Tish Henry, MEd, Board Presidenttishhenry@connectingforkids.org
Tish has been in education for 26 years. She received her bachelors degree from Kent State University in Elementary Education. She then went on to get her special education license and her Masters Degree in School Counseling from Cleveland State. Tish has taught at all grade levels in both regular and special education. Currently, she works as a crisis coordinator for Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Tish lives in Westlake with her husband and two children.
Stephanie McNamara, JD, Vice President
Stephanie McNamara has a BA in International Relations from Boston University and a JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is a Guardian Ad Litem with Voices for Children, Lorain County’s CASA program. Stephanie serves on the Board of Directors of Game On and is active at Westlake United Methodist Church. She lives in Bay Village with her husband, Mickey, and her two children.
Katy Bryan, PhD, Secretary
Katy Bryan is a financial planner working with Skylight Financial Group. She received her BS in psychology and Neuroscience from Baldwin-Wallace and received her PhD from Kent State University where she studied Psychoneuroimmunology. During her studies, Katy worked with autistic children providing ABA therapy and also conducted basic science research examining the influence of stress on the immune system, learning and PTSD. Katy now works with families who have children or adult loved ones with disabilities to build strategies and lifecare planning for their families. Katy continues to work with non-profits to help children find residential housing as they transition into adulthood. She also mentors and serves as the chair for fundraising to help victims of human trafficking in Northeast Ohio. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy spending time with their two boys.
Susie M. Akers, RDN LD, CLC
Susie has been a pediatric dietitian working with specialty medical teams in the Cleveland area for over 20 years. She currently is working as a pediatric dietitian for Gerber infant formulas, supporting specialty hospital teams in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. She recently became certified as a lactation counselor and hopes to educate families on healthy feeding habits to benefit their health today and tomorrow. In her free time, she loves cooking, gardening, being physically active and spending time with friends and family.
Christine Chambers, MEd, OTR/L
My passion is working with children. I have been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for over 30 years. I treat from a Sensory Integrative, play-based approach which means my "work day" is all about being creative and having fun. The children that I work are exciting and energetic; they keep me hopping and teach me something new every day. I am never bored! I am also blessed to have a wonderful husband and two amazing adult daughters. We like to be outdoors as much as possible: taking walks, bike rides, hiking, swimming, camping, having campfires and just enjoying our life together. I am so excited to be a part of Connecting for Kids. They do such a wonderful job of helping families meet new friends and find fun community activities, as well as connect with much needed therapy/medical services.
Alaka Chandurkar, MD
Dr. Chandurkar has been a general pediatrician on the west side of Cleveland since 1986 and is interested in parent education as well as teaching children importance of healthy body and healthy mind. She and her husband of 45 years, Dr. Sudhakar Chandurkar, have one son, Dr. Rohit Chandurkar, one daughter, Menaka Chandurkar, and three grandchildren.
Ryan A. Codner, MS, APRN, CPNP-PC
Ryan is a pediatric nurse practitioner who has practiced in northeast Ohio for the past seven years. Ryan is interested in increasing patient and family agency over their own well-being. Ryan lives locally with Catherine (wife) and three dogs.
I have had the honor of working with children and some adults in a clinical setting at the Silver Lining Group for the last 11 years. I began my career as a Behavior Technician in a direct care role and have since worked in a variety of other supervisory roles, including my current one of Training Coordinator. I received Bachelor's Degrees in History and Psychology from Cleveland State University and have lived in the greater Cleveland area all my life. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and watching live music. I am thrilled to join the board of Connecting for Kids, which is a fantastic organization I have long admired.
Carolyn Khouri-Elias, MEd
/KA-ruh-lin KHAH-ur-ri UH-li-as/
My name is Carolyn Khouri-Elias and I'm the Assistant Principal at Garrett Morgan School of Leadership and Innovation in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. I'm excited to be joining the board of Connecting for Kids because I believe the work being done is truly transformational. Connecting For Kids transcends the love of learning from the classroom into real life and provides tools for parents to allow them to connect with their children. I'm a lifelong learner and received my masters degree in Educational Leadership from Cleveland State University. When I'm not working I love spending time with my husband and puppy Jefe.
Ryan Kilbane is a commercial banker at KeyBank. He works with middle market businesses in Northeastern Ohio, including manufacturing, distribution, service and non-profit companies. A native Clevelander, Ryan and his family live on the west side. In his free time, Ryan is an avid runner, golfer and reader.
