Our Team

Learn more about our dedicated board, staff and volunteers that make Erika’s Lighthouse so special. From our founding, it is our community that keeps us going.

Please check out our committed, passionate team:

Virginia Neuckranz
President & Co-Founder
LinkedIn
Elaine Tinberg
Co-Vice President
Barbara Williams
Co-Vice President
Tom Neuckranz
Treasurer & Co-Founder
LinkedIn
Deedee Brannigan
Secretary
Michael Alcala
Board Member
LinkedIn
Kathleen Hooper
Board Member
LinkedIn
Eileen Sheehan Hovey
Board Member
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? As a Board member since the inception of ELH I have seen the positive and profound results of our efforts to educate, de-stigmatize and bring hope to adolescents and their families who struggle with depression. We wanted to raise awareness about depression and also encourage good mental health in our community and beyond. It is incredibly meaningful to be a part ELH and know that our educational programs are reaching hundreds of schools and empowering students in a positive way and giving them both help and hope in understanding themselves and others.
LinkedIn
Linda Monico
Board Member
Joshua Taustein
Board Member
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? The mission of Erika’s Lighthouse is very personal and important to me. Since I have become a Board Member, I’ve seen firsthand how the depression education program has positively impacted thousands of students in the Chicago area and around the country.
LinkedIn
Brandon Combs
Brandon Combs, MNA
Executive Director
Executive Leadership
Brandon joined Erika’s Lighthouse in June 2019. He brings with him over 20 years of nonprofit experience ranging from Executive Director, Board Member to volunteer for many passions and causes. He earned his Master’s in Nonprofit Administration in December 2009 from North Park University and his BA in Political Science from Indiana University in May 2004. Brandon wants to ensure that every child feels empowered, validated and important.
LinkedIn
Kristina Kins, MSW
Director of Operations
Executive Leadership
Kristina came to Erika’s Lighthouse in 2016 as a graduate intern and joined the team full time in 2017 as Director of Outreach & Development. After spending many years in the business and financial services sectors, Kristina is excited to be working with an organization that promotes the importance of good mental health through education. She obtained her Master of Social Work (MSW), along with a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy, from Loyola University Chicago. Kristina graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a BA in sociology.
LinkedIn
Peggy Kubert, LCSW
Senior Director of Education
Education
Peggy is a licensed clinical social worker, addictions counselor, student assistance trainer and parent educator. She has a Masters Degree from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. Peggy has been with Erika’s Lighthouse since 2006, developing our programming and working with schools to implement our programs. Peggy is passionate about providing consultation, support and training to students, educators, parents and health professionals to help young people lead healthy, happy and productive lives.
LinkedIn
Ilana Sherman, MPH
Director of Education
Education
Ilana joined Erika’s Lighthouse in September 2019 as Director of Education. She has a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ilana brings with her over 15 years of non-profit health education programming experience ranging from Outreach Coordinator to Director of Education. Ilana is excited to be part of Erika’s Lighthouse to help further the mission and empower preteens, teens, their caregivers and educators to learn and talk openly about adolescent depression.
LinkedIn
Katie Conklin, LPC, M.Ed.
Director of School Culture
Education
Katie joined Erika’s Lighthouse in August 2021. She has a Masters degree in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University. Katie has over 15 years experience working in behavioral health and nonprofit administration. Katie is passionate about mental health awareness in schools and is excited to be a part of the Erika’s Lighthouse team.
LinkedIn
Shantal Saldaña, MA
Manager of School Outreach
Education
Shantal joined Erika’s Lighthouse in August 2022. She brings over 10 years of experience in family and community relationships, non-profit, and education. Shantal has a Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is passionate about giving youth, their families, and their support systems the tools and education they need to take charge of their mental health. Her goal is to spread awareness and make mental health a safe and common topic for conversation.
LinkedIn
Meade Means, MLIS
Development Manager
Development
Meade joined Erika’s Lighthouse in October 2019. She brings over eight years of nonprofit experience as both a professional and a volunteer. She is committed to helping nonprofits and is excited to be a part of an organization that is tirelessly working to improve mental health in young adults. Meade has a BA in Political Science from Kenyon College and a Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University.
