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NEO Board & Staff

Welcome from our Director

Welcome to Neighbors' Educational Opportunities. I know that I speak for the entire NEO family when I say that we will do everything we can to support you on your journey to achieving your educational goals.  Our programs are designed to provide you with multiple opportunities and support systems to reach your destination.  

Neighbors' New Vistas Alternative High School and Neighbors Adult Education are built on the “Golden Rule” - Treat others as you would have them treat you.  With this principle as our guide, we pledge to recognize, respect, and celebrate the unique value of each member of our school community.  We look forward to getting to know each one of you.  Learning is maximized when a school culture is rooted in respect, responsibility, and commitment to learning.  At New Vistas, we provide a relevant and rigorous curriculum delivered in a way that allows each student to find success during the school year and along the path following graduation.  Individualized learning plans are an important part of the process.

I am here to assist you in your pursuit of the skills needed for success in this school, home, workplace, and in the community.  Please feel free to speak with me about any questions or concerns. Once again, welcome to your new school.  I am so glad you are here. 

- Rebecca Reiner, Executive Director NEO New Vistas HS and Adult Education

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Deborah Birch

President

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Marie Robinson

Treasurer

Marie is the Branch Manager of the Gary - Glen Park Branch for Centier Bank.  She was born and reared in East Chicago.  She attended St. Stanislaus School and graduated from Bishop Noll Institute.  She received her B.S. in Restaurant, Hotel & Institutional Management form Purdue University Calumet.  Marie wants the opportunity to help those who need an alternate learning environment in order to thrive.  NEO’s goals, through the Adult Education program and New Vistas High School align with hers because of her experience with the struggles her daughter endured while in school.   If she can help alleviate some of that hardship for someone else then she has accomplished her goal.  Sometimes the traditional school setting is not the correct fit for the student.  She wants to ensure there is more than one path to help someone become his or her greatest version of themselves.

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Paul Schreiner

Secretary

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Isaac Carr

Isaac is a local Attorney who believes that education is the best way to change our community for the better.  His passion is driven by his personal experiences with poverty which pushed him to gain the skills and knowledge to help others who seek to rise above their circumstances to reach their dreams.  The path to reaching those dreams begins with access to quality education and the opportunities to apply that education.  NEO, through its adult education program and New Vistas High School, provides such possibilities to change our community for the better.

Board of Directors

NEO is cutting edge in addressing issues of inequality through the medium of education. With an emphasis on diversity, individuality, and an effort to understand each student's personal strengths and obstacles, NEO works to provide each student a toe hold on a better future. I find that mission very appealing.  While I was recruited to provide my construction experience to advise during the remodeling of the new NEO building, with that work is largely done, I continue to see a role in helping to assure the success of the mission.

It has been an honor and a great experience to serve on the NEO board as its current president and a board member. The NEO vision aligns with my values as an educator for the past 5 decades. To help students remove barriers to completing their high school education and open doors to further education and career opportunities not only benefits the student but our community and society as a whole. The faculty and staff at NEO are dedicated and believe in the mission of this amazing organization. All contributing to its continued success.

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Mark Lutze

Based on a career that spanned forty years in education, I am aware that there are students whose educational needs are not well served in the traditional educational setting.  I am excited to work with fellow board members and the staff to provide an option for those students, complementing the good work done in the public schools. I believe that NEO serves to fill an important need in our community, and I look forward to work with the board to set direction and develop policies and that will help in making the organization thrive.

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Kimmie LaBarge

Kimmie LaBarge is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Ivy Tech Community College’s Valparaiso campus. She has been working in higher education since 2010. What she loves most about working for a community college is the accessibility it offers to those in her own community pursuing goals that will better themselves and their families. Her favorite day of the year is seeing students and families celebrate their hard work at the commencement ceremony!

