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 approximately 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 11 early childhood partnership sites in Milwaukee County.

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. Together, they are helping our students build a strong foundation for success in school while ensuring their parents have access to important community resources to raise strong families.


We’re proud to announce that 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


    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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and was enlisted in the United States Army.

Program Leadership

  • Nichole Spooner

    Nichole Spooner

    Director of Comprehensive Services

    Nichole Spooner joined Next Door in 2010 with ten years of early childhood teaching experience. She started at Next Door as a Family Advocate Specialist and later served as a Disabilities Services Coordinator and a Health Advocate Specialist. In 2019, Nicole became Director of Comprehensive Services, overseeing physical and mental health services for Next Door students and families. Nichole has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Alverno College.

  • Dr. Tonya Hameister

    Dr. Tonya Hameister

    Director of Educational Services

    Dr. Tonya Hameister joined Next Door as the Director of Educational Services in the summer of 2021. She has more than 20 years of education experience in Pre-K-12 systems and as an administrator/professor at the university level. She came to Next Door from University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh where she served in the Departments of Leadership, Literacy and Social Foundations, and Special and Early Childhood Education. She has a Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin- Madison, a Master’s degree in Special Education with a specialty in Gifted Education from Kansas State University and a Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.

  • 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 Base program. Later she was promoted to Supervisor for the team, then became the Supervisor for the Family Support Team at Next Door Capitol Dr.

    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.

Administrative Leadership

  • Carolyn Porter

    Carolyn Porter

    Director of Operations

    In 2019, Carolyn Porter became Director of Operations at Next Door 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 a 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 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.

  • 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 earned her bachelor’s degree in Community Education from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Susan has over ten years of Head Start experience, and has a passion for serving the children and families in our community.