Kim Caraganis, Executive Director
Phone Extension: 402
“At CIS we believe that every child and youth is “of promise.” It is up to all of us to make sure that they feel valued and have the support and opportunities they need to succeed.” ~ Kim
This marks Kim Caraganis’ twenty-seventh year working with this agency, and her 19th year as executive director. Her responsibilities include fundraising, grant writing and budget management, oversight and involvement in all program components, supervision of the agency’s staff, management of local, state, federal and foundation grant reporting, and the agency’s transition to become a Communities In Schools affiliate in 2014. In addition, Kim serves as a liaison to volunteers, families, grantors, community, state agencies, CIS NC, and the board of directors.
Pam Johnson, CFO/Operations Manager
Phone Extension: 401
A 30-year resident of Chatham County, Pam Johnson has been devoted to the agency as an employee since 1999. As Operations Manager, she is responsible for the financial tracking of all funding sources, serves as personnel/human relations liaison, manages physical operations, and fulfills a major role in fundraising.
Originally a volunteer mentor, Pam shares from firsthand experience that “CIS CC brings adults–who are willing to show up, be accountable and pass on this example—in contact with kids of promise. I believe that we are here because there were adults along the way who believed in us.”
Shirille Lee, Director of Mentoring Services
Phone Extension: 404
Shirille Lee first became involved with CIS CC as a volunteer mentor, going on to serve on the Board of Directors before coming on board full-time as a staff member in 1998. In that time she has served in a variety of positions, from Governor’s One-on-One Coordinator to Volunteer and Youth Services Coordinator, bringing her infectious enthusiasm to every task.
In her current mission as Mentoring Director, she is guided each day by a favorite quote from an unknown source: “To the world, you are one person—but to one person, you could be the world.” Shirille is the proud mother of two lovely, lively foster-to-adopted daughters.
Gwen Overturf, Community Service & Restitution Program Coordinator
Phone Extension: 406
For 30 years, Gwen has been working and playing with “young’uns.” Her first experience as a kindergarten assistant teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory School – while earning her Masters in Education – started the ball rolling.
After 10 years of teaching at an alternative school in North Chatham, Gwen grabbed the opportunity to work at CIS CC as a teacher at Chatham New School. After that, she co-coordinated the Graduation Project program as she matched high school seniors with mentors to guide them towards completion of their Graduation Project. The sheer determination and dedication of Chatham mentors towards their students served as a beacon to her throughout this project.
Gwen is continually seeking out work service opportunities for youth who have committed a crime and youth volunteers for Teen Court. Gwen looks forward to continuing to weave the Chatham adult community with Chatham youth into relationships that promote discovery and success. Gwen feels this is a wonderful way to continue her connection with youth and their families.
Maria Soto, Family Advocate
Phone Extension: 405
It has long been said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Twenty years ago, it was necessary for Maria Soto to become a very inventive mother indeed in order to successfully advocate for her own child’s individual needs within the school system. It wasn’t long before friends and neighbors began to come to Maria seeking her help fortheir children…and she found herself set upon a lifetime path of family advocacy.
Having joined the agency in 2006, Maria coordinated the Hablando Claro/Plain Talk Program. She continues to serve Chatham’s Latino community in her role as Family Advocate, combining her passion for its mission with generous helpings of patience and persistence.
Tych Cowdin, Student Support Specialist, Chatham Middle School
Phone Extension: 408
Joining our team in 2014, Tych will divide his time between Chatham Middle School and program development and expansion support in the agency. Tych arrived in North Carolina just over four years ago from Topeka, Kansas after completing his Masters of Business Administration at Washburn University. Tych has held a wide variety of roles throughout his professional career, and joins the CIS of Chatham County team after two years as an Operations Assistant with the University of North Carolina football team. Tych has been a teacher, coach, and mentor, and is excited for the opportunity to utilize his people skills and passion for community development by joining our team. In his free time, you can find Tych firing up the grill, playing with his 9 year old pitbull named Slim, and enjoying the outdoors.
Bieisy Santiago, Program Assistant for Familiy Advocacy
Bieisy Santiago has lived in Chatham County all her life. She graduated from Jordan-Matthews High School in June 2014. She is currently enrolled in Randolph Community College pursuing her education in Human Service Technology. As a new addition to the CIS team, Bieisy is Program Assistant for Family Advocacy. “ I have always wanted to help out other people since when I was young because I wanted to return the favor that other people gave me when I needed the help.”
Geovanni Parroquin, Teen Court Program Coordinator & Community Service & Restitution Program Assistant
Phone Extension: 403
Geovanni has lived in Chatham County almost his entire life, moving here from California at the age of three. He graduated from Jordan Matthews High School in Siler City in June of 2011. Upon graduating he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Johnston Scholar. Geovanni remained involved in the Siler City community via the Scholar’s Latino Initiative as a mentor, Site Coordinator, and Co-Director. As a student at UNC Geovanni was a staunch advocate for higher education for underrepresented and underprivileged groups. Today he brings his experience as a student, mentor, and advocate to CIS Chatham County in hopes of motivating minority youth to follow the path to higher education. “My privilege has been that I am underprivileged, and in that respect I can relate to the people I wish to help.”
Jazmin Mendoza Sosa, Student Support Specialist, Virginia Cross Elementary
Phone Extension: 413
After moving from Mexico to Chatham County, Jazmin Mendoza Sosa grew up in Siler City and graduated from Jordan Matthews High School. Jazmin Mendoza Sosa moved to Raleigh to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Meredith College. Being first generation college student and the oldest of three siblings, she is committed to providing support and information to families to foster the importance of education. As young professional, she hopes her contribution as a staff will benefit those families in need and contribute to improving the quality lives of Siler City children. Jazmin Mendoza Sosa wants to led to by example and strongly believes if you believe you can do it, you can do it.
“Querer es Poder!”
Brooke Simmons, Events Coordinator
Phone Extension: 336-963-6153
For 25 years Brooke Simmons has been in customer service. She has always enjoyed being of service to others especially when helping them to celebrate happy occasions. Her past job included staffing, organizing catering menus, managing an 8 bedroom B&B and overseeing wedding/private events for up to 250 people. She was also in charge of the Inn’s social media and sales. You may know Brooke from her current job as Manager, Events Coordinator, and Barista at Courtyard Coffee and Soda Cafe in downtown Siler City.
Brooke Simmons loves her community; and it has always been an aspiration of hers to be able to help CIS in their endeavors to help give a leg up to those who need to be uplifted. “I look forward to helping CIS promote the work that they do as well as making this year’s fundraising event the most successful event to date.”