Lois Leonard, MEd
Lois is a retired educator who taught in the elementary grades for 33 years, most of them at Hilliard Elementary in Westlake. She received her BA from Allegheny College and MEd from Cleveland State University. Additionally she is certified in gifted education. Lois’s favorite pastime is traveling with her husband Mark, and spending time with family and friends. She loves being outdoors either hiking, biking, or practicing her newest hobby disc golf. She is thrilled to have more time to read since her retirement in 2018. Lois and Mark live in Westlake and have two sons.
Bryan is a Business and Finance Director at Avnet, Inc. He manages the financial, administrative and other aspects of several business units at Avnet. As a foster parent, he has experience raising children with various needs and he has seen how difficult finding resources to support those needs can be for families. Bryan and his family like to go camping, travel and try new things. Bryan is excited to contribute to an already-great organization.
Julia M. Pritchard
Julia is the owner of Fortitude Fitness, a personal training gym in Indianapolis, where she moved from in 2018. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist and has expanded her business to virtual and private training here in Cleveland. She also serves as Board Chair for Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis. Julia grew up in North Ridgeville, and after living out of state for 13 years, she is excited to get involved in the nonprofit world in Cleveland, starting with Connecting for Kids. Julia recently moved from downtown Cleveland to Bay Village with her husband (Tom), young daughter (Avery), and dog (Jax).
Rajeev Ranjan, B.Tech., PMP®, CSM®
Rajeev has been in IT for more than two decades. He specializes in global delivery of IT projects/programs, business development, customer relationships, operations excellence, P&L and data and analytics. He lives in Westlake with his beautiful wife (Pratima) and 2 amazing kids (Rishabh and Kyra). Rajeev is very excited about the transition from one of the beneficiaries of Connecting for Kids to one of its contributors. He is very much looking forward to working with the Connecting for Kids team and families, contributing to his best capacity, and enriching his life experience with a new purpose at hand.
Joanne M. Smallwood, MBA
Joanne works for KeyBank Wealth Management as Director of Strategy Implementation. In this role, she serves as Editorial Chair for Key’s Wealth Institute and manages firm initiatives aimed to improve client experience and streamline internal processes. Joanne has a BA from Ohio State University and an MBA with a finance concentration from Ashland University. As a parent of two children with varying needs, Joanne has personally felt Connecting for Kids' impact over the last 10 years. Joanne lives in Lakewood with her husband and two children and enjoys running, biking and playing the saxophone.
Kristi is an Associate Vice President at Falls & Co., a Marketing, Communications and Digital firm located in downtown Cleveland. She received her bachelor's degree in Speech Communication and Marketing Promotion from Miami University. Kristi lives in Avon with her husband Patrick and sons, Ryan and Aidan. During the winter months, you'll find Kristi and her family either playing or watching sports; while summers their time is spent at Catawba boating on Lake Erie. "Being a parent is overwhelming - especially navigating the pressures and influences of today's society. I was so excited to find Connecting for Kids to help unite with other parents to learn and share experiences and resources to do what's best for our kids and our families."
Julie E. Strunk, MLIS
Julie Strunk has worked at the Lakewood Public Library for 22 years, and for 10 years, has been the Manager of Children's and Youth Services. As a children's librarian, she has observed the struggles that families face with children who have challenges accessing library programs. She was thrilled to begin a partnership between Lakewood Public Library and Connecting for Kids and is now excited to support Connecting for Kids in the important work this organization accomplishes. Julie lives in Bay Village with her husband, Jim. She enjoys reading, gardening, being outdoors, her job, and spending time with four grown children and grandchildren.
Jill Urich, CPA
Jill is a Certified Public Accountant, currently working as a corporate accountant in the hospitality industry. After receiving her BSBA with a dual major in accounting and human resources from Bowling Green State University, she gained experience working in both industry and in public accounting. Jill, her husband, Steven, and daughter, Macee, reside in Avon, along with their two French bulldogs named Ozzy and Lulu. After Jill’s daughter was born with Down syndrome, she felt the desire to give back to the community and served as the treasurer of a national non-profit dedicated to improving the Down syndrome diagnosis experience for new parents and providing support to those parents. In her free time, Jill enjoys working out and spending time with her family.