Key Staff

Niki Espy, Associate Program Director, 414.933.6161 ext 156
Niki Espy earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and brings a passion for teaching people of all ages about the environment, stewardship, gardening, natural resources careers, and community improvement. She leads Neighborhood House’s highly regarded Environmental Education Program and supervises our Teen Program, Health Initiatives as well as other community-related offerings.

Niki has an extraordinary gift for engaging youth and teaching them in a highly entertaining manner how to use critical thinking, creativity and problem solving to create workable solutions, skill sets that are necessary to succeed in 21st-century jobs and our modern marketplace. Niki helps participants understand how their choices affect not only their local neighborhood but also the global environment.

Currently, Ms. Espy serves on the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network board as well as chairs their Governance Council. Niki is also President of Urban Anthropology, Inc., a member of the Community Advisory Board for the All of Us Research Project and a cohort for the U.S. Tennis Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Program.  Previously, she served on the Board of Directors of the Riverside Nature Center, the predecessor to the Urban Ecology Center of Milwaukee where she continued as a board member.  Ms. Espy worked as an educator for the Milwaukee Public Museum for eight years. She also was awarded a Smithsonian Scholarship to the American Indian Community Outreach and Collaborations held in Lac du Flambeau, WI.

She has 28 years of experience working with children and adults in various settings teaching environmental education, including developing lessons and activities for use with the United States Forest Service, Nature’s Classroom Institute, and NH. As an educator, Niki has been an integral part of Neighborhood House’s Environmental Education Programs, and initially, as a coordinator, developed many beneficial relationships with organizations, schools, and individual teachers.

Niki has an extraordinary gift for engaging youth and teaching them in a highly entertaining manner how to use critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving to create workable solutions, skill sets that are necessary to succeed.

Roslyn Jones and Susan Russell, Co-Directors of Safe Place at Story School (SSP)
Roslyn Jones (right) and Susan Russell are the Co-Directors of our Safe Place After School and Summer Camp Program at Albert Story Elementary School, located 8 blocks west of Neighborhood House’s main facility.  Together, they are committed to professional ethics, standards of practice, and the quality care and education of children.
Roslyn Jones has a successful record of multi-tasking in managing the fast-paced atmosphere the Story School Safe Place. Roslyn has strong communication skills while leading training/continuous improvement activities with her staff.  Roslyn earned her Teaching Assistant
Certificate from MPS and is now while pursuing her B.S. in Psychology from Upper Iowa University.
Susan Russell is a self-directed, action-oriented professional with more than 20 years’ experience in education and community service.  She is a graduate of UW-Stevens Point with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Susan earned a graduate certification in Special Education from Milwaukee’s Alverno College.

Sarah Long, Land Stewardship Manager, 414.933.6161 ext. 136

As Land Stewardship Manager Sarah is responsible for the land management efforts at Neighborhood House’s 93-acre Nature Center near Neosho, WI, as well as our Garden Park and community center’s own grounds.
Sarah comes to NH with broad experience in urban conservation and possesses a wide variety of skills and a comprehensive understanding of ecological principles. She worked on a variety of habitat restoration projects, including coordinating volunteer programs with residents of all ages. Sarah also led environmental education initiatives geared towards diverse participant backgrounds. Sarah brings a strong passion for urban conservation and environmental education to her work at Neighborhood House.
Most recently, Sarah worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a Parks and Recreation Specialist at Havenwoods State Forest on Milwaukee’s north side, partnering with both paid and volunteer staff.  In prior positions, Sarah worked for the City of Milwaukee’s Urban Forestry Division and volunteered at the Urban Ecology Center and River Revitalization Foundation.
Sarah earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, majoring in Conservation and Environmental Science with a minor in Biology. She has also earned a number of key land conservation certifications.

Widge Liccione, Development Director, 414.933.6161 ext 127
Widge is responsible for strengthening Neighborhood House’s programs through its development and communications efforts. She brings more than 30 years of fundraising, marketing, and communication experience to the organization. She returned to Milwaukee in 2016 as Development Director for Interfaith Older Adult Programs, joining Neighborhood House in January 2019. The nonprofits she served covered a wide range of services that helped children, young families, college students, and older adults.
Her past work in Milwaukee as the Executive Director of a domestic violence organization supporting survivors garnered her an award from the Milwaukee Woman’s Fund.  Ms. Liccione was named one of the “Top 100 Women Making a Difference” by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine when she served Meals on Wheels in Chicago. Widge completed her coursework at UW-Milwaukee’s Cultural Foundation of Education Masters program and earned a B.A. (Psychology) from John Carroll University near Cleveland, Ohio.  She has served on many nonprofit boards and committees in both Milwaukee and Chicago and is a longtime member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


