Vice President of Career Services, Goodwill Industries of KansasView Bio
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!
“Embrace the fact that we all fall down. We all fail at one time or another. We must embrace this because failure is a necessary part of the recipe for success. Knowing that we all fall down helps us realize that it's not the falling down that matters, it's getting back up and moving forward that makes us succeed.”
Christopher is the vice president of Career Services at Goodwill Industries of Kansas. His role includes the leadership of NexStep Alliance and the Learn IT Digital Skills Classroom, an initiative of Goodwill and Google, Inc. Chris is responsible for strategic planning, state and national grants, state and national advocacy, policy and community involvement. He is passionate about the ways he and his staff are able to help students change their lives each and every day.
Chris has been in the nonprofit/workforce industry for nearly 10 years. Prior to joining Goodwill, he gained valuable experience at the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas as a liaison to Adult Education, IT and a variety of special projects.
Chris serves as the Membership Committee chair for the Nonprofit Chamber of Service and is an active member of the Kanas On-Stop Advisory Council, Wichita Independent Business Association, Business Education Alliance and the City Council of Towanda, Kansas. In the past, he served as the president of the Kansas Adult Education Association and as a national transition coach trainer for World Education. He has been honored twice with the Wichita Business Journal Innovations Award, most recently in 2019.
“I am not concerned that you have fallen— I am concerned that you arise.” - Abraham Lincoln
“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 assistant 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
"Don't be afraid to ask questions so you can make the most of all the opportunities that are available here."
As a program manager at NexStep Alliance, Sharrilyn is responsible for academic calendars, enrollment procedures, program support and testing administration. Within her role, she enjoys the opportunity to meet, know and help students.
"Dreams have no expiration date."
"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 Language Acquisition (ELA) coordinator, Michelle oversees the NexStep Alliance English as a Second Language (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."
"As with most things in life, the harder the struggle, the sweeter the reward. When the struggle becomes 'real', think about how awesome these struggles will make your eventual 'success story'! Set your eyes on the prize and don't stop until you've attained it. We at NexStep will be here to help you with every step of your educational journey!"
Jeffery has more than 22 years of education and training experience that serves him well in his GED instructor role at NexStep Alliance. His major responsibilities include teaching all levels of Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, as well as ACT WorkKeys prep classes. Jeffery is passionate about serving people, and the favorite aspect of his job is witnessing a student transition from fear and self-doubt to self-confidence and motivation.
Prior to joining NexStep Alliance, Jeffery served 20 honorable years in the United States Air Force, fifteen of those years within Education and Training Management. After retirement, he taught life skills to troubled teens through a local organization. He later worked as a paraprofessional helping high-school student with disabilities.
Jeffery volunteers with his church and enjoys spending time with his family (which includes playing board games, producing art, and watching movies). He can often be found designing and creating cool “stuff” like a go-cart and customized guitar.
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude." - Zig Ziglar
"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
"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 seven years of experience in the adult education field, Lauren serves as student success coordinator at NexStep Alliance. Her role focuses on assisting students who are transitioning to post-secondary education and the workforce, connecting them with needed resources. Lauren also manages the program that allows GED students to participate in free WSU Tech college classes, which is made possible through the Accelerating Opportunity Kansas (A-OK) initiative. She particularly enjoys watching NexStep Alliance students learn and grow as individuals.
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde
"We are who we serve."
Justin is the Learn IT coordinator for the Learn IT Digital Skills Classroom, an initiative of Goodwill Industries International and Google, Inc. His role includes scheduling, traveling and teaching no cost workshops across the state of Kansas. Additionally, Justin teaches a recurring workshop for NexStep Alliance, “Digital Skills for Success.” He enjoys watching the growth of students over the course of a session and the excitement they share when they accomplish their goals. Prior to joining Goodwill and NexStep Alliance, Justin gained valuable non-profit experience working in broadcast television and advertising.
Justin serves on the Board of Directors for NPGO a non-profit mentoring organization. He has previously volunteered in positions of leadership with the Arc of Sedgwick County and the KPTS Channel 8 Community Advisory Board. He is a member of the Kansas Explorers Club and is an avid photographer. He spends free time reading, working in the kitchen, gardening and absorbing culture through the arts.
"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good." - Stephen Colbert
"Take advantage of the opportunities we offer through our partnerships."
Eva draws on former experience as a small business owner and an Accounting education in her role as the office manager for NexStep Alliance. She especially appreciates the organization’s values.
Outside of work, Eva is a foster parent and the monthly sponsor for a family living in poverty. She is also a Catechism class instructor and is active in parish activities.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
"Work nourishes noble minds."
As a data support specialist at NexStep Alliance, Katelyn is the first face students see. Within her role, she is responsible for data entry, enrolling students and proctoring exams. 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.
She is currently fostering a litter of puppies through the Kansas Humane Society.
"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." - Will Rogers
"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