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 in 2019.

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Bianca Zaharescu

Co-Founder, Executive Director, Director of Finance & Strategy

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Rachel Bouer

Director of Programs & Therapy

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Alonzo Wilson

Marketing Director & Program Support Associate

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Karanetria Gray-Smith

Spring 2.0 Director, College & Career Spring

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Matt Sutton

Big Spring Cohort Director

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Veronica Kahaleua

Junior Spring Cohort Director

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Aaliyah Russell

Little Spring Cohort Director

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Fredice Walker

Mini Spring Cohort Director

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Irma Hicks

Administrative Director

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We're Hiring!

We have open positions available - connect with us!

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Anja Thiessen

Co-Founder, Director of Strategy & Programs

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Tashenna Galmore

Director of Operations

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Sherman Carter

Spring Therapist

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Joe Easley

Spring 2.0 Director, College & Career Spring

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Nekirah Betts

Big Spring Cohort Director

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Olivia Sheard

Junior Spring Cohort Director

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Fredricka Giles

Little Spring Cohort Director

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Brianna James

Mini Spring Cohort Director

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Chelesa Presley

Baby University Director

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Aja Trask

Director of Programs

Board of Directors

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

Mary Thompson, Board Chair
Barbara Linder
Anthony Philipp
Ann Williams
Harriet Allen
Amanda Johnson
Donna Merkel
Steve Jossell