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Kauffman Education Fellowship
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Class of 2019 Fellows

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Cynthia Ammerman

Executive Director, Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra

Class of 2019

Rev. Rick Behrens

Pastor, Grandview Park Presbyterian

Class of 2019

Carol Cartmill

Senior Director of Mission and Outreach, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Class of 2019

Tom Clark

Postsecondary Retention Specialist, Kauffman Scholars

Class of 2019


Cedrick Deadmon

Outreach and Advising Project Manager, Mid America Regional Council

Class of 2019

Kelli Doyle

Philanthropic Advisor, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

Class of 2019

Darron Edwards

Lead Pastor, United Believers Community Church

Class of 2019

Rebecca Haessig

Creator, Author, Consultant

Class of 2019


Shannon Hancock

Director, The iMatter Experience

Class of 2019

Danise Hartsfield-Thompson

Interim Executive Director, Communities Creating Opportunities (CCO)

Class of 2019

Robert Hill

Community Consultant, Kauffman Foundation

Class of 2019

Lorene James

Owner, CANDO Consulting, LLC

Class of 2019


Angel McGee

Manager, Community Partnerships and Events, Kansas City Royals

Class of 2019

Reverend, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Class of 2019

Suzanne Motter

Minister to Children, Youth, and Families, Community Christian Church

Class of 2019

Luke Norris

Board Chair, Citizens of the World Kansas City

Class of 2019


Debra Foster Payne

Principal, On One Accord, LLC

Class of 2019

Kathleen Powell Moreno

Communications and Finance Associate, All Nations Family

Class of 2019

Rita Reed

Community Associate, Calvary Community Outreach Network

Class of 2019

Troy Snyder

Pastor of Community Foundation and Development, College Church of the Nazarene

Class of 2019


Robert White

Co-Executive Director, Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra

Class of 2019

Marjorie Williams

Faith and Education Initiative Program Manager, Concord Fortress of Hope Church

Class of 2019

Bernie Winston

Educational Consultant

Class of 2019


Cynthia Ammerman

Executive Director, Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Cynthia Ammerman is Executive Director of the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra & Principal of Polis: Cultural Planning. Throughout her career, she has developed a unique skillset related to the built environment, the arts, and humanities including placemaking, cultural policy, advocacy, and historic preservation.

She has served and partnered with various institutions including Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocate, Jackson County Victim Services, American Cultural Resources Association, International Jazz Day, Crossroads Academy Charter Schools, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, Independence School District, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Kansas City Museum, Missouri Preservation Alliance, KC Modern, and is a Board Member for Friends of Sacred Structures.

Ms. Ammerman has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & History and a Master of Arts in Aesthetics, History & Urban Planning. She is a Kauffman FastTrac Entrepruenership graduate and a second-year Education Fellow. Ms. Ammerman is currently pursuing Post-Graduate studies with Universidad de Chile, Santiago in the Department of Humanities & Philosophy. 

On Saturday mornings you can usually find Cynthia doing historical research and writing.


Rick Behrens

Pastor, Grandview Park Presbyterian

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

The Rev. Rick Behrens is an ‘original Dotte’ who has served Grandview Park Presbyterian Church (neither in Grandview nor in a park) for nearly 2 score years. Grandview Park is a bilingual, multi-cultural church which has been located in the Central Avenue area of Kansas City, Kansas for 130 years.

He is a founding member of the board of Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation (AIRR). Rick and the church are leaders in the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2).

Rick spends his quality time with his spouse, Dr. DeeAnn Richards Behrens, DDS, and his two adult sons, Samuel and Lucas. Rick enjoys cycling, disc golf, canoeing and football (the kind that is actually played with the feet!).


Carol Cartmill

Senior Director of Mission and Outreach, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Carol Cartmill is senior director of Mission and Outreach for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. In this role, she provides leadership to mission programs that maximize the congregation’s involvement in life-changing ministry beyond the walls of the church, locally and across the globe. She cultivates relationships and partnerships that foster systemic change and community development within the contexts and communities served by Resurrection’s members.

Through her work, Carol applies her passion for equipping people for ministry, practical experience from working in a multi-campus church setting, and an educational background in organizational management and leadership. She has led national and global training events and authored publications on topics relating to leadership, mission and mobilizing volunteers.

Carol is married to Jim and is mom to two adult daughters. On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Carol outside walking, golfing or gardening, or indoors looking for inspiration on the Food Network.


