born and raised in State College, PA and is a third generation graduate from Penn State, where she graduated with a Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management Degree. She is a devoted Steelers and Penn State Football fan. 😊 She enjoys spending time outside with her 3 dogs and her husband, as well as coaching gymnastics.Gwenn’s career in fundraising spans over 10 years. She previously directed the foundation, corporate and government fundraising efforts of a health and human service NPO serving the midstate and Lehigh Valley regions. Gwenn holds a master’s in public administration from University of South Carolina with a concentration in land use planning.
Meet Becky Helffrich
Becky Helffrich loves Easterseals! It’s mission, her co-workers, the clients, working in the Development Department and the atmosphere of workplace. Shortly after retirement in 2016, Becky came to work in Easterseals’ Development Department, the fundraising branch of the organization. There she has the opportunity to implement special events, manage the website, write grants and work with all of our generous donors. Working with her co-worker, Olivia Harris and her boss, Lori McCann has made the job fun, interesting and filled with team fellowship. Becky believes that whether you are a client, a donor, a volunteer or an employee, Easterseals will make you smile.
Prior to retirement in 2016, Becky was Executive Director of Neighbors in the Strip (NITS), a community-based organization whose mission is to promote economic development opportunities while maintaining the personality, integrity and character of Pittsburgh’s Strip District. During this time Neighbors in the Strip has been the recipient of a number if awards including the State Mainstreet Townie Award for Promotional Events, State Mainstreet Townie Award for Safe, Clean and Green, Excellence in Organization, Citywide Mainstreet award for Overall Excellence and the Citywide Mainstreet Award for Excellence in Organization. Among other accomplishments, NITS was particularly pleased with the creation of the NITS Emergency Response Team has resulted in the reduction of crime by 65% during Becky’s time.
Prior to returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh in 1993, Becky resided in Palm Beach County, Florida for 15 years where she was employed as Vice President and Branch Manager for two banks respectively - First American Bank and Trust and Prime Bank. Finding her volunteer work within the community more stimulating than her professional career has led her a career as a community advocate and tireless worker. Becky enjoys reading, sketching and collecting just about anything, but focusing primarily on antique toys and dolls (as storage room, on shelves, in her closets and beneath her bed continues to decline). Becky lives with her cat, Bella who is happy and content, to just lounge around, chase mummies and bite Becky.
Meet Lori McCann
When Lori joined Easterseals 3 years ago, she brought over 15 years of non-profit fundraising and development experience. She enjoys working with the Easterseals staff & Board to maximize fundraising efforts while overseeing development staff in ESWCPA’s five divisions.
Before coming to Easter Seals, Lori was the Executive Director for the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania. Areas of responsibility included Board and Committee management, planning and implementing fundraising events (walks, golf tournament. Etc.), overseeing patient services, marketing and communications (including Social Media), and Corporate Sponsorship and grant support. She was also responsible for developing content for the Annual Appeal. Additionally, she worked with the Board President to seek out and recommend potential Board members. Prior to becoming the Executive Director, she had worked as the Development Director for the foundation and returned after several years away to take over in the role of Executive Director.
She has also worked as the Walk Manager for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) successfully organizing 4 walks, which included Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona and Morgantown, WV. Prior to CCFA she had been the Individual Support Manager for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and worked for WQED-TV/Radio in the On-air fundraising department. Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Communications from Point Park College.
Lori was an 8th year Girl Scout Leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop and njoys being outdoors and spending time with her family. She has 2 children, 3 adult step-children and a step-granddaughter. She resides in the Elizabeth Township area.
She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-281-7244 x 1272.
Meet Annette Shearman
Easterseals was my first job after completing my degree for speech and language pathology. Since beginning over 30 years ago, I have grown as a therapist and administrator. Taking over as the division manager in 2009 and continuing my role as speech therapist has been both challenging and rewarding. The staff at the Johnstown Office has been very supportive to the many changes that have occurred over the years. My role as a speech therapist is my favorite since working with kids has been and continues to be so rewarding. I get to see the children learn to communicate better with their family and others at school or in the community. Our outpatient speech therapy incorporates parent involvement which has allowed me to establish many great relationships with my families making my job more rewarding with their help in reaching therapy goals. I plan to continue working to help Easterseals meet its mission.
Find our more about our Speech and Hearing Services by going HERE. If you are having concerns about speech and language give us call at 814-535-5508. We will be more than happy to help with any concerns you may have.
Meet Miss Norma
My name is Norma, and I have been working for Easterseals for 15 years. I first started at Easterseals when my two adopted children, who have special needs were attending and I would drive them every day.
I enjoy working in the Zebra room at the Child Development Center in Easterseals' State College Division as a personal care aide! I love being able to watch all of the children and help them learn and grow. Outside of Easterseals, I like spending time with my children and grandchildren. My husband and I also love camping, especially at the Great Grange Fair!
Meet Emily Newby
Hi, my name is Emily Newby and I am the lead teacher of the Lion Cub Room at the Child Development Center in Easterseals' State College Division. I have been working at Easterseals since January 2013, when I started as an intern in the Lion Cub room.
I graduated from Penn State in May 2013, with a B.S. in Kinesiology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Since then, I have spent time in both the Elephant Room and the Zebra Room, before returning to the Lion Cubs on November 2016. I became the lead teacher in January 2018 and absolutely love it. This is my favorite age to work with and love seeing the kids grow throughout the year.
When I am not at work, I love being outside and going on adventures, anywhere I can go. My hobbies also include reading, archery, coloring, doing puzzles and spending time with my family and 2 cats.