 

Kimmie was part of the Valpo Chamber Leadership Academy’s Class of 2019 which inspired her to seek opportunities to engage as a leader in the community and join NEO’s board of directors in 2020. She also serves in music and women’s ministry leadership at her local church in Portage. She lives with her husband, Danny and bulldog, Winston in Chesterton

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Alicia Rios

Alicia is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Duneland Council #5016.  She has been a member of LULAC for 29 years.  A former LULAC National Vice President and the Immediate Past LULAC Vice President for the Elderly.  She is also a former member of the LNESC Board and a current member of The Military Service Academy Board under the direction of Congressman Peter Visclosky.  Growing up in East Chicago, Alicia attended East Chicago Washington High School and is a graduate of Bishop Noll Institute.  As a member of LULAC she is passionate about her service community efforts.  In a combined partnership with NEO and LULAC, and with her help, it was possible to have acquired the Ford Driving Dreams Grant, a 2 year educational STEM program.

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Marla Spann

 

For the past 30 years she has been employed at the East Chicago Public Library. November 13, 2017, Marla was appointed by the Board of Trustee as the first African American Director of the Library. She works part-time with Teens In Action/Dream Obtainers (TIA); which is a community social service organization, servicing participants in Northern Indiana and the Chicagoland area. She is Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Parenting Coach. Marla is also a Certified Life Coach. 

Marla is a strong advocate of quality education and strong proponent of life-long learning. She believes that the library is a place for the individuals seeking to develop themselves, and it is a place for family to learn and internalized the best values that the culture has to offer. She strives to provide the tools, opportunity and excellence that will lead to success --- INFORMATION & RESOURCES.

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Francis Vega
 

I serve on the Board of Directors to support initiatives that resonate with me. It provides an excellent opportunity to positively affect change while supporting what I am passionate about.  I am able to share my knowledge and expertise to really make a difference in the community in which I live.  Ultimately, I serve to support efforts in achieving the goals that aligns with my passion for education.  It is a uniquely rewarding experience.

Staff
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Bonnie Flint

Adult Education Teacher

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Melissa Alvarado

Receptionist

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Ms. Anderson

Para Educator

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Siara Burks

Communities in Schools Liaison

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Linnet Carpenter

Gary ABE Teacher

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Mary Lee Carr

HSE Testing

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Adrienne Carrol

Director of Adult Education

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Isis Castro

AM Aide

 

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Mr. Childress

Math

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Louise Claussen

School Nurse

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Mr. Cvelbar

Social Studies

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Jerry Czarnecki
Asst. Executive Director

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Mrs. Chandler-Felton

Social Worker

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Bonnie Flint

Adult Education Teacher

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Mrs. Fomby-Hunt

Online Learning Supervisor

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Felicia Freeman

Para Educator

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Ms. Grayer

Art

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Marsha Halford

Food Service

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Jennifer Jennings

Business Manager

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Charles Johnson

Custodian

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Patrick Kimbrough, Custodian

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Anita King

Adult Education Aide

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Teisha Knight

Compliance Officer

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Ken Knuppel

ESL Teacher

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Ms. Kochan

Science

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Ms. Lewis

Special Education Coordinator

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Angelica Moya

East Chicago, ABE Teacher
 

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Collin Majszak
IT Coordinator

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Leticia Munguia

Registrar

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Jermel Nelson

Business Teacher

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Pam Nelson

ESL Teacher

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James Pavelka

ABE Teacher

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Mr. Posavac

Math

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Dante Pryor

Principal, New Vistas

High School

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Ms. Reid

English

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Rebecca Reiner

Executive Director

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Clifton Rhodes

Director of School Safety

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Vera Roberts
Adult Education Administrative Assistant

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Ms. Rose

Guidance Counselor

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Ms. Schmidt

English

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Leah Senese

ABE Teacher

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David Shepherd

Adult Education

Evening Classes Teacher

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Latonia Thomas

Custodian
 

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Mrs. Valtierra

English & Spanish

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Daniel Mack Ward

ESL Inst. East Chicago

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Ms. D. Williams

ISS & Parent Liaison

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Debra Willis

Testing Proctor

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Rodney Willis

Custodial

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Adrienne Carrol

Director of Adult Education