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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

DJ MERNICK
Interim President

D.J. joined the board of R3 in 2017. He owns his own construction company and is serving as a construction advisor on the board as well as a general contractor for the organization. His business-minded service brings such value to R3's operations and mission. He has a deep love for the Lord and a humble heart to use his gifts to make a difference in the lives of others. 

JOHNATHAN TATE
Treasurer

Anchor 1

SHIRLEY SIMMONS

Secretary

Shirley has extensive experience in human resources management and labor relations and is currently serving as the Director of Labor & Employee Relations for St. Louis Community College. Shirley has a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Central Missouri.  Shirley loves being a resource whenever and wherever she can. Seeing others excel and find purpose and passion in their lives gives her great satisfaction.

Meet The Team: Meet the Team
Anchor 2
Anchor 2

Johnathan is a STEM teachers at the local SIUE Charter High School in East St. Louis and has served on R3’s board since 2016. He is a member of several associations including the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, National Science Teacher Association, National Education Association, Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Professional Staff Association. Johnathan’s extensive passion and expertise as a teacher serving under-resourced youth, is a tremendous gift to R3.

BRIAN STANLEY

Anchor 3

Brian is a real estate agent and a dynamic advocate for R3. He is serving R3 as a housing development advisor on the board. He assists in property acquisition and sales within East St. Louis as well as the surrounding communities. His experience is extremely helpful to the housing element of R3.

JAZLYN STANCIEL

Jazlyn grew up in the heart of south St. Louis. After graduating from Webster Groves High School, Jazlyn attended Hanover College to pursue her degree in Theology and Sociology. After earning her bachelor's degree in 2017, she attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In 2019 she graduated with her master's degree in professional school counseling. She began her career in East St. Louis shortly after graduating. For the first two years of her education career, she worked as a Jobs for America's Graduates Specialist at the Wyvetter Younge Alternative School. In this role, Jazlyn recognized her passion for preparing students for life after high school. Jazlyn is enthusiastic about teaching topics such as professional presence, communication skills, employability skills, and financial literacy. From this role, Ms. Stanciel transitioned on to become the Career Pathways Supervisor for District 189 in 2021. In this role, Jazlyn coordinates college and career readiness engagement activities for the whole school district. Jazlyn is currently a board member for R3 and the Illinois Coalition for Community Service Board. 

EDITH LAKTZIAN

Edith is a Special Education Coordinator for SIUE East St. Louis Charter School and has her roots in the East St. Louis having attended District 189 and graduating from East St. Louis High School and then continuing as an educator in the community after completing college.  Edith earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from SIUE, a Master’s degree in Christian Education from Piedmont College and is currently working to complete her doctorate in the Christian Education.  Edith has over 30 years of experience as an educator from the pre-school level through adult education.  She considers herself to be a team player and is passionate about educating the “whole student” by ensuring all needs are being met through the various services offered.

CARISSA STERLING

Carissa is a litigation attorney at Carmody MacDonald P.C. in St. Louis, Missouri. She practices predominantly in Missouri at the state and federal level, but also has some experience practicing in Illinois. She received her Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Spanish, magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University. As a native of the metro east area, she has a heart to give back to the surrounding community. Carissa and her husband are currently raising their family in Belleville, IL.

BRIAN WOODWARD
Co-Founder / Emeritus Board Member

Brian began working with East St. Louis youth in July 2012 as Director of Operations of Rebirth: East St. Louis. While working at Rebirth, Brian loved creating life-changing experiences for youth that shed light into their identities, strengths, and desires for the future. In February 2015, he helped create R3, and served as the Executive Director for three years, so that youth in East St. Louis would have more opportunities to gain meaningful work experience while rebuilding their own community. Brian has corporate experience in marketing and organizational structure and strategy. He also has experience in overseeing organizational staff and programs, developing youth through academics, character and spiritual development, and life skills training.

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