Communities in schools of Mid-america


Neta A. Jeffus, CFP® – Board Chair

Senior Vice-President –
 Investment Officer

Wells Fargo Advisors

Topeka, Kansas

Neta Jeffus is a Senior Vice-President – Investment Officer of the Wells Fargo Advisors office in Topeka, Kansas.  She has many years of experience in the securities industry. With an emphasis on continuing education, she earned her Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) designation in 1987. She has been active in her local community serving on several boards and co-chairing fund raising activities. Her office annually has a jeans project for The Topeka Rescue Mission. To date they have collected over 13,000 pairs. Neta and her husband, Allen, are actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives.

 Laura Kaiser – Immediate Past Chair

Past President

Kansas PTA

Overland Park, Kansas

Since retiring as an occupational therapist, Laura has devoted her volunteer time and efforts to improving the lives of children and public education. As a longtime resident of Kansas, she has been involved with PTA at the local, council, state and national levels, including serving as Kansas State PTA President. Laura still serves on the boards of many statewide educational organizations and has been honored to serve on the CIS of Mid-America board since 2003. Her other interests include parliamentary law and her sorority.

Cindy S. Wilson – Treasurer

CPA – Director of Retail Sales    Westar Energy

Topeka, Kansas

Cindy Wilson is the Director of Retail Rates for Westar Energy in Topeka, Kansas. Prior to serving as Director of Retail Rates, she was Director of Internal Audit for Westar. Cindy, her husband Travis, and their twin daughters, Brittney and Brianna reside in Topeka, Kansas. Cindy has been very involved in the sports her daughters play, coaching and helping with many teams throughout the years. She now cheers them on in competitive soccer and school sports. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, running and hiking with her family.

Whitney L. Casement – Secretary

Attorney                                      Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer LLP                                                     Topeka, Kansas

Ms. Casement joined the law firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer LLP after serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Division of the Office of the Kansas Attorney General for over four years. Ms. Casement graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 2012 and received a Bachelor of Arts from Washburn University. She is passionate about children’s sports and education, having coached youth basketball teams for nearly a decade and having directed a youth basketball league for several years as well. She and her husband live in Topeka, Kansas. Among other interests, she enjoys traveling and being active outdoors and in competitive team sports, such as volleyball and basketball.


Don Turnbaugh – member

Technical Solutions Architect

Cisco Systems, Inc.

Overland Park, Kansas

Don has worked for Cisco, a worldwide technology leader, for 17+ years. He’s currently a Technical Solutions Architect covering World Wide Sales Acceleration for Cisco's Contact Center solutions. Don is the co-owner of Lucia’s Sarto, a fashion design company based in Kansas City, Missouri’s, Country Club Plaza area.  He graduated with Honors from the University of Kansas with two Bachelor degrees – one in Psychology with a focus on Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) and another in Human Development and Family Life with a focus on Behavior Data Collection. Don also graduated from Rockhurst University with an MBA – focusing his education and experiences on international studies and OBM.  Don has served as a member on the Communities In Schools of Mid–America board since 2005, as a way to give back to the community and assist in educating the youth of our future – with an eye on dropout prevention.  Don’s experiences vary from military, criminal justice, social and non–profit work, to his current sales focused role in technology and a local community business – however, he’s always had a focus on the community, education, and corporate social responsibility. He firmly believes in 'Children First'.

Elaine Johannes – member

Associate Professor, School of Family Studies and Human Services
Kansas State University      Manhattan, Kansas

Elaine Johannes is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in Youth Development in the School of Family Studies and Human Services at Kansas State University. Dr. Johannes has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s degree in Adult and Community Counseling, and a doctorate in Lifespan Human Development from the School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University.


She directs the Youth Development graduate program in the School of Family Studies and Human Services, and teaches graduate courses in adolescent health, adolescents and their families, and youth program management/administration. She has also been appointed the assessment coordinator for the multi-state Great Plains-IDEA alliance of six, tier-1 universities who jointly offer the youth development graduate program.


As a member of K-State Research and Extension faculty, Johannes focuses on adolescent health and development, risk reduction for unique populations of youth (e.g., rural/frontier, impoverished), and community-based participatory research. From 2015-2016, Johannes conducted Kansas' first adolescent health needs assessment for the Bureau of Family Health, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is an appointed member of the Kansas Maternal and Child Health Council, and the national ECOP/APLU Positive Youth Development for Health Action Team, and is conducting an on-going study of the transference of resilience factors between impoverished parents and their adolescents.


Jesse Brinson – member

Community Organizer                            Called To Greatness Ministries    lawrence, kansas

Jesse Brinson, and his wife Torrie, are community organizers with Called To Greatness Ministries. They have worked for CTG for over 12 years. Jesse graduated from the University of Kansas with Bachelor of Science degrees in African and African American Studies and English, Creative Writing.


Jesse has been involved in Community In Schools as a volunteer through his kids’ school. He has been involved in programs like Guys Night and Watch Dogs where he saw the tremendous need and growth the students received from the CIS organization. When the invitation came to Jesse to be a part of the board, he was honored and excited to receive the opportunity!


