Staff - Junior Achievement of Abilene

Junior Achievement of Abilene LEADERSHIP

Evan Simmons

Evan Simmons – Executive Director

Growing up, I wanted to be a … Firefighter.
If I owned a business, it would be … a 1920's style ice cream shop next to the Paramount in Downtown Abilene.
If I could have any job for one day, I would be … Jim Nantz calling the Super Bowl.
My favorite quote is … "Leadership is a choice, not a position." Stephen Covey
When I'm not at work, I … read, run, travel with my family, and explore outside.
I love working at JA because … we get to remind young people of their boundless potential, realistic ways they can accomplish their dreams, and share their remarkable stories with the most successful people in town!
 
Learn more about Evan …
Having grown up with a strong presence of meaningful intergenerational relationships, Evan developed a passion for fostering healthy relationships between adolescents and adult mentors. His ten-plus year career and formal education (Lubbock Christian University – degrees completed in 2007 & 2013 respectively) are focused in service to adolescents and their families. Evan and his wife, Jacinda, have two children: Judah and Jesalyn.
 
Evan was a Junior Achievement volunteer for six years prior to beginning his JA career in January 2015. In August 2017, he received JA USA's Rising Star Award. This award is presented annually to four JA staff members across the country recognized as emerging leaders within the organization and who demonstrate outstanding, measurable success in executing their responsibilities.

Sarah Franz

Sarah Franz – Education Manager

Growing up, I wanted to be an … astronaut.
If I owned a business, it would be … a fine paper goods store – I'm addicted to pretty paper, planners, notebooks and cards!
My favorite quote is … "Find something you are passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." Julia Child
When I'm not at work, I … am spending time with friends and family, working on a new craft, or curled up on my couch reading a good book and drinking coffee. I also like to travel and use my vacation time to check off places on my travel bucket list!
What I remember most about elementary school is ... art class and my inspiring art teacher who helped develop my creative side from a young age.
If I could have any job for one day, I would want to be … a party planner! I love to coordinate themed parties for friends and family.
I love working at JA because … our volunteers pass on the tools to help children become successful adults. It's amazing to think how those students can one day positively influence our community by their foundation in economic skills and the lasting memory of a mentor!
 
Learn more about Sarah …
Originally from Pennsylvania, Sarah moved to Abilene in early 2013 and pursued a career in nonprofit service. Prior to her move, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Urban and Environmental Studies from Temple University (Philadelphia). Her passion lies with tackling social justice issues, particularly in the areas of workforce development, financial literacy, and economic development. Sarah began her career with Junior Achievement in January 2016.
 
Sarah enjoys spending time with her parents and younger brother who now live in Weatherford, Texas. She is an active member at Hillcrest Church of Christ with her boyfriend John. 

Kelley Wood

Kelley Wood – Office Administrator

Growing up, I wanted to be a … pediatrician.
If I owned a business, it would be … personal financial planning – helping others simplify life through basic money management.
My favorite quote is … "If you wouldn't follow yourself, why should anyone else?" John Maxwell.
One of my most unique accomplishments is … jumping out of an airplane by myself for a static line skydive.
When I'm not at work, I … am probably driving my kids from one activity to the next.
If I could have any job for one day, I would … play soccer professionally. 
I love working at JA because … I believe in our mission. Having the skills to be successful in a job and knowing how to manage your money are two of the most important life skills we can have. Unfortunately, most people are never taught how to do either. 
 
Learn more about Kelley…
Kelley was brought to Abilene from St. Louis over ten years ago to pursue an MBA from Hardin-Simmons University. This academic pursuit evolved into a 9-year career with HSU having served as the Director of Recruiting and the Director of Career Services. Her HSU ties remain as her husband Marcus is the Head Coach for the HSU Women's Soccer Team. Together, they have two children: Kamryn and Alex. The Wood family attends Beltway Park Church.
 
Introduced to JA while it was a resource in her Business Information Management class in Abilene ISD's Mann Middle School (2013-2016), Kelley recognized a strong tie to the JA mission. She began her time with JA in April 2017.

  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

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