Daniel M. Reitz: Board Chairperson
I grew up in rural western New York and studied at Salem University in West Virginia for a degree in Youth Agency Administration with plans to become a professional Boy Scout executive. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout and earned the Vigil Honor, Order of the Arrow. Though I never went into Scouting as a profession I have spent the last 27 years working with a number of nonprofit groups in staffing capacities ranging from community organizing, fundraising, economic development and staff/volunteer training. Today I am with Wash. Co. Council on Economic Development as their Executive Director. I divide my leisure time between Wash., Pa. and Silver Spring, Maryland, where my partner of ten years currently lives.
Alexandra Lynn, Board Co-Chairperson
I grew up in Central Pennsylvania and studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, I am the Ion Exchange Product Manager for Calgon Carbon Corporation in the Municipal Business Unit. I have been involved in the LGBTQ+ community for several years and currently serve on the Boards for the Pittsburgh Equality Center (formerly GLCC) and The Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society (ReelQ). I am a member of the PFLAG Speaker’s Bureau as well the Events Committee at the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance and am an active member at Dignity Pittsburgh. I also attend service at First Presbyterian Church 1793 in Washington, PA and East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. I have volunteered for two years at the Pittsburgh Fisher House for families/friends of veterans who are receiving care at the VA Hospital. My passion is outreach to support and advocate for those in the LGBTQ+ community, especially our youth and young adults.
Jennifer R. Newman, Board Secretary
I am the Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at Sixth Presbyterian Church in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications from West Liberty University and am an Associated Certified Christian Educator with the PC (U.S.A.). I am a co-founder of the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance and have served as a volunteer facilitator with the group since its beginning. I have served on a variety of Boards for community organizations and serve two terms as a board member for the Avella Area School District.
Kenneth W. Neundorf, Treasurer
Having grown up in Washington I am well aware of how lonely and isolated it can be in a rural community and not having anywhere to turn. I am very happy to be a part of the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc. I am a public school teacher with over 30 years of experience. I am a founding board member of GLSEN Pittsburgh, and have been the treasurer for 10 years. I also helped start a PFLAG Chapter in Washington. I serve as the local convener of ReconcilingWorks:Lutherans for Full Participation (Formerly Lutherans Concerned).
Kathleen M. (Kathy) Cameron, Volunteer Executive Director
It has been my pleasure to co-found and have advised the Washington County Gay Straight Alliance of youth since its inception in Nov., 2005 to date. I served on the Board of Directors of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Pittsburgh from 2007-2013, with the mission of safety in the schools K-12 for all students. My passion lies in providing a safe, confidential environment for LGBT and questioning youth and their allies. I also feel strongly about providing youth (and their parents) resources so that they are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy in their homes and schools. After working within the LGBTQA community it has become apparent that there is more programming and opportunity that is needed for all ages in Washington County and surrounding areas. We are excited about growing WCGSA, Inc. services in our permanent, welcoming home in The CENTER on Strawberry.
I am a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing. I am currently employed as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department of Canonsburg General Hospital. I am also a member of the Board of Directors for the Elmhurst Swim Club and the Washington Symphony Orchestra and a member of First Presbyterian Church 1795 in Washington, PA. My husband, John, and I are the proud parents of Emmett who is currently a student at American University in Washington, DC. Emmett was selected as the 2011 GLSEN National Student Advocate of the Year.
Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski:
I founded The Washington Hospital Teen Outreach in 1988. My undergraduate education is in nursing and education, my master’s work was in counseling, and my doctorate is in education. I began volunteering with pregnant teens in 1976 and have created numerous youth development and education programs using reality-based, interactive educational techniques that are evidence-based and empower youth. Teen Outreach programs have reached over 230,000 youth in all 14 Wash. Co. school districts. I direct a monthly Adolescent Advisory Board of 75 teens, maintain an active peer educator group (since 1995), and produce teen educational dramas through the Real Talk Performers. The Outreach’s Ambassador for Respect Program was created in 2006 and models respect for youth throughout the county. I co-founded the first GSA in Wash. Co. in 2005. The Outreach has run the Common Ground Teen Center since 2008. My primary mantra is Every young person is a person of worth.
Jaden Christopher Rhys:
On a journey to grow and learn to accept myself, I have become a student of the healing arts. Currently, I am working towards certification in massage therapy. I am greatly involved in the recovery community and with my experience of surviving the trauma of domestic violence, PTSD, and addiction, I have grown a great passion for self empowerment and self care. I am learning that in order to give the best of myself I have to be at my best.
I graduated from Abington Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and obtained my MSN, CRNP from LaRoche College. From 1999 to 2007 I worked as a Nurse Practitioner at Adagio Health providing health care to under and uninsured women in Washington PA. Adagio served a very large teen population. I worked as a Nurse Practitioner / Research Coordinator in Reproductive Infectious Disease Research at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC from 2007 to 2016. I am currently a Nurse Practitioner at Central Outreach Wellness Center which is a practice is focused on providing culturally competent health care to the LGBTQIA community.
I am the Transition Age Care Coordinator for the Healthy Transitions Grant program at AMI, Inc. I have provided case management, supports coordination, and crisis intervention services to various populations throughout southwestern PA. I graduated from East Tennessee State University with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Social Work. After graduation, I served two terms with AmeriCorps and completed over 3500 hours of community service. Currently, I am pursuing my M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. It’s my ultimate goal to become a therapist for youth and young adults and to specialize in issues of gender and sexuality. In addition to WCGSA, I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Center for Coalfield Justice.
Carla Valentine Myers
Carla grew up in Franklin County, Pa., but has lived in Western Pennsylvania since 1999. She has been on the Events/Movies Committee for the WCGSA, Inc., since fall of 2017. Carla previously volunteered in the LGBT community in the mid 1990s with a group in York County, Pa., that provided assistance and support to persons living with HIV-AIDS. She is a past president of the Friends of Citizens Library. Carla was a newspaper editor for more than a dozen years in York County, Pa., and then a free-lance newspaper writer for 15 years in Western Pennsylvania. Carla works in the library at Washington & Jefferson College, where her wife (Candy DeBerry) is a Professor of Biology.