Meet the Fellows

Del Mar Encore Fellows are charged with advancing the organizations’ selected mission-focused initiatives. Learn more about our fellows:

Debra BrathwaiteDebra Brathwaite, Ph.D, Preschool Promise, is a former deputy superintendent of schools in several systems, including Dayton Public Schools, where she was instrumental in the creation of the Charity Adams Earley Academy for Girls. Although she left Dayton for a similar position in South Carolina in 2008, she returned to her home in the Wright Dunbar neighborhood when she retired. She serves on the boards of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center and the Dayton Society of Natural History. She also teaches at the University of Dayton. At Preschool Promise, she is working on creating a &ldquo:Promise Pathway,” to enable childcare providers to earn certifications and degrees to increase their incomes and improve the quality of care and teaching for our youngest citizens.

Antonia DosikAntonia “Toni” Dosik, Yellow Springs Senior Center, will to coordinate the Livable/Equitable/Age Friendly Yellow Springs. Toni had a long career leading nonprofits, serving as executive director of Project Woman, a domestic violence agency in Springfield; The Other Place (now Homefull), in Dayton; and Gateway Community Organization, in Queens, NY. She recently led Yellow Springs’ successful effort to become a Dementia-Friendly Community.

Beth GrubbBeth Grubb, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Partnership, will lead their participation in a Kauffman Foundation/ Cleveland State University project, “Identifying Resource Gaps for Minority Entrepreneurs.” Beth just retired as tax partner with RSM US LLP, where she served as tax consultant, financial planner and business valuation strategist.

Eric JohnsonEric Johnson, Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, is a highly experienced independent educational video producer, who has worked with many of the leading publishing companies in the field of teacher education. His clients have included the American Montessori Society, the University of Dayton and the Ohio Department of Education. He has also worked in the private sector, creating training videos for NCR, GE Aircraft Engines and the Mazer Corporation. He volunteers for the Yellow Springs Senior Center, driving older adults to appointments and errands. At the Parker Center, he will develop an educational curriculum and video, aimed at reframing participants’ and viewers’ perceptions of aging and challenging the prevalence of “ageism” in our culture.

Donna KastnerDonna Kastner, The Collaboratory, will work to expand the “Silver is Gold,” a new online employment tool aimed at linking older workers and contractors with employers. Donna has been a self-employed events coordinator and entrepreneur, focusing on older adults. She founded Retirepreneur, to offer people in their 50s and 60s tools and insights to make the transition from full-time employment to their next chapter, including starting their own businesses.

Leigh SempelesLeigh Sempeles, J.D., Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, will coordinate Age-Friendly initiatives in this region, as part of the Institute for Livable and Equitable Communities. Trained as an attorney, and following a career in legal publishing, Leigh has been working in nonprofits for the past decade, most recently working with chapters of the Village to Village Network in Northern Virginia.

Kathy StevensKathy Stevens, Ph.D., Area Agency on Aging, PSA 2, a retired engineer whose last few career positions were as a senior executive for the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, and General Electric Aviation. Using her research, program management and strategic thinking skills, she is working with the Area Agency on Aging and its provider network to understand and address the shortage of workers who provide direct services to older adults in our region. She will research, define and measure the scope of the current challenge to finding and keeping workers, and develop proposed solutions for employers and policymakers.

Joni WatsonJoni Watson, Brunner Literacy Center, will work to establish a coalition of organizations and companies whose clients and employees are at risk of low literacy. Joni holds a masters in reading education and retired in June after 35 years as an art teacher and union leader in Dayton Public Schools.

Noreen Willhelm Noreen Willhelm, The Dayton Foundation Senior Fellow, spent nearly 30 years working with area nonprofits in positions ranging from public affairs director to executive director. Previously, she was a reporter and assistant metro editor with the Dayton Daily News and the former Journal Herald. She joined The Dayton Foundation in 2018 as Del Mar Encore Senior Fellow, where she coordinates the work of the Del Mar Encore Fellows, serves as liaison with the Fellows’ Host Organizations, and provides outreach to the older adult-serving community.

The Dayton Foundation has selected nonprofit organizations to host a Del Mar Encore Fellow. Read more about our host organizations and partners.

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File date: 09.02.21


Noreen Willhelm

“Have a question about the Del Mar Encore Fellows Initiative? I can help.”
Noreen Willhelm, Senior Fellow, (937) 225-9949

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