LinkedIn
Laura Geiger
Donor Engagement Manager
Development
Laura joined Erika’s Lighthouse in January 2022, bringing a decade of nonprofit fundraising experience as a professional and a volunteer. She is committed to working to further the Erika’s Lighthouse mission within our community and across the country. Her three children drive her dedication to promoting good mental health for all. Laura has a BS in Human Development from Colby College and a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA.
LinkedIn
Rachel Magnabosco
Fundraising Manager
Development
Rachel joined Erika’s Lighthouse in February 2021. She brings with her over six years of nonprofit experience, as both a professional and volunteer. She obtained her BS in Communications and Organizational Leadership from Illinois State University in 2017. Rachel is motivated by our mission and will go above and beyond to ensure that no young person feels alone in their depression through her efforts in marketing, fundraising development, and volunteer and donor relationship management.
LinkedIn
Jamie DeCaria, MBA
Marketing Coordinator
Marketing & Operations
Jamie joined Erika’s Lighthouse in January 2022. She brings nearly 20 years of marketing experience; in the consumer packaged goods industry, as an entrepreneur, and in nonprofit marketing. As a parent of three, she is happy to be making a difference in the lives of young people with Erika’s Lighthouse. Jamie earned her MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and her BBA from the University of Michigan.
LinkedIn
Nathalia Harris
Social Media Coordinator
Marketing & Operations
Nathalia joined Erika’s Lighthouse in July 2022. She has a BFA in Creative Writing from Stephens College and brings forth four years of experience managing social media across many platforms. Nathalia is passionate about increasing awareness of mental health and inciting change in the stigma surrounding it. She seeks to not only grow and make connections but to create those opportunities for others as well.
LinkedIn
Anna Robbins
Operations Assistant
Marketing & Operations
Anna joined Erika’s Lighthouse in December 2021. She brings over 6 years of experience in nonprofit administration. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) from Adler University (Chicago). Anna is passionate about creating authentic connections and making mental health and education accessible to all.
LinkedIn
Holly Alperin, Ed.M, MCHES
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire; Lighthouse Wellness & Health Education Consulting
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I believe that each person deserves to feel healthy and well, in all areas of their life. I value taking the time to teach young people about the importance of mental and emotional health and to do so in ways that help them to achieve overall well-being.
LinkedIn
Jeanie Alter, PhD, MCHES, FASHA
Executive Director, American School Health Association
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Ensuring that schools are places where every student can learn and thrive is very important to me.
LinkedIn
Sarah Benes, EdD, CHES
Associate Clinical Professor, School of Health Sciences, Merrimack College; Lighthouse Wellness & Health Education Consulting
LinkedIn
Alyssa Hansen
Middle School Teacher, Old Quarry Middle School
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? ELH’s mission hits close to home for me. Being an educator, I strive to make sure my students feel safe and know that they are never alone.
Robert Jamison, Ed.S
Coordinator, Office of Student Support Services, Virginia Beach City Public Schools
LinkedIn
Michael S. Kelly, PhD, LCSW
Lucian and Carol Welch Matusak Endowed Professor, Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work; Co-Editor, schoolsocialwork.net; Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of School Social Work
In Memoriam
Meg Kincaid, PhD
Psychologist, Director of Student Services, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I have seen the impact of Erika’s Lighthouse on the lives of teens and its messages of hope are vital in creating a healthy community.
LinkedIn
Stephanie Morris
Chief Executive Officer, SHAPE America
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? The opportunity to really help kids who are struggling – especially given we know our nation’s children are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
LinkedIn
Kristy Rauch, MA, Educational Policy and Evaluation
Manager of Educational Partnerships, Center for the Collaborative Classroom
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Erika’s Lighthouse impresses me with its commitment to providing life-changing teen depression awareness resources to schools at no cost.
LinkedIn
Mark Reinecke, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Psychology); Board certified in clinical psychology (ABPP), clinical child and adolescent psychology (ABPP), and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (ACT)
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Erika’s Lighthouse mission is my mission. I’ve devoted my career to children, adolescents, and families–to understanding, treating, and preventing depression and suicide among youth.
LinkedIn
Sally Stevens, LCSW, PPSC, M.Ed
Mental Health Administrator; School Social Worker; Author
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Equity and accessibility. I love how ELH is always willing to partner and provide services and resources to all stakeholders: parents, teachers, students, etc.
LinkedIn
Karen VanAusdal, M.Ed., MSC Policy
Vice President of Practice, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I am committed to the potential for schools to be places of wellness and thriving for all young people and know that support for mental health and identity development and relationships with peers and adults are critical to that mission.
