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Jen Casselberry, Director of Operations

Jen moved to Philadelphia to serve with Mission Year in 1998 after graduating from Asbury University with a degree in English. She then joined staff and eventually relocated to Chicago. She loves living in the city because there is always something to do, especially living near a lake. She is an avid runner, artist, and coffee drinker! You can find Jen on Twitter.


Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director

Shawn felt a call to the city while at Asbury Theological Seminary. He joined Mission Year staff in 2004. He met his wife Jen on their college cross-country team and they have been joyfully married for 12 years. He is a songwriter, guitar player, and a drummer. He works with a youth drumline in his community of North Lawndale. He is an ordained minister and working on a Doctor of Ministry degree in Building Beloved Community from McCormick Theological Seminary. Connect with Shawn on Twitter. Invite Shawn to speak.



Ashleigh Hill, Development Director

Ashleigh moved in Chicago in 2009 to join Mission Year in East Garfield Park and has lived in the city ever since. She has a BA in Public Relations from Messiah College, an MA in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University, and spends an inordinate amount of time eating pie and reading. Ashleigh is passionate about promoting holistic discussion about gender and Christianity. You can follow Ashleigh on Twitter.

Chris Lahr, Academic Director

Chris has lived in Philadelphia since 2000 and loves his life in the city. He helps to run Timoteo, a flag football league for youth mentoring. He and his wife Lara and their three daughters are active at Iglesia del Barrio and the Simple Way. Chris attended Eastern University and Asbury Theological Seminary. Chris writes, travels and speaks, and instructs the Theology of Poverty class for Mission Year Academics. Talk with Chris on Facebook or Twitter. Invite Chris to speak.


ra at orientationRa Mendoza, Philadelphia City Director and Recruitment Coordinator

Ra did Mission Year in Philadelphia (09-10), and in 2011, served in Atlanta as an Alum Intern. She completed a graduate degree at Eastern University’s Campolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies in community development in 2013. She loves to write and play music, sit at coffee shops, and finger paint (she claims to be quite good). She has a life goal to meet Brandi Carlile. You can find Ra on Twitter.


Ruth Nakai, Chicago City Director

After working as a high school math teacher in Detroit, Ruth moved to Chicago in 2009 to do Mission Year. In 2013, she found her way back to Mission Year as staff. Although born and raised in Ohio, she attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a secondary math degree. Ruth enjoys daydreaming about her favorite foods, exploring the city with her husband Kenny, and working on mini-art projects.


Zach and Kate Pollard, Houston City Directors

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 2005, Zach worked four years with teenagers at a residential care facility before joining Mission Year’s pilot arts team in 2010. Kate graduated with degrees in English and Intercultural Studies from Houghton College in 2008 where she then worked as an admission counselor until moving to Texas to join the arts team.  By the time they completed Mission Year, they had not only fallen in love with the great city of Houston but also with each other. Outside of work and graduate school, the Pollards most enjoy exploring small coffee shops and used bookstores, new passport stamps, live music, their neighbor’s front yards and really good food.

Caz Tod-Pearson, National Program Director and Atlanta City Director

Caz heard Tony Campolo speak in her home country of New Zealand and decided to leave nine years of teaching and come to the States for Mission Year. Her mum still lives in NZ, her sister is in Australia, and her brother in Wales! She enjoys living in Atlanta because of the green space, southern hospitality, and amazing autumns. One of her favorite activities is taking her dog Libby to the park. You can also find Caz on Twitter.


Click here to meet our board members!