Our Team
Meet Next Door's leaders
Ms. Chris works with Li'Niyah, Timirah and Sy'Honest on the abacus.

Our Team

Committed to fostering success in central city Milwaukee children.

As an award-winning early education provider, Next Door is focused on improving literacy and school readiness for children in Milwaukee’s central city. Our highly qualified team of teachers, administrators and support staff are dedicated to helping our students develop the skills they need for a lifetime of learning and success.

Executive Leadership

  • Dr. Tracey Sparrow

    Dr. Tracey Sparrow


    Dr. Tracey Sparrow joined Next Door in 2015. She previously served as Vice President for Children’s Programs at the Milwaukee Center for Independence and as President of the Milwaukee Academy of Science charter school. Dr. Sparrow received her doctoral degree in education, leadership and service from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s in organization theory from UW-Milwaukee.

  • Natasha King

    Natasha King

    Vice President of Finance & Administration

    Natasha King came to Next Door in 2016 with more than 15 years of high-level experience and leadership in the nonprofit and business sectors. She previously served as Director of Finance for the Social Development Commission. Natasha has a master’s degree in accounting from UW-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ripon College. She is a certified public accountant.

  • Maria McNair

    Maria McNair

    Vice President of Programs

    Maria McNair joined Next Door in 2016 with over 12 years of non-profit management experience and eight years in Head Start. Past roles include a Head Start Director and a Head Start Director of Programs. Maria received her MBA from University of Phoenix and BS degree from Jacksonville University.

  • 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, Cristina 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

  • Myranda Syrjanen

    Myranda Syrjanen

    Child Care Partnership Director

    Myranda Syrjanen came to Next Door in 2005 as an Early Head Start teacher and now oversees Next Door’s EHS partnership program. Myranda has a master's degree in early childhood education from University of North Dakota, a master’s credential in infant studies from the Erickson Institute and a bachelor's degree in speech language and hearing sciences from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

  • Jennifer Taylor-McBride

    Jennifer Taylor-McBride

    Comprehensive Services Manager

    Jenny Taylor-McBride came to Next Door in 2008. She’s licensed as an Advanced Practice Social Worker. Jennifer earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Marquette University and a master’s degree in social work from Western Michigan University. She also completed the Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program at UW-Madison.

  • Dr. Felicia Saffold

    Dr. Felicia Saffold

    Director of Educational Services

    Felicia Saffold joined Next Door in 2017 with 25 years of urban education experience. She previously worked as a Professor of Teacher Education at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and as an instructional coach for several Milwaukee-area charter schools. Felicia earned a doctoral degree in education, leadership and service from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UWM.

Administrative Leadership

  • Monica Brooks

    Monica Brooks

    Director of Compliance

    In 2016, Monica Brooks became Next Door's Director of Compliance after serving two years as the agency's Head Start Director. She has more than 25 years of experience in early childhood education. Prior to Next Door, Monica served as Quality Implementation and Evaluation Manager at the Social Development Commission. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Mount Mary College and a master’s in project management from Keller Graduate School of Management.

  • 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 came to Next Door in 2005 after her previous 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 in counseling from Mount Mary University.

  • Nicole Landry

    Nicole Landry

    Fiscal Director

    Nicole Landry came to Next Door in 2016 to lead our finance department. She has more than eight years of experience in non-profit financial management, most recently with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper MI. She also has more than 15 years in corporate finance, serving in various financial analytical roles. Nicole earned a BA in Finance from UW-Milwaukee and a MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.

  • Akinlana Abdalla

    Akinlana Abdalla

    Director of Maintenance and Facilities

    Akinlana Abdalla joined Next Door in 2016 with more than 15 years of experience in the construction and maintenance industries. He started as a Maintenance Technician, and in 2017, became Director of Maintenance and Facilities. Before Next Door, Akinlana worked as a Journeyperson Carpenter for Local 264. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bryant and Stratton College in Business Administration.