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Our Staff and Board

Our Staff

Director
Jennifer Summers

Raised in Louisville Kentucky, Jenn has lived or worked in Over-the-Rhine for 26 years. She has learned from lifetimes of Over-the-Rhine residents working for our city, raising children, tending elders and committed to building just community. Formally trained as an educator and practically raised up in activism, she feels blessed each day to be in a space of continual learning and fighting for what’s right. She loves storytelling, sitting on stoops and porches and cooking and eating with friends. When she’s not working with neighbors for justice, she might be riding her bike, hanging out with her partner or being outsmarted by her beautiful children. Two of her favorite changemakers are Angela Davis and Zora Neale Hurston.


Community Education Coordinator
Jennifer Arens

(513) 621-5514 ext. 15

A transplant from the Boston area, Jenn has lived in Cincinnati since 2014. She loves learning, every day, from wise people who challenge power to do what is right, and she is deeply grateful to have a job that allows her to dig into social justice with people of all ages and backgrounds. She thoroughly enjoys sing-a-longs, puns, and Wikipedia, and she will be your best friend if you watch women’s soccer with her. She’s inspired by activists like Audre Lorde and Dorothy Day.


Custodian
Larry Fogle

Larry was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Over-the-Rhine. He loves spending time with his family and is always working to make himself a better person. Larry’s favorite pastimes include watching TV, action movies, and horror movies, and listening to R&B and gospel music. His favorite changemaker is Kehinde Wiley.


Receptionist
Patience Fuller

Patience was born in Cincinnati and raised in the West End, with Over-the-Rhine in her backyard. She loves to travel and make the most of time with family and friends. She has shaped many young lives as a toddler teacher, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Patience is also a published author and has served many years as a senior board member of the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center.


Communications Coordinator
Liz Gottmer

(513) 621-5514 ext. 10

Liz is a Cincinnati native who is passionate about equitable education and housing for everyone from everywhere. She is a member of MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, and loves breakfast, learning languages, and walking with her dog Lou. Her favorite changemaker is Malala Yousafzai.


Program Outreach Coordinator
Megan Hague
(513) 621-5514


Risers Lead Teacher
Rachel Hollins

Rachel Hollins is the lead teacher for the Risers program, which started in 2021. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Rachel takes a personal interest in local issues especially pertaining to youth. She is formally trained as a social studies educator for grades 7-12. However, as a masters’ student (currently) she has focused on social and emotional learning (SEL). Rachel is inspired by June Jordan and James Baldwin.


Peaslee Kids Lead Teacher
Kristin Miller


Girls Writing Circle Facilitator and Community Organizer
Joele Newman
(513) 621-5514 ext. 17

Joele is a new Cincinnati resident hailing from Springfield, Illinois, who is passionate about combating racism, equitable education and youth empowerment. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and enjoys volunteering with their youth programs. She loves listening to 90s R&B, reading new books, and watching basketball. Her favorite changemakers are Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer.


Piano Teacher
Sr. Terry Thorman, SC

We’re hiring! See details about our Piano Program Coordinator position.

Our Board

Bonnie Neumeier
Board Co-Chair, Co-Founder of Peaslee

Bonnie is a community activist, a teacher, a storyteller, a poet, a listener, and one who includes everyone. She is one of the women who founded Peaslee, the Drop Inn Center, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, and the Over-the-Rhine People’s Movement.

Yet beyond Bonnie’s many accomplishments in fighting for affordable housing and basic human rights, her integrity, untiring efforts, and compassion to include and nurture the voices of those who get dismissed has impacted countless families and individuals.

Bonnie was the recipient of the individual “Building Our Beloved Community” Award given by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing at their annual Celebrating Our Beloved Community event on September 26, 2019.


Amy Howton
Board Co-Chair

Amy Howton is a mama of three and works as a coach, consultant, and teacher in the areas of spiritual leadership, racial healing, and community building; currently, she serves the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio as the Becoming Beloved Community Coordinator. Peaslee stands as a constant source of inspiration in their radical commitment to love and justice, together.


