Board of Directors
Gladys H Leon is a retired school administrator with over thirty years of experience in early childhood education. A graduate of Shippensburg University with a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Prior work experiences include working with Head Start students as well as Special needs preschoolers in the Philadelphia School District and the Chambersburg School District.
Jennifer Hawbecker has 20 plus years of experience working with children and families in the Franklin County area. She currently works as the Early Intervention Program Specialist for the Franklin/Fulton MH/IDD/EI program. Jennifer worked for Franklin County Head Start from 1998-2003 as a Teacher and then eventually became a Site Supervisor, where she supervised the teaching staff. Jennifer lives in Chambersburg with her husband, Bryan, and daughters, Olivia and Lily.
Yolanda Slimmer is a mother of two very busy active girls. She has a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. Although she retired from owning her own insurance office, you can find her helping in her husband's office from time to time. In her free time, she enjoys photography, crafting, traveling, watching Penn State sports and cheering on her girls.
Robert L. Thomas, Franklin County Commissioner, is a strong advocate for early education and has served on the Head Start board for over 20 years. Bob is President of the Franklin County Prison Board, Chairman of the Franklin MPO and past President of the County Commissioner’s Association of PA.
Carolyn Clouser is Executive Assistant to the President & CEO of Summit Health. She has served in that role since July 2013. She formerly held the positions of Administrative Assistant in the Finance Department and Administrative Secretary in the Human Resources Department from 1991 to 2013. Ms. Clouser has a B.A. in Educational Business Management from Wilson College and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Health Education from Purdue Global University. She serves on the Franklin County Head Start Board of Directors and is a member of the Franklin County Friends of Scouting Breakfast Committee. She volunteered as a tutor with the King’s Kids After School Program from 2003 to 2010. She is a member of Solomon’s Evangelical Lutheran Church where she has served as council president, treasurer and secretary and member of the Social Ministry Committee, Stewardship Committee and Mutual Ministry Committee.
Alice Elia is the Director of Advancement and Publicity for the Franklin County Library System and the VP of Borough Council for the Borough of Chambersburg. Her relocated to Chambersburg in 2006, at which time she became very involved with volunteering in the community and with the schools at which her children attended. She has worked with the library system for almost three years and she loves that she can be a part of an organization that is doing so much for the residents of Franklin County. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors for Franklin County Head Start, She site on the Recreation Advisory Board for the Borough of Chambersburg and is a member of the Downtown Chambersburg, Inc. Board of Directors. Having raised two children of her own in Franklin County and being raised by parents who were both educators, She understands the importance of educating young children. First Start Partnerships for Children & Families plays a vital role in our community and I'm honored to be a part of the organization.
Joanne Cochran is an advanced practice nurse who founded Keystone Health Center in 1986. Today Keystone Health is a federally qualified health center treating over 50,000 patients annually in Franklin County. Keystone Health provides services to anyone and everyone and no one is ever denied care because of lack of finances. Joanne has had extensive experience in hospital administration, teaching at the postgraduate level and the advanced practice of nursing both in community health and public health.
Dr. Linda L. Thomas Worthy is Franklin County Housing Authority executive director. She was previously an education consultant and student development specialist with Worthy Consulting & Training, LLC, assistant vice president for University Life at the University of San Francisco, associate dean of students at Bucknell University, and assistant professor in the General Education Department and director of the Black Cultural Center at Berea College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tougaloo College. She also holds a master’s degree in sociology and a doctor of philosophy in education from Washington State University.
Dr. Paul Sick has been a Head Start Board member since 2006. He has Served office terms as Vice-President and Board President. He is urrently serving on Executive, Strategic Planning & Evaluation committees. Dr. Sick is a former principal with Chambersburg Area School District. He is currently employed with Wilson College as an adjunct professor in the Education Department as a student teacher supervisor.
Casey grew up in Colorado. She went to Colorado State University for college, graduated cum laude with a degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a minor in Diversity in Law in 2011. She then went to law school at Penn State Dickinson School of Law in State College, PA. She graduated cum laude from law school in 2014. While in law school Casey was vice president of the Women's Law Caucus, participated in the Family Law Clinic and had an externship at the Centre County District Attorney's Office. She started at the PDs office in December 2014, immediately following law school. She was hired as an Assistant PD, became First Assistant just over a year later and was appointed Chief Public Defender in August of 2018. She lives in Chambersburg with my two Puggles, Buster (age 9) and Bailey (age 5).
Ryan Elbel is a senior accountant at Rotz & Stonesifer, P.C. He graduated with honors from Penn State University with a BS in Marketing and Management, and continued his education at Shippensburg University by focusing on Accounting. Ryan works on closely held companies in the construction and real estate industries for the preparation of pass-through and individual income tax returns. In addition to serving on the board of First Start Partnerships for Children & Families, he acts as the assistant treasurer for his Church and is a member of the 11/30 Network of Franklin County.