Jeff Martinka, Executive Director, 414.933.6161 ext 125

Jeff Martinka began serving as Neighborhood House’s Executive Director in June 2014. In prior positions, he was the founding Executive Director of Sweet Water, an innovative partnership of environmental groups, local government, and business, working to improve the water resources in the five greater Milwaukee watersheds. Based at the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences and supported by major Joyce Foundation grants, Sweet Water is now a national model in watershed-based, multi-jurisdictional environmental work.
Martinka also served as the Executive Director of the West 7th Community Center in St. Paul, MN, a multiservice community center with strong school, family, and senior programs. In his tenure at West 7th, the community center greatly expanded family, senior, and youth programming and completed a broad variety of facility improvements. He also served as  Executive Director of Literacy Services of Wisconsin when its volunteer-based adult basic education programs were housed on Wells Street, just 2 blocks from Neighborhood House. Finally, Jeff worked in management at the Milwaukee County Parks, in Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist’s Office, and at the Milwaukee Department of City Development.
Martinka earned an M.S. in Urban & Regional Planning and an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Norm McGee, Program Director, 414.933.6161 ext 129

As our Program Director,  Norm is responsible for NH’s Early Childhood, After School, Community Services, and International Learning programs. He also plays a key outreach and partnership role.
McGee is a Milwaukee native with a long and proven track record of working successfully with area families and youth. Norm was a manager for more than 20 years at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (B&GC). At the B&GC, he served for 12 years as Director of Program Development, Sports, and Recreation, responsible for programming in 35 B&GC branches in the region. His prior B&GC positions included both Executive Branch Director and Program Director of the Hillside Boys & Girls Club.
Norm earned his B.S. from the University of North Dakota under a full scholarship. In addition to his university work, Norm also completed a variety of management training programs through B&GC. He graduated from West Division High School in Milwaukee, where he was State champion in track and field. Norm has served in a variety of volunteer roles in the community, but in particular, supported the United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s campaigns as a sought-after speaker. Norm is a proud husband, father, and grandfather and resides on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

Phanomsavanh Sanford, Early Childhood Program Manager, 414.933.6161 ext 139

Phan has been with NH since 2005 and became the Early Childhood Program Manager in 2012. Phan has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Cardinal Stritch University.  She oversees our YoungStar 5 rated Early Childhood and After-School programs. Her focus is on providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for young children through developmentally appropriate activities. Hear Phan speaks with WUWM’s LaToya Dennis about the importance of early childhood education, and share her story with Radio 88nine’s Dori Zori.

Jerri Washington, Finance Director, 414.933.6161 ext 163

Jerri has been with Neighborhood House since 2001. She has a B.S. in Accounting, an M.B.A, and a Certificate in Human Resource Management program, all from Cardinal Stritch University. She has held the President title of the School Governance Council for Hawthorne Elementary School and Rufus King International IB Middle School for the past 2 years and is an active participant of Rufus King IB High School PTSO. 

Cynthia Zarazua, International Learning Program Manager, 414.344.4777

Cynthia oversees the International Learning Program, which teaches adult immigrants and refugees English, Computer, Math, and Citizenship skills. Prior to that, she founded, developed and supervised the English as a Second Language program for Literacy Services of Wisconsin and managed Que Pasa Coffee & Books for Esperanza Unida, Inc.  While there, the bookstore was awarded one of ten annual Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy grants to provide inter-generational ESL and literacy classes to Spanish speaking immigrants and their children.  A lover of books, with over 2,000 of them in her home, she has worked in three libraries. Hear Cynthia talks about the International Learning Program on Radio 88nine’s story.

Alex Letser, Facility Manager

Under a unique partnership arrangement with a neighborhood school, NH Facility Manager Alex Letser shares his skills and facility management time across the two partner organizations, Neighborhood House of Milwaukee and nearby Pathways High. With skilled hands and a broad range of technical knowledge, Alex supports all those who make use of Neighborhood House’s diverse facilities.

Alex earned an associate degree in Civil and Industrial Engineering from the Technical College of Civil and Industrial Construction, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Industrial Engineering from the Institute of Civil and Industrial Engineering. Both schools are in his native Ukraine; Alex is a first-generation American citizen.

His career in engineering and project management began more than thirty years ago with a construction consulting company, where he worked as the Assistant Project Engineer and later the Design Engineer. He also served as Project Engineer for an agricultural machinery plant, where he was responsible for organizing and training those who maintained the equipment and facilities. Additionally, Alex brings more than fifteen years’ experience in commercial and residential building maintenance in the U.S.