Seeking an education as an adult can be difficult. At NexStep Alliance, our leadership, faculty and support staff are on your team. Whether you are working toward a high school diploma, earning college credit/certification, improving your English or seeking a better career, we are here to help!
“Leadership is an activity, not a position. It does not matter who you are or where you are in life; any student can step up and lead, any time.”
Yamir is the director at NexStep Alliance, which involves overseeing instructional staff and supporting students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED programs. He serves as the voice of the organization during events, conferences, and both public and membership meetings.
Prior to joining NexStep Alliance, Yamir gained more than 12 years of experience in the education field, from early childhood to adult education. He now feels fortunate to work with others who have dedicated their lives to helping students and believes that seeing each student grow into the person they have worked hard to become is breathtaking.
Yamir is actively involved in the community. He is a member of the Nonprofit Chamber of Service, participates in charity races, volunteers in neighborhood cleanups, cooks/delivers meals to hospital patients, tutors children after school, organizes/volunteers at summer camps for children and sponsors a child living in a foreign country. Yamir is married to Nicole, and they have a son, Valen. In his spare time, he enjoys grilling, reading self-development books, playing soccer and playing video games with his wife.
“Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.” - Immanuel Kant
"If I could give a NexStep Alliance student any advice, it would be to celebrate every success -- no matter how big or small."
Drawing on more than nine years of experience in the adult education field, Lauren serves as Director of Mission Initiatives. Her role focuses on the management of all aspects of mission initiatives set forth by Goodwill Industries of Kansas, including NexStep Unlocked, NexStep Alliance Student Success team, Learn IT Digital Skills training, rural mission integration, grant management and more. Within this capacity, she enjoys assisting students and program participants reach their full potential by connecting them with needed resources.
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde
"Be determined because learning English is a slow process that needs a lot of patience, time and effort. At this moment, you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, keep your course, and you'll see it. You'll reach your final goal."
In her role as the English as a Second Language (ESL) manager, Michelle oversees the NexStep Alliance ESL program. She developed the Integrated English Literacy and Civic Education (IELCE) curriculum and lesson plans for the program. Michelle trains and supports the ESL teachers and also teaches intermediate and advanced ESL classes. She is passionate about the ESL program and all it accomplishes.
Michelle has been married for 20 years and considers her husband, her best friend. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies and learning more about history.
"Where there is a will, there is a way."
"Persistence, motivation and dedication are keys to success. Keep at it, and don't be afraid to ask for help."
As an adult education instructor at NexStep Alliance, Elizabeth teaches students and provides support to adjunct staff and students outside the classroom. Prior to joining NexStep Alliance, she was educated in Math, Psychology and Music, then taught Math at a local community college. Elizabeth believes education is the path that leads to self-improvement, and she enjoys having the opportunity to help students change their lives.
Elizabeth is a volunteer photographer for the Wichita Region Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). She is married and enjoys riding motorcycles, crafting and playing Minecraft.
"One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do." - Henry Ford
“The pursuit of knowledge is never finished. We are always learning, growing and experiencing new things. Maintain your curiosity, and don't stop asking questions— these are keys to progress.”
Anne is an adult education instructor at NexStep Alliance, where she teaches English as a Second Language (ESL), Language Arts and Social Studies. She has previously taught ESL in Colombia and Taiwan and also worked in healthcare, fitness and wellness, tourism and customer service. Anne believes there is nothing more gratifying than seeing the light switch on in a student’s mind as they develop an understanding of a subject.
Anne is passionate about fostering and supporting small local businesses, is a supporter of the local dance community, and both practices and teaches yoga. She also enjoys reading, walking outdoors and traveling.
“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” - Rumi
"A little persistence and effort can turn failure into success."
Gage is an adult education instructor at NexStep Alliance, where he teaches Language Arts and Math. Prior to joining NexStep Alliance full-time, worked for a public school system as a Secondary Education instructor.
A creative and education-savvy professional, Gage heads up the NexStep Alliance virtual classroom program in addition to his other responsibilities.
"Action is the foundational key to all success." - Pablo Picasso
"Be patient but persistent. Almost nothing worthwhile happens quickly."
