Meet the Staff

Spring was founded in 2011 by Anja Thiessen and Bianca Zaharescu, together with the founding team members Valerie Papillon and Matt Sutton, to invest in the brilliance and potential of the amazing students in Coahoma County, and to address the lack of opportunities and resources available to them. Between 2003 and 2010, all 4 had spent gap years in Clarksdale and built relationships with young people and their families while working as teacher’s assistants and with Habitat for Humanity. Throughout college, they stayed in touch, and moved back as soon as they could. Today, Spring operates with an-ever growing staff of caring educators and volunteers, the majority of whom grew up in Clarksdale. Rachel Bouer, who was a founding cohort director of Junior Spring in 2004, joined Bianca & Anja on the leadership team in 2019.

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Bianca Zaharescu

Co-Founder, Director of Finance & Operations,

Leadership Team

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Rachel Bouer

Director of Program & Student Success, Therapist, Leadership Team

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Tamara Moore

Spring Therapist

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Karanetria Gray Smith

Big Spring Cohort Director

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Matt Sutton

Junior Spring Cohort Director

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Veronica Kahaleua

Little Spring Cohort Director

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Sarah Sterling

Mini Spring Cohort Director

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Chelsea Presley

Baby University Director

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We are hiring!

We have open Cohort Director positions - connect with us!

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Anja Thiessen

Co-Founder, Director of Strategy & Personnel, Leadership Team

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We are hiring!

Find out in which role you could make a difference!

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Sherman Carter

Spring Therapist

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Joe Easley

Big Spring Cohort Director

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Nekirah Betts

Junior Spring Cohort Director

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Aja Trask 

Little Spring Cohort Director

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Nicholas Sisk

Mini Spring Cohort Director

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Irma Hicks

Administrative Director

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We are hiring!

We have open Intern positions - connect with us!

Board of Directors

The Spring Board of Directors is made up of committed and caring professionals and Clarksdale community members who bring their expertise, passion, connections, and resources to our organization to help us thrive. 

Mary Thompson, Board Chair
Adrienne White Hudson
Andy Seth
Donna Merkel
Steve Jossell
Barbara Linder
Amanda Johnson
Anthony Philipp
Fred Cohen