Tom Clark

Postsecondary Retention Specialist, Kauffman Scholars

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Tom Clark is a steadfast proponent of maximizing opportunities.  Over the last decade at Kauffman Scholars, Tom has advocated for Kansas City students as they navigate through middle school, high school, college completion, and beyond.  Tom promotes confidence in youth so they take ownership of the educated, risk takers within themselves.  His passion for youth empowerment extends beyond the 9 to 5 and includes coaching his kids’ teams in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) league and YMCA youth leagues. 

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Tom working with his kids at their orchard project in East Marlborough or in the garden wondering why the tomatoes never turn out like the catalog pictures.


Cedric Deadmon

Outreach and Advising Project Manager, Mid America Regional Council

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Cedric Deadmon is poject manager for KC Degrees, a Workforce Development initiative at Mid America Regional Council and does consulting in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space for The Graduate! Network with over 40 clients across the nation. His research and work focus mostly on education equity. Cedric seeks to expose historical asymmetries of power and resources in systems and institutions.

Cedric engages organizations to address systemic racism and institutional barriers that affect mobility. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Lane College, serves on the Board of Directors for The Graduate! Network, serves on the statewide planning committee for The Missouri Equity Project and is a nationally certified college and career advisor through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). This is his second year as a Kauffman Education Fellow.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Cedric sitting on his deck having coffee and reading.


Kelli Doyle

Philanthropic Advisor, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Kelli Doyle is a Philanthropic Advisor at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation working with donors to support their charitable giving in Kansas City and beyond. Prior to joining GKCCF, she spent eight years in non-profit fundraising. She has extensive experience working with local healthcare, education and social service agencies and was the lead author on Kansas City’s Culture of Health application funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Kelli holds a B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from Dartmouth College and an M.S.Ed from Baylor University. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Modern Family Alliance and the Berkley Child and Family Development Center. She’s an advocate for creating safe spaces in schools for LGBTQ parents and children.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Kelli watching soccer with her wife and children while preparing for a trip to the playground, hiking trail, lake, or playdate with friends.


Darron Edwards

Lead Pastor, United Believers Community Church

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Charisma is a rare quality that gives a person influence over a large number of people. 

Darron LaMonte Edwards, Lead Pastor of United Believers Community Church, is an emerging voice in practically every realm of Kansas City life. 

Darron is amplifying the need for faith communities to step up and help repair broken systems and broken people thereby making a noticeable and sustainable difference in the communities where they serve.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find him relaxing at home.


Rebecca Haessig

Director of School Quality, Missouri Public Charter Schools Association

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Rebecca Haessig is a parent, consultant, and author of the blog Set the Schools Free. By making facts, data and analysis accessible and meaningful, Set the Schools Free is helping change the conversation about public education within KCPS boundaries. She is also a founding board member of the literacy organization Lead to Read KC.

Previously, Rebecca co-founded Start at Zero, a parent education organization that supports parent and child development. She was Director of Education Initiatives at the Kauffman Foundation. She was also a Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting strategy and change initiatives for federal government clients.

Rebecca started her career at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington, DC. She has a BA from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

On Saturday mornings, you can find Rebecca hanging out with her husband and kids.


Shannon Hancock

Director, The iMatter Experience      

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

With a deep passion for the development of young people, Shannon Hancock has worked diligently over her career to prepare young people to navigate life’s challenges and define their own success. Her work in youth development has spanned many years, including time with community agencies and school districts. Shannon is the Founder of The iMatter Experience, an organization that provides a network of mentors who empower girls to succeed in self-discovery and positive life management.  

Shannon’s passion for the development of people extends into the faith community, having served as Lead Pastor for two churches in Kansas City, KS and Omaha, NE; Director of Youth and Children; Outreach Coordinator; Social Media and Website Manager and now as Minister of Discipleship at St. Matthew A.M.E. Zion Church in Kansas City, MO where her primary responsibility is creating and managing effective systems for individual and collective faith development.

Shannon currently serves as Director of Admissions and Communication at Saint Paul School of Theology where she obtained her Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 2010. 

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Shannon drinking coffee, reading, or courtside watching her nephew play basketball.


Bob Hill

Community Consultant, Kauffman Foundation

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Bob Hill is a nonfiction writer, poet, and community consultant for the Kauffman Foundation, focusing on community engagement with public education. Previously he served for 30+ years at Community Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri, before being named Minister Emeritus in 2015.

Before his time in Kansas City, he worked with ex-prisoners for 4 ½ years at Project Return, Inc. in Nashville. Much prior to that, after his first year in college, he was drafted as a Conscientious Objector and served two years at All Peoples Christian Church in Los Angeles, where he was eventually ordained.

