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Our Team

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Amanda Sappa

CEO & President

Amanda Sappa joined the CIS-TC team as CEO in January 2019.  She has over 20 years’ experience in youth program development and nonprofit administration.  She is passionate about designing programs that help youth succeed in every aspect of their lives.  Amanda earned her Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul MN in 2013.  She is a lifelong resident of Richfield MN, a devoted wife and mother, and enjoys travel and photography in her spare time.

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Kel O'Leary

Program Director

Kel has been with CIS for 3.5 years. She graduated from Bethel University with a degree in Communications. She has worked with teens and communities through various nonprofits over the last seven years. She is deeply passionate about creating meaningful relationships with young people in order to help them succeed in school and life.  Kel actively seeks out new and exciting ways to connect with young people.  Whether she was leading a dirt bike restorative justice program, on a week-long Boundary Waters camping trip for teens who have experienced trauma or leading a youth voice community art cohort, she believes in the value of connection. Kel is excited to bring her passion for relationships to CIS and to see the powerful impact it can have on students and the Hastings community.

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Alexa Kitral

Site Coordinator

Hastings Middle School

Alexa has been with CIS for 9 months come September, 2023. She graduated with her Bachelors in 2017 from Iowa State University with a degree in Child, Adult and Family Services. She continued on to get my Masters Degree from Iowa State in Family Consumer Science specializing in Youth Development and graduated in 2019. She has many years of experience working with youth and families in different settings. In her work experience she has learned and loved the importance of building relationships, supporting our youth and bringing communities together. She absolutely loves advocating and supporting youth to ensure they are set up for success and to help them every step of the way. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of youth. She loves working in a school setting as she gets the opportunity to help out in a wide variety of ways. Her favorite part about working with CIS is the connections she is able to make with her students. In her personal time, Alexa loves to bake, spend time with friends and family, and is always seeking new adventures. 

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Brandi Negron

Site Coordinator

Washington Technology Magnet School

Brandi is the Site Coordinator at Washington Tech Magnet School. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Urban Elementary Education from Metropolitan State University in 2013, her Master’s in Family Studies from Concordia University - St. Paul in 2020 and a MN K-6 Educators License in 2017. She has worked over 20 years to equip and encourage inner city youth and families, through education, volunteering and providing connections to community resources. She values family and enjoys spending time with her two children, her husband and two bonus daughters watching wrestling, swimming, going to the movies, taking walks around the lake, playing card games and cooking large family Sunday dinners.

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Miya Peach

Site Coordinator

American Indian Magnet School

Miya will have been with CIS for about 6 months in September, 2023 and is excited to continue working with youth at the American Indian Magnet School in Saint Paul. She  graduated in 2021 with a dual degree in non-profit administration and intercultural studies and for the past 5 years she has worked with youth in various settings including after school and camp based environments. She is passionate about providing safe spaces for students to thrive and succeed in. She is eager to continue to impact the lives of the youth she works with and support her school staff. In her personal free time she loves to go out with her friends discovering new places to dine at in the metro area. She also enjoys spending quality time with her family. 

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Linnea Morgen

Site Coordinator

Creative Arts Secondary School

Linnea has been with CIS for 1 year come September, 2023. She dedicated her professional career to ensuring youth have opportunities to thrive. It is important to her that youth are empowered to create lives inspired by their dreams. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls with a degree in Secondary Education. As a social studies teacher, Linnea felt limitations in her abilities to address the needs of her students. She recognized that many factors impacted student success, so she left the classroom to expand her influence as a program director at a group home for at-risk youth. Joining the team at CIS - Twin Cities is the prefect way for Linnea to combine her love of education with her desire to support the diverse needs of youth; she is beyond excited to begin this new journey. On a personal note, Linnea values time with family/friends, laughter, new experiences, and travel. She is the proud mother of two like-minded history buffs who can regularly be heard singing along to the Hamilton and Greatest Showman soundtracks.

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Kyna Levi

Site Coordinator

Hamline Elementary  School

Kyna comes to the CIS team fresh for the 2023-24 school year. She has over 20 years of experience working in the field of education in multiple facets.  She is passionate about including diversity, equity and inclusion into learning experiences and received a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from Mills College.  Recently she received a grant to write a DEI curriculum for preschool aged children.  She completed a Master of Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College and went on to serve as a senior educator for several summer camps. After that she taught English overseas living in Israel for 2 years.  Kyna is excited to bring all of her experiences in education as a student advocate and support. She grew up in the Hamline-Midway Midway neighborhood blocks from Hemline Elementary and is a long time resident of St. Paul Newell Parks area.  Kyna can’t wait to bring her passion and knowledge of her community into advocacy for students.  Outside of work, you’ll find her in her yard gardening and walking her dog around with me of several lakes within the metro. 

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Lydia Jagodzinski

Site Coordinator

Humboldt High School

Lydia is excited to be joining the team at Community in Schools this fall. She graduated with a degree in Child Development and Family Studies, as well as a certificate and Nonprofit Leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2020. through her work working in youth development programs for the last five years, She has a found passion for mentoring and making youth feel empowered to reach their fullest potential so she’s excited to do that at Humboldt High School! In her free time she enjoys participating in attending musical theater, and hanging out with friends 

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Tiara Arradondo-Hunter

Site Coordinator

Venture Academy

We welcomed Tiara to the team at the start 2024. She studied Sociology and Communication Studies at Hamline University from 2013 to 2017. She became a doula in 2022 and obtained her Community Health Worker certificate from Normandale Community College in 2021. She has experience working with underserved youth in high school and elementary schools as well as men with serious and persistent mental illnesses. Her passions include normalizing conversations about mental illness in BIPOC communities, finding community resources for clients, students, and family members, and serving people that are often overlooked. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, playing board/card games, watching movies, learning about astrology, and spending time with friends and family. 

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