Alex Delaney – member

Owner                                           Indepsys Technology Group lawrence, kansas

Alex Delaney is the owner of Indepsys Technology Group, a technical consulting company in NE, KS. Alex is a graduate of both Leadership Lawrence and Leadership Kansas.  He is an active member of the community, with a focus on issues concerning poverty and education. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing and coaching soccer, frequents Sporting KC games, and enjoys spending time reading and backpacking.


Paul Carttar – member

Independent Consultant

Carttar consulting, LLC        Lawrence, Kansas

Paul Carttar is an independent consultant and also Senior Advisor to and co-founder of the Bridgespan Group.  He was the initial Director of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), an Obama Administration initiative that has mobilized more than a billion public and private dollars to grow nonprofits with evidence of impact.  Prior to the SIF, Carttar was Executive Partner with New Profit, Inc., Executive Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Kansas and chief program officer for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  Carttar is a frequent writer and speaker on social innovation and other nonprofit issues and has delivered keynote addresses in Beijing, China; Kaliningrad, Russia; Lagos, Nigeria; Bogota, Colombia; Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Seoul, South Korea; Berlin, Germany; Santiago, Chile and Mumbai, India.  Carttar graduated with highest distinction from the University of Kansas and received his MBA from Stanford University.


Marianne Waxse – member

Travel Agent                                    Travel and Transport, Inc.         olathe, kansas

Marianne works for Travel and Transport, Inc. as an Account Manager for InCircle, the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman loyalty program, since 2007. She has a passion for travel, and has been to Australia, Kenya, The Maldives, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands. She has attended Eastern Michigan University, Ventura College and University of Nebraska at Omaha where she studied Psychology, Sociology and Business. She has been married to Joseph Waxse, Principal Geotechnical Engineer with Terracon Consultants, for 32 years.  She has three children, Bennett, 29, Jay, 26, and Caroline, 22. Her passion is working with at risk youth and helping them overcome obstacles, so they may lead fulfilling lives.


Larissa Long – Member

Senior Manager, External Affairs – Retired
Black Hills Energy
Lawrence, Kansas

Larissa Long retired as senior manager of External Affairs for Black Hills Energy’s Kansas/Colorado Gas Networks. She has 29 years of utility experience, holding progressive management positions in customer service and community relations. Larissa and her husband, Jim, reside in Lawrence, Kansas. In her spare time she enjoys golf, running and visiting her three young grandsons, who live with their parents in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.


Ary Guerrero – member

Development Officer                              KU Endowment Association Lawrence, kansas

Ary is a Development Officer at KU Endowment, fundraising major gifts for the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She is originally from Anzoátegui, Venezuela, and first moved to the U.S. in 2002 as an international student in Kearney, NE, with Rotary Youth Exchange. She later attended The University of Kansas, graduating in Architecture and Art History. Ary has lived in Lawrence, KS for nine years and has served in various roles within the higher education and non-profit sectors. She enjoys staying involved with the community in the areas of education, environment, arts and diversity.

Joey Baker - Member

State Director, Skills USA Missouri

Supervisor, Skilled Technical Sciences

Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

Jefferson City, Missouri

Joey Baker serves as the State Executive Director of SkillsUSA Missouri and State Supervisor of Skilled Technical Sciences at the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. In this role, he oversees the management, coordination, and facilitation of all district and state SkillsUSA events, student leadership development programs, oversight of the Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications Career Cluster and teacher professional development. Joey’s interest in a career in education was sparked more than 10 years ago as a high school student when his life was impacted by MaryAnn Foster, a Communities In Schools Site Coordinator in Jacksonville, FL. During college, Joey’s involvement with Communities In Schools continued as he served as a resource development intern for Communities In Schools of Jacksonville. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Communities In Schools of Mid-America, Joey also serves as an alumni leadership advisor for the Communities In Schools Alumni Leadership Network.

Sarah Shipman - Member

Secretary of Administration

Kansas Department of Administration

Topeka, Kansas

Sarah L. Shipman was named Acting Secretary of Administration on July 24, 2015. She was confirmed by the Kansas Senate on February 17.


Sarah brings an extensive legal career in the public and private sector to the office of Secretary. She served as Chief Counsel from January 2013 through July 2015 and also held the title of Deputy Secretary since March 2014. She was deputy director for leasing and real estate for the Department of Administration from October 2011 through January 2013.


In the private sector, Sarah was vice president and counsel for Silver Lake Bank in Topeka from May 2008 until October 2011. She also was an adjunct faculty member at the Washburn University School of Law from 2011 to 2013. From August 2005 to May 2008 she was associate general counsel for MRV, Inc., in Topeka handling commercial real estate.


Sarah graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield in May 1995 and Washburn Law in May 2005 where she was editor of the Washburn Law Journal. She is married to Scott and they have two children. Sarah is a member of the Kansas Bar Association and active in the Girl Scouts.


Communities In Schools of Mid-America, Inc.

1919 Delaware Street

Lawrence, Kansas 66046

(785) 856-5190


Accessibility Statement

Communities In Schools of Mid-America, Inc.

1919 Delaware Street

Lawrence, Kansas 66046

(785) 856-5190