Our Team


Amanda Sappa

CEO & President

Amanda Sappa joined the CIS-TC team as CEO in January 2019.  She has over 15 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.


Mary Vang

Site Coordinator

Humboldt High School

Mary Vang is a certified family life educator, with a passion to seek out families or individuals of need and building fruitful relationships. Mary has worked in a variety of social service settings and has partnered with different agencies to achieve self-sufficiency for families. She is honored to embark on this new journey and looks forward to what CIS can do for the Twin Cities.


Desiree' Payne

Site Coordinator

American Indian Magnet School

Desiree’ Payne is the new site coordinator for Community In Schools of the Twin Cities.  She was formerly a school assessment coordinator with Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) at Washington Technology Magnet.  Desiree’ worked in many capacities while working in SPPS for 30 years.  She has worked with adults with special needs, teen moms groups, adjudicated youth programs, and been an adult and youth employment counselor.  Desiree’ hopes to bring many of her career experiences to CIS as well as learn from the intrinsic CIS model.


Kel O'Leary

Site Coordinator

Hastings High School

Kel 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.


Colby Owens

Site Coordinator

Creative Arts Secondary School

Colby Owens joined the CIS-TC team in August 2019. "My name is Colby Owens and I'm originally from Newfolden,  MN. I moved to Moorhead, MN to attend Moorhead State University of Minnesota, where I obtained my Bachelors of Social Work. During my time at MSUM I worked for the YMCA as a lead afterschool counselor, where I was eventually promoted to an afterschool program director. Soon after graduation I worked as a counselor at a juvenile detention center. In July of 2018 my wife and I moved briefly to Charlotte NC, where I was working as a behavioral technician at a youth crisis center. We have recently moved back to Minnesota and are very excited for new beginnings and opportunities."


Kateri DeShaw

Site Coordinator

Hastings Middle School

Kateri moved to the Twin Cities in 2019 after first serving as a AmeriCorps youth service member and then working as a Program Coordinator for Girl Power with the YWCA. She most recently worked as a Youth Support Specialist with the YWCA St. Paul. She is excited to join the Communities In Schools team and to be working within all facets of student and school support to create positive outcomes. Her hobbies outside of work are taking nature walks/hikes with her family, yoga and dancing.