Our State Leadership

Communities In Schools is guided by a talented, committed and diverse group of business leaders, educators, philanthropists and nonprofit executives. Get to know our team.

Site Coordinators & Staff

Our Site Coordinators and Staff are passionate supporters of the CIS mission.

Jalaina King, Site Coordinator

Blue Academy

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: jking@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-856-4100


Hello! My name is Jalaina King, and I am excited to start a new school year as the Site Coordinator at Blue Academy. I have worked with Communities In Schools of Indiana and Decatur Township Schools since January of 2017. My post-secondary education includes degrees in Counseling, Sociology, and Criminal Justice. Following graduation, I taught Pre-K for one year in Philadelphia, worked in Juvenile Probation for 10 years prior to becoming a Site Coordinator. I volunteer at various activities in MSD Decatur Township at the elementary and high school level. I love antiquing and revitalizing antiques to their natural look!

Matt Ernst, Site Coordinator

Stephen Decatur Elementary School

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: mernst@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-241-0183


Hello! My name is Matt Ernst. I’m 24 years old and an Indianapolis native. I recently graduated from IUPUI with my Masters in Social Work. I am thankful for this opportunity to make a positive impact in Decatur Township.

Jenifer Martin, Site Coordinator

Liberty Early Elementary School

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: jmartin@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-856-6363


I was a stay at home mom for 16 years. In 2006, I began working for the MSD of  Martinsville Schools as an Instructional Assistant at an alternative high school. In 2009, (along with my oldest child) I began my journey to becoming a Social Worker. In 2015, (along with my middle child) I graduated with my Bachelor in Social Work from The University of Indianapolis. Following graduation, I worked for Easterseals Crossroads. My husband and I have been married for 26 years and have three grown children.

Peg Bickel, Site Coordinator

Liberty Early Elementary School

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: mbickel@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-243-7559


Hello, my name is Peg Bickel and I am so excited to be a part of the Decatur Township and CIS family! I will be the new Site Coordinator at Liberty Elementary School. I can’t wait to see all my new students. It’s going to be a great school year!


I have been a Juvenile Probation Officer for the past 16 years and I continue to look forward to working with the children and families in our community.

Laverna Tracy, Site Coordinator

Stephen Decatur Elementary School

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: ltracy@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-241-0183


Wife and mother of four handsome young men. Over 20 years of experience working in our community including jail, prison, and youth organizations.

Karen O’Gara-Hartnett, Site Coordinator

Gold Academy

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: khartnett@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-856-0400


I’ve been married for 27 years and have 3 grown children. I have been in education for 26 years. This is my second year with CIS of Indiana at Gold Academy in MSD Decatur Township. Last year I made a lot of connections with families and supported with improving attendance, academics, as well as connecting families with community services.

Denee Lecher, Site Coordinator

West Newton Elementary

(MSD Decatur Township Schools)

Email: dlecher@msddecatur.k12.in.us

Phone: 317-856-5237


I have been working in Decatur Township (at West Newton Elementary School) the past few years through Cummins Behavioral Health Inc., and am excited to be joining West Newton again! I recently had a beautiful baby girl and took time to stay at home with her. I’ve always loved helping kiddos and families and am looking forward to starting the new school year.

Finda Fallah, Resource Liaison

Brook Park Elementary

(MSD of Lawrence Township)

Phone: 317-964-6800


My name is Finda Fallah. I have a M. S. Ed from Southern Illinois University. I am a firm believer that education is an investment in oneself. I have a rich experience working in outreach education in K-12 learning environments. My experiences also include engaging community, local and state institutions to partner with schools to provide supplemental programs that support student achievement.

Shelia Richardson, Resource Liaison

Winding Ridge Elementary

(MSD of Lawrence Township)

Phone: 317-964-6800


I have been a Community Liaison since 1999 in schools. I love the concept and have seen this work in many lives in the home, school, and community. I’m proud to be a member of the Lawrence Township community and Communities In Schools model and plan to be an intricate part of the solutions and progress.

Whitney Thomas, Student and Family Advocate

Fairview Elementary (Bloomington)

Email: wthomas@mccsc.edu 

Phone: 812-330-7732


I am starting my 5th year at Fairview Elementary. I am the Student & Family Advocate and focus mainly on family and community engagement. I enjoy building relationships with students, staff, families and community partners. My goal is to provide impactful opportunities for all students and families at Fairview. I am excited to continue this work and to use the Communities In Schools model this coming school year.

Scott Evans, Site Coordinator

Templeton Elementary (Bloomington)

Email: scotte@cisindiana.org

Phone: 812-330-7735


I have worked in education for over twenty years, 15 of which were spent with children and families at Harmony School in Bloomington, IN. I will complete my Masters in Special Education in the summer of 2017. I am the proud father of three children and lucky to be married to my best friend and spouse, Allyson. In my free time, I enjoy Birding, Nature Photography and playing music.

Helena Drumm, Program Director

Email:  helenad@cisindiana.org

Phone: 317-856-5265


My name is Helena Drumm, and I am honored to be the new Program Director for Communities In Schools of Indiana. I look forward to the new opportunities as I transition into a leadership role. I believe my post-secondary education (Bachelor of Social Work from Indiana State University and Masters of Social Work from IUPUI) and previous work experiences of partnering and providing direct services to our great state’s youth are all assets that will help me in leading the dream team!

In my spare time, I enjoy playing sand volleyball, hiking and spending time with my family and two cats

Vivian Ashmawi, Executive Director

Email:  viviana@cisindiana.org

Phone: 765-967-1198


Vivian Ashmawi has served as the CIS Indiana State Director since the official launch of our State Office in April 2016.  Previously Vivian served as the Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Wayne County since its inception in 2001.  Vivian holds a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University East, and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development from Ivy Tech Richmond.  Vivian enjoys bike riding and spending time with family, especially grandson Tucker.

Communities in Schools Indiana, 5275 Kentucky Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46221

Tel: 765-967-1198

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