Since 1993, he has been the co-host of the Sunday radio call-in show, “Religion on the Line.” His has published ten books, most recently All You Need Is (More) Love. On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Bob working in the yard with his wife Priscilla or riding his bike in the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods.


Lorene James

Owner, CANDO Consulting, LLC

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Lorene believes that all people have a God given purpose. She discovered hers at an early age as she served as her grandmother’s helper. She recalls immense joy when she was helping her grandmother. From those early experiences and continuing throughout her 74 years of life, she could always be found helping others.                         

She spent 41 years of service in education distinguished by commended performance and proven results; designing and implementing programs; recruiting and training teachers and support staff; establishing personnel policies and legal compliance and interacting in local, state and national program development activities.

After retirement, Lorene founded CANDO Consulting LLC to continue utilizing her skills to supporting individuals and organizations to develop public ventures that emphasizes family and community intervention services. Lorene is thrilled about the Year 2 Fellow Project where she can continue helping. You can usually find Lorene attending monthly meetings on Saturday mornings.


Angel McGee

Manager, Community Partnerships and Events, Kansas City Royals

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Angel McGee is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and has spent her entire career within the professional sports industry working with game entertainment, community relations and youth sports programs. She graduated from Truman State University in 2012, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in communications with emphasis in journalism and also minored in Spanish.

Angel joined the Kansas City Royals organization in 2013. She has also worked as a field coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs’ Game Entertainment department for the past seven seasons. She also serves in various volunteer capacities, including advisory committee chair for the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Angel enjoying a cup of coffee or perusing through the City Market.


Patrick McLaughlin

Reverend, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Pastor Patrick and his wife Megan have a 2-year old daughter Margot, who attends Della Lamb’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  He is a pastor at the Downtown Kansas City campus of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and has heart for people who are vulnerable no matter their socioeconomic status.

Patrick is a highly adaptable and strategic connector who feels alive when reforming or creating systems that educate and equip the whole community to thrive. He loves service learning with people around the world, but his deepest commitment is to close-proximity and parity with and between neighbors. For this reason, he and Megan chose to raise their family in the Global Village that is the Historic Northeast. On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Patrick playing disc golf on the neighborhood course, in the neighborhood garden, or out and about visiting neighbors with Megan and Margot.


Suzanne Motter

Minister to Children, Youth, and Families, Community Christian Church

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Reverend Suzanne Motter (she/her) has served as the minister for children, youth, and families at Community Christian Church since April 2017. Prior to serving in this position, Suzanne served at churches in Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Mayfield, Kentucky; and Fort Worth, Texas. Suzanne earned her degrees from Texas Christian University and Brite Divinity School at TCU in Fort Worth.

She met her husband Ryan, also a minister at Community, 10 years before they became friends. They reconnected through mutual friends in Kansas City. Suzanne and Ryan are parents to Lydia, Eliza, and a girl dog named Jeff Louise (JeffyLu).

Suzanne finds life, joy and renewal when she is able to get outside to hike, bike, float, swim, kayak, and boat. Other joys include the Royals, our National Parks, live music, and most recently a shampoo/skin care side hustle. On Saturday mornings you will find her playing or adventuring with her family.


Luke Norris

Board Chair, Citizens of the World Kansas City

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Luke is managing director of strategy and government relations for OpenCities, a Kansas City based global government technology firm.  Luke is a nationally recognized speaker on government technology, digital equity, and inclusive citizen engagement. Luke has been invited to speak at the United States Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, African American Mayors Association, and Harvard University. 

Prior to joining OpenCities, Luke was a founding team member of another govtech startup and the senior director of government relations at Code for America, a national nonprofit and thought leader on digital government. There, he helped lead the creation of the Principles of 21st Century Government with Google.org and Living Cities.

Luke lives in Kansas City and is active in the nonprofit community, including serving as the founding board chair of Citizens of the World Public Charter School in Midtown. 

Luke has been recognized as a distinguished citizen by the National Conference for Community and Justice, a rising star of philanthropy by Ingram’s Magazine, and one of the 200 most connected people in entrepreneurship by the Kauffman Foundation.

On Saturday mornings, you can find Luke sipping coffee on his back porch, snuggling with his six year-old daughter Hadley.


