Our Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team

We are “All-In” for providing the best start for our children

Next Door’s highly qualified team of more than 240 employees serve two early childhood center-based sites and a home visitation program offering prenatal services and early childhood education. In addition, our Child Care Partnership program features Next Door staff who support teachers and families at our 10 early childhood partnership sites in Milwaukee.

Our team includes classroom teachers, home-based parent educators, family advocates, special education and early intervention specialists, coaches, nutrition services, literacy and reading specialists and so many more.

The Milwaukee Business Journal honored Next Door as one of its 2020, 2021 and 2023 “Best Places to Work.” The program honors companies and organizations based on high rankings from employee surveys.

Click HERE to Join our Team.

Executive Leadership

  • Heather Mehring Grams

    Heather Mehring Grams

    President

    Heather Mehring Grams joined Next Door as President in January 2023. She has 20 years of experience in education, including 12 years as a school administrator.

    Most recently, Heather was principal at St. Sebastian School, a private Choice school located in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

    Heather brings additional experience and education including:

    • Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher
    • Youth Restorative Justice Program Coordinator
    • Hospital Chaplain
    • Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education
    • Master’s Degrees in Education Leadership and Pastoral Care and Counseling
    • PreK-12 Administrator’s License

  • Sheila Mayhorn

    Sheila Mayhorn

    Vice President of Human Resources

    Sheila's background in the non-profit sector, in both human resources and operations, has given her the opportunity to develop strong skills in strategy development, problem-solving, employee relations, DEI, and organization management.

    Sheila most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Human Resource Officer of the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, with a seven-year tenure at the organization.

    Previously she’s served in related roles at Columbia St. Mary’s, Outreach Community Health Centers (formerly Health Care for the Homeless of Milwaukee).

    Sheila has a Bachelor of Science in Communications, a Master's Degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and was enlisted in the United States Army.

  • Jeffery Grant

    Jeffery Grant

    Vice President of Finance and Administration

    Jeffrey Grant joined Next Door in October 2023 to lead our finance department. He brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit fiscal departments; including executive leadership positions at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, Kenosha Community Health Center, Milwaukee Center for Independence, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

    He has in-depth expertise in numerous administrative and financial functions; including accounting, audits, taxes, investments, budgets, human resources, payroll, benefits, insurance, contracts, compliance, technology, information systems, purchasing, fleet and facilities.

    He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and his Master’s Degree in Taxation; both at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Cristina Crogan

    Cristina Crogan

    Vice President of Development and Communication

    Cristina Crogan joined Next Door in 2017. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in development and communications to her current role.

    Prior to Next Door, she worked at the Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

    She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Marquette University and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Program Leadership

  • Jenna Heinen

    Jenna Heinen

    29th St. Campus Site Director

    Jenna Heinen joined Next Door in 2001 as a kindergarten teacher for the Charter School. Since then she has worked her way through various roles including Learning Coordinator, School Readiness Coach, Education Manager, Site Manager, and now Site Director.

    She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1999 from Lakeland College in Education. She also earned her Masters Degree in 2013 from Cardinal Stritch University in Reading and Learning Disabilities.

  • Latrease Whitley

    Latrease Whitley

    Capitol Dr. Campus Site Director

    Latrease Whitley joined Next Door in 2010 as a Parent Educator in the Early Head Start Home-Based program. She has since served as Home-Based Supervisor and Family Support Supervisor at Next Door's Capitol Dr. campus.

    She earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 2015 at Cardinal Stritch University.

    She has over 15 years of experience working with children and families in center-based and home-based programming. Her goal is to support all families and children with their child educational experience at Next Door and provide supportive services to enhance their quality of life.

    She looks forward to meeting and getting to know every child and its family as we collaborate for your child success.

    In her personal life, she enjoys attending her twin sons’ athletic events, playing video games and spending quality time with family.

  • Darlene Grant

    Darlene Grant

    Director of Childcare Partnerships

    Darlene Grant joined Next Door in 2015 and has served as a Childcare Partnerships (CCP) Family Support and Eligibility Supervisor as well as a Family Services Coach. She has 15+ years of experience in the Education and Human Services fields.

    She holds a Bachelor Degree in Business and Management and a minor in Pre-Law, English and Communication from Alverno College, a Master of Science Degree in Human Services and Organizational Leadership and Management from Springfield College, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from UW-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Work.

    Darlene’s "Why" is helping children, families and employees, both leaders and direct service staff, come into their full potential. Her passion lies in valuing all people while committing to a life of helping others thrive.

Administrative Leadership

  • Carolyn Porter

    Carolyn Porter

    Director of Operations

    Carolyn Porter joined Next Door in 2015. She began her service as Director of Operations in 2019, overseeing areas including facilities, maintenance and nutrition. She previously served as Senior Associate for the Executive Office and Board Relations.

    Carolyn has nearly 20 years of experience in public and non-profit management.

    She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Marquette University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Jesse Weathersby

    Jesse Weathersby

    Director of Information Technology

    Jesse Weathersby currently oversees Information Technology across all of Next Door's campuses. He came to the agency in 2000 and began working as an IT Manager.

    Before Next Door, Jesse served as a Project Manager for the BancTec Corporation, which provided technology services for the Midwest region.

  • Lucretia Dillon

    Lucretia Dillon

    Human Resources Director

    Lucretia Dillon joined Next Door in 2005. She previously served in Human Resources roles at COA Youth & Family Centers and Rosalie Manor Community & Family Services.

    She earned a Bachelor's Degree in business management systems­-human resource management from Milwaukee School of Engineering, a Master's Degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University and an additional Master's Degree in counseling from Mount Mary University.

  • Chad Piechocki

    Chad Piechocki

    Development Director

    Chad Piechocki joined Next Door in 2017 as the Grants Administrator. He has 15+ years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising.

    Prior to Next Door, he worked in various roles in the performing arts in Milwaukee.

    He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

  • Susan Murray

    Susan Murray

    Director of Workforce Development

    Susan Murray joined Next Door in 2014. Prior to becoming Director of Workforce Development, she served as a Parent Educator, Instructional Coach, and Professional Development Specialist.

    Susan has over ten years of Head Start experience, and has a passion for serving the children and families in our community.

    Susan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Community Education from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.