SPARKPositivity™ delivers a comprehensive, research-based after-school program which engages young people in social-emotional learning and healthy lifestyles using a unique
MIND, BODY, SOUL model.
MEET OUR TEAM
My name is Michaela Foster and I am junior at the University of Nebraska Omaha. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Nursing and Black Studies. I am from Kansas City, Missouri and recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska. In my free time, I love to travel and spend time with my family. I am part of the Girls Inc SPARK team.
Hi! My name is Karolyn Roby and I am an Instructional Facilitator at Skinner Magnet Center. I have a Master's degree in Administration from Concordia University. I have also received my Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Science in Elementary Education from UNO. I have worked over 23 years in the Omaha Public School District. In my spare time I love to watch sports, read, sing, travel and listen to music. I developed the qualitative research method for SPARK, conduct the pre and post assessments and do all of the SPARK training. I am proud to be a member of the SPARKPositivity Team!
Assesments and Training
My name is Alexis Simpson. After graduating Valedictorian from Bellevue West, I began my studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. I am studying Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry. I love working with children and I hope to continue doing so as a pediatrician one day. I am part of the Girls Inc SPARK team.
Hello, I am Tori Dunston and I am currently a sophomore at University of Nebraska at Omaha studying Architectural Engineering. I participate in many clubs one being a dance troupe called KUUMBA. I am also UNO’s student government representative for the Library and Learning Resources Committee, and a member of Black Excellence. I am also a Noyce Intern which includes being a TA at UNO in Calculus and tutoring various maths at Metro. I am a very busy girl. But I enjoy learning new things and teaching others! I am part of the Kids Can Miller Park SPARK team.
Hello! My name is Catherine (Cathie) Bell and I joined the SPARK team in 2018. I work as a dean of students for OPS and have been in the district since 2009. I worked with young children for many years and I am glad to be with them again at Girls, Inc. I am the only girl in a house full of boys, so I enjoy spending time with these awesome, young ladies! Their energy is infectious and I look forward to working with them. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, eating, and watching movies with my boys. I am the teacher for the Girls Inc SPARK team.
My name is Aravia Woods. I am a sophomore at College Of Saint Mary in Omaha, NE. I am pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Education. My dream is to be a junior high teacher. I am passionate about making a difference in young girls lives through education, dance, and healthy living. I love to play basketball in my spare time. I am currently part of the Girls Inc SPARK team.
My name is Shawna Tate and I was born and raised in the Omaha area. I always knew I wanted to be an educator and after graduating from Omaha Burke, I pursued a BA in secondary education from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. One year after graduating, I obtained a MA in secondary education. I am a lifetime learner and continued my education at Concordia University where I received a MS in Educational Leadership. I am currently in my 10th year of teaching at Westside Middle School. In addition to teaching science, I also work as the program coordinator for the District’s TeamMates Mentoring Chapter. I enjoy working with children and challenging them to achieve at their highest potential.
Outside of the classroom, I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, Lexi (18) and Kinley (5). I am very creative and enjoy DIY projects. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, graphic design, and being challenge to try new things. I am excited to be a part of such an amazing SPARK Team, and I look forward to everything that it has to offer. I am lead teacher for the Kids Can Miller Park SPARK team.
Hello! My name is Morgan Swanson and I am a fourth grade teacher at Skinner Magnet Center. This is my fifth-year teaching and my first year with SPARK! I am thrilled to be a part of such an influential program that is just beginning on its path to helping so many young children in Omaha. I have always worked with kids and for the last 5 years I have worked in the service industry which has given me great communication experience. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, watching movies, being outdoors, and staying active! I am part of the Kids Can Miller Park SPARK team.
Hi! My name is Melissa Martinez Munoz and I am a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I am pursuing a major in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and baking all kinds of treats. I also volunteer at UNMC’s pediatric department and love every moment of it. Spending time with children just motivates me more to one day reach my goal of becoming a pediatrician. I am part of the Kids Can Gilder Elementary SPARK team
Hi, I'm Maddie Rheinheimer and I am a sophomore at KU earning a double major in Journalism and English with emphasis in Creative Writing. I have a passion for writing and sharing her stories with the world. Following my calling to write for a living, I published my first book in the fall of 2016, titled "Undefined". I was fortunate to travel the Omaha area and read to over 1000 elementary students while working on my second book. The second book, Project 105, was published in July of 2017. I plan to continue writing, publishing, and traveling the country sharing stories, opinions, and ideas with whoever will listen. Contact and Maddie's blog
Social Media Specialist
My name is Jenene Harvey and I am a 5th grade teacher at Skinner Magnet Center. I have lived in Omaha for the last 6 years by way of Kansas City, Missouri. I come from a huge extended family and have four children of my own. Being blessed with a large family has shown me the importance of kindness, mindfulness, and spreading joy when possible. Working with elementary students has given me the opportunity to help the next generation find purpose and discover an understanding and appreciation of spreading kindness and joy.