Dr. Bob Donovan
Board Treasurer

“Dr. Bob” is a family physician with the Health Care for the Homeless Program who’s lived and worked in Over-the-Rhine for over 30 years. He is also a Marianist Brother.

Bob feels that the vision and mission of Peaslee fits well with his personal hopes for all the people of Over-the-Rhine.


Chris Heckman
Board Secretary

Chris is co-owner of Losantiville Ltd, a design collective, and he has over 15 years’ experience in product development. He lives with his wife, Kristen, and their children, Otto and Flora, on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. Chris helped found the Cincinnati chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, in order to build political will for putting a price on carbon. “Greening” Peaslee’s building is a personal goal for Chris.

As a member of Losantiville, he creates sustainable products under the brand ‘Hood Ornaments, using reclaimed wood from Over-the-Rhine buildings and designs inspired from the neighborhood’s architecture. He has served on Peaslee’s board since 2011, believing service to others is a critical element of social justice, personal growth and fulfillment.


Elizabeth Burnside

Though originally from Chicago, Elizabeth has discovered a deep sense of purpose and community in her years in Cincinnati. She serves as a Community Mentor in Peaslee’s community education program, and as an Over-the-Rhine resident has played a leadership role in the Keep Our Courts/Do Development Differently coalition. Elizabeth has a background in early childhood education, and has been working for the last five years in the Imani after-school program at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, where she is also a dedicated volunteer in the Parent Resource Center. She is a recent graduate of Chatfield College with an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. Her hope for the community is that they realize they can make it in life no matter their situation. Elizabeth’s endless desire to learn and deep well of compassion are life-giving resources at Peaslee and beyond.


Tia Sherée Gaynor

Tia Sherée Gaynor, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, Founding Director of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation and Taft Professor of Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on the unjust experiences that individuals at the intersection of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation have when interacting with systemic racism and social hierarchy in public administration. She holds a Ph.D. and MPA from the School of Public Affairs and Administration, at Rutgers University – Newark. She received her BA in Psychology from Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Additionally, Dr. Gaynor holds a Diversity Management Certification from the University of Houston’s International Institute for Diversity.

Dr. Gaynor recognizes that the scholarship and practice of public administrators can either serve as promoters of equity and justice or facilitators of injustice for underrepresented and marginalized populations. Her work is committed to not only recognizing this juxtaposition but offering strategies to foster healing, justice, and equity in the field.


Mark Samaan

Mark is a transit service planner for Cincinnati Metro and resident of Northside. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Urban Studies from Tufts University and a Master’s of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati. He is a near life-long Cincinnatian and co-founder of the Better Bus Coalition, which worked to improve the bus system around riders’ needs and demand investment in the local public transportation system. His work and interests in transportation as well as housing are centered around designing an equitable city for longtime residents and newcomers alike. Mark also serves on the Northside Community Council as the Membership Secretary.


Ed Slater

Ed Slater is a longtime neighborhood resident and lives just around the corner from Peaslee on Main Street. Ed works for the Center for Respite Care in the newly formed St. Anthony Center at Liberty and Republic. The Center for Respite Care is a 24/7, 20 bed medical facility providing medical care and case management to folks experiencing homelessness and need a place to recover after a stay in the hospital.

Ed and his partner, Stephen, share their place with three dogs – Charlie, Juliet, and Ramiro. Long walks through the neighborhood are always delightful, especially a trip to the dog park in Washington Park. Activities outside of work include singing with the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus and volunteering as a mural tour guide for ArtWorks.


Christopher Wilkey

Chris is faculty at Northern Kentucky University. In addition to his duties as a Peaslee board member, he co-directs the Over-the-Rhine Community Writing Collaborative, a partnership between Peaslee and NKU’s Department of English. The Collaborative promotes writing activities that honor and celebrate the voices of OTR residents and workers that have often been denied a space in public discourse and policy-making.

Chris also pursues ways for others to share their voice. Chris is the embodiment of everything Peaslee wants for Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati… thoughtfulness of others and pride in your roots.