LinkedIn
Patty Voloschin-Weiner, MA, Clinical Psychology; MPH, LSW, LCSW
Psychotherapist, Interaction Dynamics
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I have seen first hand, too many times the devastating effect of teenage depression on the teens, their parents, and their friends. Raising awareness about teenage depression and suicide prevention and offering alternatives to help these youth and families find hope and meaning is life saving.
LinkedIn
Amy Walker
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Committee for Children
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Bringing awareness to depression and mental health issues and giving kids the skills they need to help themselves and to help their friends stay emotionally healthy and safe from self-harm is important work. I know that these skills can be taught and I am glad to be working with Erika’s Lighthouse to come up with ways to reach more kids and schools.
LinkedIn
Nancy Watson, LCSW/CADC
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Erika’s Lighthouse allows schools to create a community of empathy and education that opens the door to important discussions around good mental health and depression. Lessons honor and reflect adolescent development, which serves to capture students’ attention, normalize feelings, and engage them in dialogue about their emotional worlds. Students are empowered to seek help when needed and to develop strategies and habits to contribute to their emotional health.
LinkedIn
Sharon Weingarten, MSW, LSW, ASCW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? The recognition that involvement of students and schools can support inclusive cultures.
LinkedIn
Owen Wolkowitz, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco Weill Institute for Neuroscience; Co-Director, UCSF Depression Center
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I have dedicated my career to better understanding and better treating depression.
LinkedIn
Sarah Conrad
Lighthouse Council Member
Tom Cutler
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Dianna Devine
Lighthouse Council Member
Lane Goggin, MBA
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Katie Gierke
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Debbie Greif
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Lauren Laughlin
Lighthouse Council Member
Shira Lichtenstein, LCSW
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Fleury Linn
Lighthouse Council Member
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I love the fact that all of our information, handbooks, programs, etc are free online. That is wonderful. Also, we have knowledgeable professionals on staff who will help schools who want information and will train them to use the curriculum and/ or to start a Teen Club if students raise the question of starting one. The videos are great. Also, the fact that other professional mental health organizations recognize the work that we are doing and approve of our videos, materials and approach.
Sally Lou Loveman
Lighthouse Council Member
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? I want to do everything I can to help any teen that suffers from depression. The connection to ELH’s mission is what drives me. Getting depression out of the dark. In my work I am always thinking of ways to get our message out.
LinkedIn
Martina Mead
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Gayl Monto, LCSW, CADC, EMDR
The Art of Organization, Founder
LinkedIn
Alexandra Perraud
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Jeni Spinney
Lighthouse Council Member
LinkedIn
Jason Dane, M.S. Ed.
Kinetic Wellness Faculty, Coach, New Trier High School
What makes the mission and work of Erika’s Lighthouse meaningful to you? Erika’s Lighthouse strives to provide the most current resources so teachers can effectively deliver information while using proven best practices. Being able to talk about mental health with students and provide them with healthy coping strategies is extremely meaningful.
Megan Adams
Professional Community Ambassador - New York
Megan Adams and I am a Health & Phys Ed Teacher for 7th and 10th grades for Utica Academy of Science in upstate New York. I am a SUNY Brockport & Emporia State alumni in Health, Phys Ed and Recreation. My first 4 years, I taught in Killeen, TX and am currently in year 9 of my teaching career in Utica, NY. Outside of school, I am a girls basketball coach and enjoy spending time with my kids and family, golfing, attending SU Football & Basketball games, crafting and crocheting.
Laura Beckmann
Professional Community Ambassador - Missouri
Laura Beckmann brings 35 years of educational experience and leadership serving as a teacher, K-12 curriculum coordinator, adjunct professor, and most recently the Missouri Healthy Schools Director/Consultant for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Among her many contributions during her career, Laura has been awarded numerous local, state, and federal grants to improve wellness within schools and the communities they served. The documented success in data-based project outcomes of multiple projects that have served as models, has contributed to many publications, the delivery of various workshops and the attraction of consultant services in the development of curriculum, grant and data programming and reporting, and school health and wellness initiatives. Due to the positive results of this work, Mrs. Beckmann has received many awards for her achievements and involvement in the areas of Health, Physical Education and Wellness.
