Meet the L.E.A.D. Education Team
After graduating from Jenks High School, Cathy attended OU and ORU where she received a BA in Music Ed with extra hours from NWOSU in Elementary Ed. She married a pastor, Ray, and has two children, Ross and Kelly Jo. When the children started school, Cathy started teaching music in elementary school. She taught for 24 years before retiring early to help with grandchildren. Cathy has loved her time teaching the Light of Hope Drug Education classes while helping get the program off the ground. She sees how it is making a difference and is excited to help the program continue to grow throughout the state of Oklahoma as Light of Hope’s Education Coordinator.
Lilli Higgins is a graduate from Oklahoma State University and a licensed Mental Health Professional. She specializes in pediatric care and has advanced experience with children and adolescents who have behavioral issues, mental illness diagnosis, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Lilli has experience working in many different settings including Residential Behavioral Health Treatment, Acute Behavioral Health Treatment, and Community Based Treatment. Lilli has been personally touched by the devastating effects of addiction. She uses her experiences to fuel her passion in advocating for mental health and educating our community. For her efforts in advocating for mental health, she was recognized by the Oklahoma Recreational Therapy Association as the 2019 Young Professional of the Year.
Jolynn has lived in Claremore for 20+ years. She and her husband, John have three beautiful children and have been blessed with three grand-babies. Along with faith and friends, spending time with her family ranks as her favorite. After spending 15 years as a classroom teacher, God opened new doors for a different career. Since 2012, Jolynn has been a full-time realtor serving clients around the northeastern area of Oklahoma. Having a passion for helping others, she is still able to teach, as well as guide, direct, and help others fulfill goals and dreams. Volunteering is also important to Jolynn. She has spent many years on the board as a Trustee with the Claremore Public Schools Foundation, Secretary with JOM, and is a youth leader at her church.
After losing a close family-friend as a result of addiction, Jolynn decided that joining our team with Light of Hope would give her an opportunity to make a difference. Going back into the classroom has been a joy and she hopes and prays she is able to prevent further tragedy from drug misuse by educating children about addiction.
Lynn has lived in Claremore for 21 years. She is married to Brent Youngs and has two children. Ashley is a nurse in Oklahoma City and Nicole is a Physical Therapist in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate from Oklahoma State University. Lynn has 17 years of experience working with children. She worked in the public school system for 13 years teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 5th grades. She is currently the Director of Children’s Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Claremore. Lynn loves and has a heart for teaching young children. As an Educator for Light of Hope, it gives her the opportunity to get back in the classroom. She sees it as a chance to educate children about the dangers of misusing medicine and drugs. She hopes to help them be better prepared so they can make good healthy choices.
Kelly has been an educator for 25+ years. She has taught in Elementary classrooms from First grade through Sixth grade at Foyil and Porum Public Schools. She ended her public school tenure at Tulsa Public Schools as an English Language Development teacher for new students to the country. Kelly was a Parent Educator for Claremore Public Schools with the program Parents as Teachers. She was also the Preschool Director at Stepping Stones Learning Center at First United Methodist in Claremore. She enjoys working with children and considers it her ministry.
Kelly has been married for 34 years and they have 3 grown sons and 4 growing grandsons. They are a family of educators. Her husband, Rick, has been a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. Two of their sons are teachers and coaches as well. As a family they know the value of education not only academically, but also the ever-important life skills.
Kelly is so excited to be a LEAD educator. She considers it a privilege to bring drug education to Oklahoma’s students. She believes that students today are bombarded with so much information and then have the responsibility to make decisions and choices that can or will affect their lives. It is my hope that I can provide students with current and correct information that enhances their ability to decide for themselves what is good and right. She deeply cares about children and how they grow, intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. She believes she can help by being a LEAD educator.
Kimberlee has been a teacher for 18 years in both the public and private sector. She always felt God had placed a calling on her life to teach. During the pandemic she helped Light of Hope distribute Farmers to Family food boxes to area churches and organizations. It was at this time God began to call her to not just volunteer with Light of Hope but to work for Light of Hope. In July 2020, Kimberlee came on staff as an Administrative Specialist. Her love of teaching and helping others has continued through teaching Drug Education classes for Light of Hope as well as helping with the food pantry.
Kimberlee has been married to Brad Francis for 16 years and they have two children. Brady is 14 and Kason is 10. They also have two dogs Buddy and Dottie. The Francis family attends Oologah Baptist Church and enjoy watching their boys play football and basketball.
Kimberlee said, "I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing organization. This is a great way for my family to serve others and the Lord together. Light of Hope has been such a blessing to our family."
After growing up in the Rogers County area, Julie went to OSU. Upon receiving her degree in Elementary Education, she started her career at First Baptist Christian School in Claremore. She then went to work for Tulsa Public for 9 years. While raising a family, Julie left teaching but continued to volunteer in area schools. She has worked the last two years in Financial Education as well as helping to implement Active Shooter Response Trainings in area schools. Julie is married to Matt Tucker and has two daughters, Katie and Anna. She serves in the music department of First United Methodist Church. Julie is so happy to join Light of Hope as an Educator and has jumped in with both feet!