Dan serves as campus coordinator for both Webb and Empower locations and is an instructor at NexStep, teaching English as a Second Language and Language Arts. Before joining NexStep, he taught ESL full-time at Kansas State University for 9 years and also taught ESL at the University of Texas El Paso and El Paso Community College before coming to Kansas.
He enjoys traveling the world, even though he has not had the opportunity to do so within the last few years. He lived in Brazil for two years, where he first learned of his passion for both teaching and learning languages. He also spent a summer in Egypt where he had the opportunity to study Arabic and learn about the Egyptian culture.
He is married and has two amazing children. He enjoys spending time with family and friends and especially enjoys doing so over a delicious meal. Dan delights in trying and learning about new food.
"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving”- Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Take learning one step at a time. Strive for progress, not perfection."
Jessica is an adult education instructor who teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) and Civics. She has over 10 years of experience in the field of education and has worked with students of various ages, cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Jessica strives to make a connection with every student and encourage them toward their goals. During her time at NexStep, she has shown excellent classroom management skills and developed a rapport with students and other teachers.
An avid travel enthusiast, Jessica has visited eight countries and several states, with plans for more adventures in the future. When not trekking the globe or hiking in the mountains, she enjoys spending time with family, reading books, and watching movie at home with her two spoiled cats.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis
"The most valuable thing education offers us is the chance to gain a new perspective."
Casey is an adult education instructor at NexStep Alliance. Before joining NexStep, he taught secondary English, Social Studies, and technology in both private and public school settings. His goal for his students is to inspire them to think critically. He aims to meet students where they’re at and encourages them to widen their perspectives by making connections across academic subjects.
An experienced, resourceful educator, Casey bears a love for all things scholastic. In his free time, he enjoys studying music, playing chess, and reading fiction books. He enjoys watching students make progress and experience even the smallest success.
“Wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience.” -David Bentley Hart
"Success is always sweeter when part of a team. We are here to be on yours!"
With experience in crisis response and case management, Vickie understands the barriers some can face when wanting to further their education and career. Paired with a passion for education and creative problem solving, Vickie leads the Student Success team in connecting students to resources and guidance to reach levels of proficiency necessary to obtain and maintain sustained employment and higher education opportunities. When she’s not assisting NexStep students, she enjoys spending time with her family and being out in nature.
"Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world." -Oprah Winfrey
"Don’t ever stop pursuing your goals and dreams, because one day there will be a small glimpse of sunlight through the clouds that turns into a beautiful sunny day!"
Prior to continuing her education at Purdue University, Dariel wanted to find her passion. She then decided to join the Navy early in her career. Following the Navy, she was fortunate enough to be able to use her GI Bill to return back to school after realizing her passion – to help others find their own passion in life.
All of her previous jobs have involved teaching or instructing different populations and communities. This includes student teaching, training Service Dogs for Veterans, to working as a Registered Behavior Technician for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She loves to watch students learn and grow along with seeing the “Ah ha!” moment when they retain information. On her time off she likes to spend time with her husband and dog traveling to different places, finding new eateries, and spending time with family.
“I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO.” – Tom Hardy
"Never be afraid to ask questions."
Fahryn is excited to be part of the NexStep team and to be able to help others achieve their goals, along with connecting them to the resources they need. With experience in security and customer service, Fahryn understands the importance of assisting others. Being able to help others achieve their goals gives her an overall sense of pride. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her son, husband, and their four dogs.
“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” - Roy T. Bennett
“Every one of your efforts and attitudes is significant and contributes to the grander picture of who you and who others are becoming. YOU are influential."
Angela is thrilled to serve Goodwill’s retail employees. She considers it an honor to invest in important and hard-working individuals. This is new territory within the Goodwill mission services, but she foresees that there will be many conversations with employees surrounding furthering their education, and personal or professional development. Angela’s hope is that our employees who are served will truly feel that they are appreciated, valued and cared for along with their futures.
Outside of work, Angela and her husband enjoy doing mundane tasks together and laughing with one another. Additionally, she loves to spend time with family, travel, bake, and be with their perfect golden retriever, Rosie.