Hello my name is Carla White. I have 30 years of experience working with youth including youth with special needs as well as special needs adults. Adept at using positive reinforcement to teach techniques to encourage student behavior and growth. I look forward to bringing SPARKPositivity to the youth in the Omaha community.
My name is Maria Talty, and I am a fifth-grade teacher at Chandler View. I have been with the OPS district for 10 years. I received my Bachelor of Science in Education from UNO and Master of Education from Concordia University. I have also completed graduate work in mathematics through UNL. I love learning! In my free time, I enjoy watching sports, reading, watching movies, and spending time with my husband and dog. I am looking forward to becoming a part of the SPARK team. I am lead teacher for the Kids Can Gilder Elementary SPARK team.
Kathie Ferguson is a wife and busy mother of 5. She has a love and passion for helping children and has worked with kids in some capacity for the last 17 years. Kathie currently works for Omaha Public Schools as a PAC Facilitator at the elementary level. She enjoys the daily interaction with students and helping them learn how to make good decisions socially and academically in the classroom. Kathie’s background also includes starting and running both for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. Kathie is excited to be part of the SPARKPositivity team and looks forward to using her experience, creativity and knowledge to help SPARK shine!!
Hello, my name is Sasha E. Perry. I am a native of Omaha, Nebraska; and I prides myself on changing and inspiring young lives on a daily basis.After graduating from Omaha North High Magnet Center, I went on to attend Lincoln University, one of two HBCUs in the state of Missouri. There, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems. While matriculating through college I submerged myself in both campus and community activities including, The Lincoln University Dance Troupe, Student Government Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (Alpha Iota Chapter). I then went on to become the 87th Miss Lincoln University of Missouri 2011-2012. I hold my Master of Science in Education, with emphasis in STEM Education and Early Childhood from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I am currently a prekindergarten teacher at Conestoga Elementary where play-based learning helps my students succeed at their best. I am lead teacher for the Hope Center SPARK team.
Pastor Cavitt has been in Omaha 15 years and serves the North Omaha community passionately. She volunteers at Wakonda Elementary, Mt. View Elementary, and Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School. She is currently the President of North Omaha Area Health (NOAH) and the North Omaha Community Care Council, First Vice President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Vice President and Membership Chair of the Great Plains Black History Museum (GPBHM), a Power to End Stroke Ambassador, and host of KAPO/Channel 22 “For the Love of You.” Pastor P also sits on UNMC Board of Counselors, CHI-Immanuel North Omaha Community Council, Project Extra Mile Board, and My Sister’s Keeper Board, as well as the Executive Officer for Cub Scout Pack/Boy Scout Troop #362. She was also featured in the 1990 and 1992 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the “50 Leaders of the Future.”
Hello, I am Peggy Boone and I am a mother of 3. I have worked with children for the last 15 years and currently work for the Omaha Public School as a BIC/PAC Facilitator at Skinner Magnet School. I love to interact with the children by helping them stay positive and strive for greatness. I have an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. I am looking forward to this new adventure of joining the SPARKPositivity team and sharing my experience and knowledge in helping children. I am part of the Hope Center SPARK team.
Teri Rheinheimer is the heart behind SPARKPositivity. In January 2016 God put on her heart that she needed to form an organization that would activate empathy, empowerment and positivity in young people. Her vision for SPARKPositivity is centered on developing empathy and kindness for all youth in the world, so they can write their own destiny. Teri has a degree in International Marketing and has worked for Union Pacific Railroad and Inacom Corp. But her favorite role is her current role as CEO of the Rheinheimer household. Teri resides in Omaha Nebraska with her loving and supporting team - her awesome husband, three amazing children, her fun parents, four hairy big dogs and too many other animals to count.