Circles USA Team

“The leadership and staff have a realistic, valid, and practical view of poverty. For instance, the leadership defines poverty and prosperity as the joint responsibility of societies and communities, as well as individuals. ”
— Mary Jane Collier, professor at the University of New Mexico

Circles USA Leadership Team

Scott Miller, founder and CEO

Since the late 1970s, Scott has initiated numerous projects in North America to help families and communities more effectively address poverty. He has spent decades developing tools and best practices for helping low income people navigate their way out of poverty for good. Scott is the author of several books about poverty reduction.

Gena Atcher, national membership coordinator

Gena began working for Circles USA in 2006. She manages general inquiries, materials distribution, contract negotiations, invoicing, and events. She can be reached at (888) 232-9285 and

Jamie Haft, deputy director

Jamie is responsible for expanding operations to achieve Circles USA’s ambitious goals for growth and leading key programmatic areas. Prior to this role, she was the assistant director of Imagining America, a national consortium of 100 universities dedicated to advancing social equity in urban and rural communities. She has a master’s degree in public relations and specializes in strategic planning, multimedia storytelling, community organizing, and grant writing.

Kamatara Johnson, chief learning officer

Kamatara is responsible for supporting Circles USA curriculum and trainings, along with editing and publishing new materials. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and has 25 years of experience teaching inner-city high school Englis. She is happy continue her efforts to support families out of poverty through education.

Courtney Cowan, information systems and design manager

Courtney manages Circles USA’s national data system and trains Circles chapters on how to use it. She also serves as a graphic designer for Circles USA and creates websites, logos, brochures, manuals, guides, and reports for its chapters.

Circles USA consulting and training team

Darcey Terris, Ph.D., MBA, research and CQI facilitator (Phoenix, AZ)

Nishita Morris, CQI facilitator (Athens, GA)

Chris Tinney, strategic planner (Las Vegas, NV)

Sherri Nee, curriculum development and marketing (Portland, OR)

Jen Nibley, director, Arrive Utah (Provo, UT)

Lisa Doyle-Parsons, Circles USA coach (Parkersburg, WV)

Rebekkah Dreskin, graphic design (Albuquerque, NM)

Jim Wagner, copy editing (Albuquerque, NM)

Circles USA board of directors

Vince Gonzales, president (IT director, Perinatal Associates of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM). Vince is board president of the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living. He also leads a music and memory program for Alzheimer’s patients and helps Circles USA secure business partnerships and acquire state-of-the-art information and technology platforms.

Joan Kuriansky, vice president (former executive director, Wider Opportunities for Women, Washington, D.C.). Joan served as executive director of the Older Women’s League and was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. She currently serves on a number of boards, including Real Wealth of Nations and Justice International Connections and is a fellow for the Income Security Committee of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Jim Masters, treasurer/secretary (president, Center for Community Futures, Berkeley, CA). Jim provides strategic planning and administrative oversight and has worked with more than 500 Community Action agencies and Head Start programs since 1966 and provides strategic planning and administrative oversight.

Jennifer Pelling (director, Tsuha Foundation). Jennifer’s experience includes consulting for large corporations, teaching math, and theatrical costume design. She is also an adviser to the John Corcoran Foundation, which promotes literacy.

John Wilson (consultant, Chalk Hill, PA). John served as executive director of Community Action Association of Pennsylvania for 37 years and helped launch the first Circles USA chapter.