LinkedIn
Cassie Brooks
Professional Community Ambassador - Indiana
Cassie Brooks was the 2018 SHAPE America Midwest District Health Teacher of the Year and is President of the Indiana Society of Health and Physical Educators. She has taught Health and Physical Education at Brownsburg West Middle School in Indiana for 22 years and has a passion for supporting other skills-based educators in their work to prepare young people for a lifetime of health choices.
LinkedIn
Amanda Browning
Professional Community Ambassador - North Carolina
Amanda Browning is currently in her 19th year of teaching secondary Health and Physical Education in Greensboro, North Carolina. In addition to presenting at the 2019 SHAPE America Convention in Tampa, FL, she has also been recognized as the 2020 NC SHAPE High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and has been a two-time finalist for Guilford County Schools Teacher of the Year.
LinkedIn
Annie Chowns
Professional Community Ambassador - Virginia
Annie Chowns currently serves as an Instructional Specialist for School Counselors with Virginia Beach City Public Schools. When she is not supporting school counselors in her division, she is hanging out with her family at the beach!
Monica L. Coleman, MS, CRC, NCC, P-LPC, BC-TMH
Professional Community Ambassador - Mississippi
Monica L. Coleman is an emerging counselor educator and evaluator whose work focuses on adolescent mental health, health equity, and public policy advocacy. She is a licensed counselor in Mississippi and works with schools and organizations across the state and nation to advance mental wellness.
LinkedIn
Johanna Jacobson, MS
Professional Community Ambassador - Illinois
Johanna Jacobson received her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from St. Xavier University in 2008. She has been a licensed Professional School Counselor working in the Chicago Public Schools for the past 14 years. Currently, Johanna is a School Counselor at Skinner North Classical School, where she has spent the last 11 years of her career. For the last 5 years, Johanna has been using the Erika’s Lighthouse curriculum to educate the Skinner North middle school students about depression and mental health. Prior to working at Skinner North, Johanna was an elementary School Counselor in the Little Village neighborhood. Johanna is also the mother of two college students who have had their own mental health challenges. She is very passionate about mental health education and advocacy.
Maggie King, MSW
Professional Community Ambassador - Illinois
Maggie King is a social worker with 9 years of experience working with high school students in a school setting. She has spent her career at Hoffman Estates High School meeting the social emotional and academic needs of students.
Stacie Nessa, LICSW
Professional Community Ambassador - Iowa
I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker. I have over 29 years of experience working with children, families, individuals and systems. Through my position in Des Moines Public Schools, I serve 68 schools and 5,500 staff and provide consultation to the Department of Human Services, Juvenile Court Services, and Adult Probation. On the side, I own a LLC, Stacie Nessa & Friends, which was created to bring Youth Mental Health First Aid and Sidewalk Talks to my community. When I’m not working, I’m hanging with my family; my husband, two kids (8 and 10), and our big (125 pound) dog, Doug.
LinkedIn
Kelly Ragan
Professional Community Ambasador - California
Michelle Sircy, PhD
Professional Community Ambassador - Kentucky
Dr. Michelle Sircy has served in public education for 21 years. Her service includes work as a special education teacher, high school counselor and currently, she serves as the specialist for counseling services within JCPS. She also co-leads the district crisis team and leads suicide prevention efforts for both students and adults. Dr. Sircy is the past president of the Kentucky Counseling Association, past president for the Jefferson County Counseling Association and currently serves as the state lead for crisis support for the Kentucky Counseling Association. Additionally, Dr. Sircy is the regional elect representative for the college board and is an adjunct professor at Spalding University in their school counseling division of the educational department. Her passion resides in improving mental health services, leading school counselor work in addressing racial equity at the school level and improving suicide prevention efforts for our community.
LinkedIn
Rachel Winsten
Professional Community Ambassador - Florida
Rachel has been teaching Health & Physical Education for 23 years. She began her teaching career in NYC. After that, she was the District Resource Teacher/Curriculum Specialist for Health, PE, Driver Ed & JROTC for Brevard Public Schools in Florida. It was during this time she became involved with Erika’s Lighthouse, bringing the program in district-wide. In 2022 she decided to return to her passion, teaching. Rachel currently teaches health and PE at Viera High School in Melbourne, Florida.

Donate to Erika’s Lighthouse

Your donation helps let adolescent depression sufferers live happy, normal, and full lives.

Donate Today