Meet our dedicated After School Discovery Staff
Executive Director/ Finance Director
In the fall of 1994, four people, myself included, began conversations of how all children should be able to receive enrichment opportunities beyond the school day - and so began After School Discovery. I have been with ASD ever since.
After graduating from Ashtabula High School I graduated from Kent State Ashtabula with an Associate in Business Administration and then from Akron University with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Following a short time in theatre management and then in a political campaign office, my husband Rick, and I began our family. Once my three children were in elementary school and I saw the need for after school programming it became my passion - second after the passion for my family!
Now that our children are grown into wonderful adults, we spend our extra time traveling to see them, thankfully two of them are only around the block! So between my inspiring parents, my children and grandchildren, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Zonta Club of Ashtabula and of course After School Discovery, my life is full of adventures and blessings.
Huron Discovery Cove Director/Administrator
Kristyna “Krisia” Keenan has been with ASD since 2006.
She has a varied background of work and life experiences, which has prepared her for her position as Site Administrator at Michigan Primary for Discovery Cove, AACS Elementary Campus.
Krisia brightens each day with her smile along with her appreciation and encouragement to all she works with. Her artistry skills make her one of the student’s favorite enrichment classes, but she brings her passion for children and learning to all the programs at Discovery Cove. As one of her former workmates expressed: “Krisia has a wonderful rapport with children, demonstrating a friendly and encouraging manner. I see smiling faces of children who are feeling proud and successful about their accomplishments because Krisia has opened up the world of art to them in such a wonderful way.”
Becca has enjoyed working for ASD since the fall of 1995!
After graduating from Edinboro with her Masters in Fine Arts, Becca was interested in giving back to her new community of Ashtabula. After School Discovery was the perfect fit, with her degree and love of children. Originally, Becca was brought on as an art instructor and as ASD grew, became the visual arts coordinator.
As years passed and the children’s needs in Ashtabula changed, her role at ASD has evolved and currently she is the program coordinator for both the Strive 4 Success and 21st Century programs at the Ashtabula Area Elementary campus.
“I love working with the children of this community, fostering relationships that are both supportive and challenging and providing families with opportunities and enriching experiences that they would not otherwise have access to”. “There is so much potential in Ashtabula, my hope is that ASD can continue to adapt to the needs and bring out the best in our students and parents”.
I graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts with a general Music degree - with piano as my emphasis. Just don't ask me to play anymore!
I have been a part of the After School Discovery team since 2008 managing most of the data collected for our various programs. I take care of attendance, collect grades and handle the billing for our Discovery Cove and Kinder Cove Programs.
Reading is very much a part of my every day! My whole life I have been an avid reader, and was quite proud to be one of the top summer readers at my local library when I was 9 years old. I loved the "Little House on the Praire" books, solved many mysteries with "Nancy Drew." and escaped to Prince Edward Island with the "Anne of Green Gables" series. I was fortunate to vacation to Prince Edward Island a few years back to enjoy the beauty of the area written about in the books.
My free time is spent quilting - making quilts, teaching how to quilt, planning quilting retreats...you name it, if it's quilting, I've probably tried it; and knitting socks! I have made over 100 pairs so far. I have quite a fabric and yarn collection to use up in the next 50 years. I have started learning how to dye yarn so I continue to play with colors more and more.
Club 212 Program Managers
Club 212 Co-Program Director
I am Debbie VanGorder, or "Ms. V", as the kids call me. I was born in Cleveland, raised in Mentor, but chose Ashtabula as my home in 1992! I graduated from Notre Dame Academy and have an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Lakeland Community College. My double major there was Language Arts and Psychology. I was studying for a degree in Special Education, but life got in the way! It is something I still want to finish.
Family is the most important focus in my life! My husband, David, and I have raised 7 children, all of whom attended AACS. I have 3 beautiful granddaughters. My family lives from New York to Phoenix, Arizona.
Picking a favorite book is difficult. I LOVE to read! I love Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It is the first novel I remember reading way back in third grade. But my all time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It's a great story about childhood innocence, prejudice, and integrity.
I have been with ASD since 2004. I am forever grateful for the opportunities ASD has given me! I started with the Celebrate Program at Chestnut Elementary, moved to McKinsey, then to Lakeside Intermediate. I have worked at Club 212 at Lakeside Junior High over 5 years. I have worn many hats at ASD: Celebrate, Club 212, Strive 4 Success, Discovery Cove, Waterways Day of Learning, and have even done inventory! I have learned and grown so much in my ASD career!
Making connections with kids is my favorite part of the job! Working with such loving, dedicated, compassionate staff is a close second! I look forward to a brand-new adventure as the Co-Director of Club 212. Together with my friend and colleague, Stacy Gancos, we hope to make Club 212 the best it has ever been!!
Club 212 Co-Program Director
I am a 7th grade Language Arts Teacher for Ashtabula Area City Schools. I graduated from Youngstown State University in 1999 and started teaching as a 4th grade teacher at Washington Elementary. I made the move to the Junior High in 2008 and I absolutely love working with the junior high students. I have a Master's in the Art of Teaching and am currently working on an Inclusive Classroom Teacher Certificate.
I started working for After School Discovery around 2004 while at Washington Elementary and participating in the Waterways program. After that, I taught Fun with Food, after school as a part of the Celebrate program! I loved it and the interaction I got to have with the students outside of the normal school day. I fell in love with the program and all of the opportunities it offered the children in the Ashtabula Area City Schools.
I have been an instructor for After School Discovery ever since then and I have worked for Celebrate in the elementary schools and then Club 212 in the Junior High. I have also worked for the summer programs for the past several years.
It would be impossible for me to name a favorite book, but I do have several favorite authors, such as; Sharon G Flake, Alan Sitomer and Paul Volponi. Their books are very high interest and can "hook" even the most reluctant readers. I take it as a personal challenge when a student tells me they do not like reading. Everyone loves to read, some have just not found the right book yet!
I have been married for almost 30 years and have 2 amazing adult sons, Eddie and Tyler. I am fortunate enough to have hundreds of other kids who I claim as "my kids" through my years of teaching. Teaching is not a job, it is a lifestyle and I love everything about it!
I spend my free time taking long walks, reading, spending time with my very loud Italian family and doing anything that involves being outside.
I love being a part of After School Discovery and I look forward to what the future brings.