“Thick skin, soft heart, can’t lose.” – Doug Wekenman
"When you don't see something clearly, change your perspective!"
Armand began his career in corrections and law enforcement. He then served on the re-entry team within the prison system, as a mental health responder within hospitals across Kansas and had the honor to minimize safety concerns while working with the child welfare system. He is eager to assist and serve others. At NexStep Armand’s focus is to help students gain employment opportunities that will pave the way for advancement and growth. In his free time he enjoys studying music and spending time with family.
"Never be afraid of a no because all you need is ONE yes" - Chi-Chi Emeana
"Everyone needs a job, and education is the key."
Judy joined NexStep Alliance in 2020 as the Unlocked Coordinator. Her background includes extensive experience as a licensed addictions counselor. During her career, Judy has provided individual counseling for outpatient treatment of alcohol and substance abuse. She also facilitated one-on-one and group counseling at a state correctional facility and helped develop intervention and treatment plans to achieve patient recovery.
Within the Unlocked program, Judy mentors and facilitates life skills classes by leaning into community resources and connections she’s made during her tenure as a case manager.
Judy is a licensed addictions counselor and is available to our NexStep Alliance students should the need arise.
"Progress will come as more people stop looking at the least fortunate as problems to be managed or controlled and start seeing them as individuals who have contributions to make." - Charles Koch
"Work nourishes noble minds."
As Interim Operations Manager for NexStep Alliance, Katelyn is often the first face students see. Within her role, she is responsible for quality data management and operational support for all NexStep Alliance locations including enrollment. She oversees program data collection, validation and accurate reporting to the Kansas Board of Regents. She is also assists with budgeting, funding and implementation. Katelyn loves the mission of the organization and the impact it has on many lives.
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new." - Albert Einstein
"Being on the frontline of the student experience, gives me such a perspective on the growth that these students go through. It's so rewarding."
Lauren joined NexStep Alliance as a program support specialist in 2020 after working many years in retail. During her previous employment, Lauren worked diligently to meet company goals and provide the kind of service that exceeds the customer’s expectations. She also developed a keen understanding of operational processes and has organized and helped develop team members to ensure that customer needs were always met.
In her current role as Attendance & Assessment Coordinator, Lauren is responsible for the implementation of TABE testing for all GED and ESL students as well as serving as Test Center Admin for Pearson Vue. She is also marketing liaison to Goodwill ensuring that all signage, messaging and enrollment information is conveyed in alignment with brand standards.
"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." - Will Rogers
"In whatever season of life one is in, there are always options, and there is hope."
As the Program Support Specialist, Angi greets students and provides program information. She assists with our record keeping, data entry, and student testing. Angi is excited to support the vision and goals of NexStep Alliance and considers it a privilege to provide support.
“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” - Maya Angelou
"Be persistent and do the best you can. Measure success on your scale and not someone else’s."
As a Program Specialist, Susan greets students and provides service and support to the education staff. She also assists with record keeping, data entry, and student testing. Susan is excited to contribute to effectively meeting the program goals and supporting the overall mission.
Prior to working with NexStep Alliance, she worked behind the scenes at various television stations before moving into the field of retail at Goodwill Industries of Kansas. During this time, Susan learned about the organization and how to make customer service a priority.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, music, photography, visiting museums, arts & crafts, practicing T’ai Chi, and walking in parks around town.
“No experience is wasted. Everything in life is happening to grow you up, to fill you up, to help you become more of who you were created to be.” - Oprah Winfrey
"Seek opportunities that can open doors for you. For me, that was my time in the military. I would recommend it to any young adult."
Kelly’s number one role is to provide a safe, stress-free working and learning atmosphere for all staff and students to work in. His 20 years of service in the military have helped him in his position of Corporate Security Officer at NexStep Alliance to lead surveillance, oversee safety and conduct company-wide investigations when necessary. He loves coming to work every day to be surrounded with what he considers the best group of people he’s ever worked with.
Outside of work, Kelly is a goldsmith, creating and repairing fine jewelry. He and his wife Kimberly have two sons and two twin grandsons. They are supporters of the Kansas Humane Society and also have three fur babies.
"Never was so much owed to so many by so few." - Winston Churchill