DSA's leaders represent a cross-section of our community and have a passion for our organization and those we serve. They work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds raised directly affect our DSA families.

Staff

Leah Janke, Executive Director Email

L'ara Arcishewsky, Community Connections Coordinator Email

Amanda Clark, Program Coordinator Email

Marcus Sikora, Self-Advocate Administrative Assistant 

Board

Kyle Schmidt, President  Email

Denise Gehringer, Sheltering Tree - Vice President

Justin Hope, Seim Johnson - Treasurer

Heather McNeal, TD Ameritrade - Secretary 

Heather and her husband Jeremy are proud parents of three young boys, oldest son Hayden and twins Rory and Declan. They have been actively involved with DSA of the Midlands since receiving a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome for Declan. Heather joined the board at the end of 2018, and became Secretary in 2019. She has previous board experience through the Human Resource Association of the Midlands, including serving as President. Heather enjoys a busy and fulfilling career in human resources. With three boys 18 months apart, Jeremy and Heather’s home life is busy! They enjoy family activities like trips to the zoo and safari park, walks to the park, and of course, all the fun family events put on by the DSA!

Zachary Buxton, Baird Holm - Legal Advisor

Christine Tran, UNMC/Nebraska Medicine - Medical Outreach Email

Christine and her husband, Tin, live in Omaha. They are the proud parents of Joseph (DS) and Margaret. Their family has been active with the DSA since J’s birth 5 years ago. Christine started volunteering as a member of the Buddy Walk (now called Step Up) Committee. She later joined the DSA board in 2017. She holds the DSA's board position as Medical Outreach Coordinator. Christine works for UNMC/Nebraska Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner. In her spare time, she loves to travel with her family.

  • Committee Member, Leticia Franco, Bilingual Parent Outreach Email

Jennifer Koley, Ollie Webb Center, Inc. - Self-Advocate

Jenny is serving her second term as a self-advocate member of the DSA board.   She has worked as a part-time receptionist for ten years at the Ollie Webb Center, Inc.  She graduated from Bryan High School in 1999.  She also attended Metropolitan Community College where she earned forty credit hours in business, math and theatre classes.  Jenny volunteers one afternoon a week at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.  She also participated in the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s -Sarpy County by setting up and managing her own team, KOLEYS FOR THE CURE.  Jenny has lived independently for three years in her own apartment.   Her hobbies and interests include Special Olympic bowling, golf and swimming; acting, reading, book club, line dancing, Broadway plays, singing and travel.  She is currently acting in a play called MOROZKO, a Russian fairy tale which combines a cast of professional actors and actors with disabilities.  She is a huge Nebraska football fan! Jenny loves to advocate for herself and others.  She had the honor of going to the national NDSS BUDDY WALK ON WASHINGTON, to lobby for the ABLE Act.  She has also gone to Lincoln to speak directly with senators of the Nebraska Legislature on important bills that impact people with disabilities, and regularly attends the Senatorial Dinner.  

Katie Erspamer, Verizon Media

Kendra Ely

Kendra and her husband, Joe, live in Omaha, NE.  They are the proud parents of three children, twins LJ & Harper (4), and Kendall Josephine (2).  Their family has been active with the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands since receiving a prenatal diagnosis for LJ.  Kendra started volunteering for the DSA almost immediately after the twins were born and then joined the Board of Directors in 2016. She is currently serves as Chair for the Family Communication and Outreach Committee.  Although free time can be hard to come by these days, Kendra enjoys photography, traveling, and running, especially with the Down Syndrome Alliance's YAS (Young Adults Series) Running Club.   
 

Jeanna Pine

Janet Pol

Ranae Keckeisen, Union Pacific

Laura Baum

Sarah Schulz, Executive Director, Human Resource Association of the Midlands (HRAM)

Sarah and her husband, Nick, their son, Nicholas, and daughter, Olive live outside Omaha, NE in the smaller community of Bennington. She enjoys the small town lifestyle just minutes from the heart of the city. Sarah enjoys reading, traveling, family movie nights, and volunteering at her children’s school and her church. She is an avid Husker fan, and enjoys cheering them on any chance she gets.

Sarah is the Executive Director for HRAM, she is responsible for the operational management and direction of the organization. She oversees the financial activities as well as the strategic plan for the association. Sarah has been with HRAM since 2005. Before she became Executive Director, she served as Chapter Manager after starting as the Program Coordinator for HRAM.

Prior to her time with HRAM Sarah worked for ICAN (Institute for Career Advancement Needs) as a Program Coordinator. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and has a Bachelors in Journalism, with a major in Advertising and Public Relations.