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Staff

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Randy Leite, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Randy Leite, Ph.D. serves as executive director of the Appalachian Children’s Coalition. Leite developed a commitment to the Appalachian region during his 12-year tenure as dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. His work as executive director extends his commitment to bringing benefit to children in need and in supporting those who work to meet the needs of children facing a range of behavioral health challenges. 

 

Leite has had a long interest in child and family well-being. He holds a doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University and has conducted research and taught on father involvement with children, family dynamics, and child & family policy. His interest in this area is also reflected in his having been appointed by Ohio’s three most recent governors to serve as a commissioner on the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood where he works to promote meaningful father involvement with children. He has been involved in numerous community organizations and initiatives including contributing to the development of Live Healthy Appalachia, promoting the establishment of AthensHOPE and the Age-Friendly Athens initiatives, and serving on the boards of numerous organizations including Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Rural Action, Live Healthy Appalachia, and the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association.

 

Leite and his wife Theresa, a certified nurse midwife, split their time between Hilliard and Athens. They have three children and two grandchildren.

rleite@appchildren.org

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Elizabeth Jones

Senior Director of Operations and Advancement

Elizabeth Jones is the Senior Director of Operations and Advancement. She provides leadership for fundraising, communications and marketing, and all aspects of ACC organizational operations including human resources, financial systems, accounting, and IT functions. 

 

Originally from Athens, Ohio, she returned to the region after spending 15 years working in Northeast Ohio and Northern Nevada. She has held leadership roles in both the for-profit and non-profit communities. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration, and an MBA, Elizabeth is proud to be a child of Appalachia Ohio and is dedicated to enhancing the lives of the region's youth.

ejones@appchildren.org

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Erin Space

Senior Director of Programs

Erin Space serves as Senior Director of Programs. She oversees the work of the program area directors and directly guides ACC's coaching program. A recent transplant to Athens county, she is passionate about improving the well-being of Appalachian communities. Erin is a former teacher and administrator with over 25 years’ experience in primary, secondary, and post-secondary education, and has presented workshops and trained educators and corporate workers both regionally and nationally.

 

An avid scholar, Erin has created classes and programs based on the principles of positive psychology. She trained at the Institute for Positive Education in Australia, holds a BA in Spanish and an MA in Latin American Literature and Culture from the Ohio State University, and received her teaching certificate from Otterbein University.

 

Most recently, Erin received her professional coaching certification in order to help individuals flourish. She currently volunteers as a Dress for Success Women2Women mentor and is excited to build a coaching program designed to support Appalachian adults transitioning into the field of mental and behavioral health. 

espace@appchildren.org

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Daniel Kloepfer

Director of Assessment and Evaluation

Daniel Kloepfer serves as the Director of Assessment and Evaluation. Daniel was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and has spent over 10 years living in Athens County. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Oregon State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Ohio University. He has over eight years of experience in program evaluation, project management, and data management and analysis. Daniel gained most of his professional experience at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service and has managed, coordinated, and assisted on a variety of projects, with a specific focus on health and education within Appalachian Ohio. He has served on the Board of the Ohio Program Evaluators Group and is a member of the American Evaluation Association. Previously, he served as the Program Coordinator of a small non-profit focused on environmental restoration and education in the greater Cincinnati region.

 

Currently, Daniel resides in Cincinnati with his wife and two young children. He spends his free time camping, hiking, training for triathlons, and going to sporting events with his family. He is very excited to be a part of the Appalachian Children Coalition.

kloepfer@ohio.edu

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Peggy Garcia

Director of Prevention Programs

Peggy was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Southern California. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

 

Peggy has dedicated her life to serving the underserved. She spent ten years working with victims of crime and at rape crisis centers across three states. She settled in Athens, OH in 2012 and has loved living in Rural Appalachia. Peggy most recently worked as the Director of Athens County Family and Children First Council helping provide service coordination for multi-system youth in the county. Through her work with FCFC, Peggy was able to see firsthand how the workforce crisis impacts children and families in rural Appalachia. 

 

Peggy enjoys spending her down time with her husband and two children taking advantage of community events and exploring all the wonderful hiking trails in the area.

pgarcia@appchildren.org

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Anna Reed

Director of Workforce Development

Anna Reed serves as the Director of Workforce Development. Born in the Youngstown area, she attended Youngstown State University for both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, with the latter being in Student Affairs and College Counseling.

 

She began her career working in higher education as the Assistant Director of Wellness at Bradley University in Illinois, where she implemented a holistic wellness model as well as wellness initiatives, programs, and assessments for the campus. She then moved back to Ohio as Admissions Counselor for the Job Corps program, a Department of Labor program.

 

As the Director of Workforce Development, Anna leads engagement strategies with high school students and young adults. Her main role is to build awareness of behavioral health career opportunities among high school and young adult populations including directing high school and young adult internship placements. 

 

She currently lives in Tallmadge, Ohio with her husband and twins.

areed@appchildren.org

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Sara White

Director of Outreach and Engagement

Sara is the Director of Outreach and Engagement. Originally from Belmont County, Ohio, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a Master’s in Law, Justice, and Culture, both from Ohio University. With over ten years of experience working in higher education, she has extensive experience in academic advising, creative consensus building, and strategic planning.

 

Most recently, she served as the Assistant Dean for Student Success at the College of Health Sciences & Professions at Ohio University, where she oversaw the entirety of the student services operation, taught first-year seminar courses, and worked with students throughout the college life cycle from high school recruitment, orientation, and graduation.

 

Sara leads our work by developing meaningful networks and engagement strategies among child-serving organizations and manage relationships with partner and workforce development affiliate organizations including development of a learning community model of engagement.  

swhite@appchildren.org

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