President & State Director
Ryan serves as the President and State Director of Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania and works in partnership with state and local elected officials, as well as community and business leaders to support and sustain services aimed at improving education across Pennsylvania. Prior to his current role, he was the Vice President for Development and Marketing at Easter Seals Serving Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia as well as the Associate Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Ryan has presented in a variety of forums on higher education, student leadership, fundraising, and government advocacy including The Pennsylvania Congressional Economic Summit, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, the Annual Philadelphia Higher Education Network of Neighborhood Development (PHENND) Conference, Pennsylvania Campus Compact, The Pennsylvania Association of Hospital Auxiliaries. He is a past-President and Board Member of the Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP), Trustee/Founder of The Hill Society. Ryan received his bachelor’s degree from Widener University and completed a cohort policy fellowship with the Education Policy Fellowship Center in Harrisburg, PA.
Jenna joined CISPA during the summer of 2017 where she serves as the Vice President. Previously, Jenna was a former Dauphin County Deputy District Attorney. She is the proud mom of a beautiful 3-year-old girl and in her free time enjoys interior decorating.
Chief Administrative Officer, Special Project Managment
Kathleen Dormer began working as an administrator with Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania in November 2015. Most of her career was spent as a college teacher and a variety of her student body included at-risk youth who had realized their potential to enter the college arena. In addition to her 20+ year teaching career which has included a multitude of administrative responsibilities as well, she has enjoyed mentoring and volunteering her time to student/youth-based organizations. Kathleen believes the way to create positive change in the world is by empowering the lives of children and that is exactly what CISPA does here in Pennsylvania! Kathleen has always been a proponent of the less-privileged. Currently, she is also a commissioner for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. While Kathleen has earned her law degree, she finds the best way for her to give back to the community is to serve the folks who need help having their voice heard.
Beckie Basehore has been the Accounting Coordinator at CISPA since February 2016. She is originally from Fairfield, CT, but has lived in Central PA since 1998, and currently resides in Susquehanna Township with her husband, two orange tabbies, and a harrier. Becky states that even though she doesn’t directly interact with the students, she hopes her contribution to CISPA helps those who are out in the field doing the work. Interestingly, Beckie was a high school dropout herself and needed to be convinced to return to school and graduate; which she did a year later. Beckie feels it is important to the future of the students, and this country. Beckie is a gaming geek and enjoys playing all varieties of games, including online rpgs and wildly addictive games like Angry Birds or Candy Crush.
Senior Director of Programs and Embedded Affiliates
Shelly Grim, LSW
Shelly Grim, LSW is Director of Programs and Field Operations for Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania since March of 2016. Shelly is from Allentown, PA and attended Cedar Crest College; earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She began her career with KidsPeace National Centers and worked throughout many of their programs including the Psychiatric Hospital and Residential Admissions. Shelly went back to school through Marywood University and acquired a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Administration and later her Social Work License. Shelly took the opportunity to join Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley in September of 2005. Shelly states that one of the reasons she loves working for Communities In Schools is due to the 1:1 relationships staff are able to form with students. It’s that 1:1 relationship that is the cornerstone to a student succeeding. Shelly’s hobbies include her interest in classic cars and taking part in classic car shows.
External Relations Coordinator
Meg Connolly is the External Relations Coordinator at Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania. Meg recently graduated with a Bachelor’s of Humanities in Communications from Penn State. With a strong passion for helping others, an enthusiastic work ethic, and a keen awareness of the importance of relationships, Meg was an active leader within her college community. She held multiple leadership positions such as the President and Co-founder of the Penn State Harrisburg Public Relations Club, the Public Relations Executive Member for the National Society of Leadership and Success, working as an on-campus lifeguard, and a swim instructor for local youth. Meg has won two awards in her college career including the Invisible Leader Award and the Dekle Family Award for Excellence in the Humanities. In her free time, Meg enjoys traveling, going to concerts, and spending time with family and friends.
Social Media & Communications Associate
Justine started at CISPA in June of 2017 as a Social Media & Communications Intern. She is a junior at Penn State University where she is majoring in marketing. Justine is passionate about branding and promoting the excellence of businesses, and looks forward to increasing awareness of CISPA’s important mission over the next few months. Justine’s interest in youth stems from her family— she has two nieces and a nephew whom she loves spending time with. She believes that every child deserves an excellent future, and providing them with the tools to stay in school is the first step to ensuring that. Previously, Justine worked as a public relations intern at La Torre Communications. In her free time, Justine co-manages a small florist business in Harrisburg, WildFlower Boutique Bouquets, and plays the cello. She enjoys being around her family and friends as often as possible.
Social Media and Communications Intern
Estefany Silfa joined CISPA in September of 2017 as a senior at Penn State Harrisburg where she is studying Communications. Born in the Dominican Republic, Estefany moved to the United States at the age of 14 and has since completed her associate’s degree in Business Management at Luzerne County Community College. She is the oldest of her siblings and seeks to motivate and empower them by leading by a positive example. Estefany enjoys helping others and admires individuals with strong self-motivation. She is also extremely passionate about music and believes music has the power to make us all happier.
Social Media and Communications Intern
Alexis Foley joined CISPA in October of 2017. She is currently in her senior year as a communications student at Pennsylvania State University. Alexis credits her love of non-profit work to her family pets. Through volunteer work with PAWS and The Nobody’s Cats Foundation, Alexis developed a passion for non-profit work and the difference they make in everyday lives. She had previously interned with United Cerebral Palsy Central PA and SuperHeroStuff.com. When not in school or at work, Alexis enjoys reading history and science fiction, scouting out coffee shops, and spending time with her one-year-old cousin.
Master’s of Social Work Intern
Kelly Piechowicz joined CISPA in May of 2017 as a Master’s of Social Work Intern and will be moving to a clinical school-based internship in August 2017. She graduated with her Bachelors in Social Work from Messiah College in May 2014. She began working as a clinical 1:1 support for behaviorally challenged students for several years before beginning her Master’s in Social Work in May 2016 at Kutztown University. Kelly is passionate about serving underserved students and families and helping them to reach their full potential. She has interned with Capital Area Head Start, was a long-term volunteer at Bethesda Mission Youth Center, and has also interned with the Berks County Child Advocacy Program with the Berks County Guardian Ad Litem attorneys. Along with this internship, Kelly also works as an adoption and permanency specialist in a foster-to-adopt program and is an active member of the Harrisburg Midtown community. She aspires to continue to work in schools after she graduates in May 2017, and hopes that during her time with Communities in Schools that she will be able to further its mission of helping every student stay in school and achieve in life. In between interning, employment, and schoolwork, Kelly enjoys hiking, canoeing, traveling, being a foodie, as well as being an active member of the Harrisburg Astronomical Society.