Debra Foster Payne

Principal, On One Accord, LLC

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Debra Foster Payne, is a dedicated educator whose philosophy in education is based on the quote, “There is a brilliant child locked inside every student” (Marva Collins).  She has worked at University Academy for thirteen years and continues to foster and create the importance of learning, integrity, compassion and leadership that builds strong character in every student, as they become contributors to their communities. 

She is a board member of Community Creating Opportunities (CCO), where she works for racial justice and social change, while campaigning for healthcare access and equity, racial equity and inclusion, economic dignity, and dignity for all!

She received her BA and MBA from Avila University and Ed.S from St. Louis University.  She is a committee member of Building Bonds, Healing Youth.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Debra in a meeting with one of the many organizations with which she volunteers, or meeting up with family to have breakfast and fellowship.


Rita D. Reed

Community Associate, Calvary Community Outreach Network       

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Rita knew from a young age that serving in her community was important. She noticed her parents volunteering in various programs or church activities. They did not tell her how to live…they showed her each and every day. They taught her to be aware of current events and instilled the desire to help or volunteer.

In her career, Rita worked for various corporations but found her love serving with not-for-profit and grassroots organizations. She credits this love developed from seeing community advocates working to improve situations in her neighborhood and saw first-hand how a small group of vested individuals can drive community change.

She currently works with Calvary Community Outreach Network as a community associate and works on various projects to eliminate health disparities, food deserts and early mortality in disproportionate and disadvantaged neighborhoods. On Saturday mornings you can usually find Rita working in various community neighborhood gardens or health fairs.


Troy Snyder

Pastor of Community Formation and Development, College Church of the Nazarene

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Troy Snyder is happily married with four lovely daughters. He has been serving full time at Olathe College Church since July of 1998, where he has moved from the position children’s pastor to the community life + development pastor. In addition to engaging the needs of people within the parish, Troy’s primary responsibility is to serve the community at-large. This includes forming partnerships with the city, local nonprofit organizations, community service organizations, and public schools. A new 501(c)(3) is being formed fall 2020 entitled the Mercy Foundation, where Troy will also be serving.

On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Troy reading – he is always up by 4:30 a.m.


Robert White

Co-Executive Director, Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

While a naval officer, Bob oversaw and taught the first program for both college classes and a high school diploma program for service personnel.

He taught Language Arts at Lee’s Summit from 1974 to 1993. In 1988 he developed and ran a program to offer credit recovery to students who were too far behind to graduate with their class.

Bob became an administrator in 1993 and served as an Assistant Principal for junior and high school. As an AP, he developed the district’s alternative school. Additionally, he helped develop Summit Technology Academy and became its founding director in 1999.

After retiring, he became Interim Director for the Herndon Career Center. Bob has served on the LSR7 School Board and was its President from 2016-18. Bob is now retired from board service and works as the co-executive director for the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra. On any Saturday you might find Bob working in the yard or traveling the world.


Marjorie Williams

Faith and Education Initiative Program Manager, Concord Fortress of Hope Church

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Dr. Marjorie (Marj) A. Williams has a multifaceted career in education, leadership development, media services and consulting. In 2000, Williams became the first African American superintendent in the 100-year-old history of the Hickman Mills School District, located in Kansas City, Missouri. She immediately took an active role in education, civic, and community issues and organizations in the Greater Kansas City, Missouri, area and throughout the country. She holds the longest tenure of a superintendent in an urban setting in the state of Missouri.

In 2005, Williams founded The Marste Group, LLC, a consulting firm serving school districts and businesses throughout the Country. The firm specializes in providing training and development, organizational management services, constructing, and implementing educational programming, strategic planning and mentoring, and evaluation services. Williams currently serves as an educational consultant and advocate, contributing her expertise, skills and time to numerous educational, civic, and community endeavors. On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Dr. Marj at the City Market buying her fresh fruits and vegetables and her weekly floral bouquet.


Bernie Winston

Educational Consultant

Class of 2019, Year 2 Fellow

Bernie is an innovative manager with over 15 years of experience in domestic and international concepts in education, diversity and inclusion Programs, software development, banking and project Management. Over the past 10 years, Bernie has pursued her passion for education by becoming an advocate in her community.  She developed comprehensive educational programs focusing on providing students with adequate services, resources, and learning opportunities.

Bernie is the founder of various programs including Achievement First of Kansas, Andover Elementary School Math Enrichment Research Program, and Shawnee Mission School District Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has successfully created methods of engagement and metrics for growth that will greatly enhance student achievement in these communities. On Saturday mornings, you can usually find Bernie Winston on the golf course or exercising outdoors.