Our People

Staff:

Maureen Dykstra : Executive Director

Maureen Dykstra

Executive Director

Maureen  never has enough time for all of the sports she loves to play but she always makes time in her schedule to run!  She graduated from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and worked for many years as a pharmaceutical sales representative.  When Deb Siipola introduced her to the program in 2011 Maureen immediately saw the positive impact that this inspirational program could have in the lives of the girls in Northern New Jersey.   Through raising her children and being a coach for many local sports programs, Maureen has seen firsthand the positive changes that exercise and healthy living, in both body and spirit, can make in a child’s life.   She is thrilled to play a part in bringing this life-changing program to the girls of Northern New Jersey as a coach, board member, and now as our Executive Director.

 


Deb Soltis Siipola : Director of Partnerships and Development

Deb Soltis Siipola

Director of Partnerships and Development

Deb Soltis Siipola - is a native of Hunterdon County NJ and moved to Sparta 3 years ago. A former teacher and coach, she now spends her time raising her three daughters. Deb graduated from Caldwell College (NJ), with degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology. While at Caldwell, she was on the women’s basketball team. She has been pursuing her masters in counseling from Centenary College.  Deb has long believed in the power of using athletics and team work as a tool in developing girls positive self esteem. Girls on the Run is the perfect combination of Deb’s passions. She is excited to help girls take charge of their lives, and define their futures . She is thrilled to be a part of bringing this amazing and life – changing program to the families of Sussex County

 


Melissa Fagersten : Program Coordinator

Melissa Fagersten

Program Coordinator

Melissa Fagersten-Program Coordinator- As an avid distance runner and mother of three young girls, Melissa believes in the GOTR program and living outside of the “girl box”.   Melissa realizes the importance of the seizing the teachable moment and the value an “all- girl” experience can have in fostering confidence. She is a mother of three daughters, a life- long resident of Sparta and a 1994 graduate of Sparta High School.  She attended Sussex County Community College and William Paterson University. She managed “The Gym” in Sparta as a fitness instructor and membership recruiter from 1995-1998. From 2006 to present, Melissa has been a Girl Scout leader under the Sterling Mohawk Unit.  In 2005, she joined The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life campaign as a team captain.

 


Vikki Szabo, MA,LPC, SAC : Communications Specialist

Vikki Szabo, MA,LPC, SAC

Communications Specialist

Vikki Szabo, MA, LPC, SAC- Communications Specialist-Vikki is a life long resident of Sussex County.  She graduated from Vernon High School in 2000 and received her Masters in Counseling in 2006.  She is a licensed professional counselor and Student Assistance Counselor who has 15 years of experience working with children and adolescents with a multitude of disorders including depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and self-abuse.  As a counselor working with  this population, she understands the importance of reaching kids at an early age when it comes to self-esteem and healthy lifestyles.  This is why Girls on the Run is so important to her.   Vikki is an avid runner and to date has completed multiple 5K’s, 10k’s and 2 half marathons.  She is also the mother of two daughters, Angelina and Adeline.


Noel Abrams : Assistant Program Coordinator

Noel Abrams

Assistant Program Coordinator

Noel and her husband of 22 years grew up in the Seattle area and moved to Sparta, NJ in 1999 via Barrow, Alaska and Chicago, Illinois.  She started running when she moved to Sparta - pushing her infant daughter Zoe in a running stroller along West Shore Trail - and has never looked back.  She spends her time raising her two amazing daughters and loves to stay active: running, playing tennis, skiing, biking or training for a triathlon.  Since being coerced into running the Indy 500 half marathon, she has grown to love the 13.1 mile distance runs and looks forward to many more of those events with her husband and best friends. Coaching Girls on the Run in Sparta since it's first season has been a privilege and an indescribable experience, and what she calls a natural fit.   She believes in the power of movement, but more importantly, has absolutely cherished seeing the changes in "her" girls each season.  Whether it's watching them embrace being a part of the team, or realizing their true, amazing selves, each day with Girls on the Run has been more than a learning experience; it's changed her life.


Chiara Lombardo : 5k Race Director/Solemates Coordinator

Chiara Lombardo

5k Race Director/Solemates Coordinator

Chiara Lombardo has been as resident of Sussex County for almost three years where she lives with her four young boys.  She graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Sociology and also holds two M.A. degrees one from The George Washington University (Sociology) and one from the School for International Training (International Development/Nonprofit Management).  Before dedicating her time to being a mother, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa and worked for several charitable organizations in Southern Africa and in New York City.  As a dedicated distance runner, she has completed over 20 full marathons and countless other races of all distances, including 3 ultra marathons.  She strongly believes in the power that running and fitness can have in the lives of all people, especially those of young girls and boys. She thrives on inspiring others to push themselves beyond their limits, training others to achieve their running goals, and ultimately witnessing their finish line moments.  Some of her most treasured memories in life were watching her boys finish their first 5k race, at a very young age.  She had the pleasure of being assistant coach for the local GOTR at the Green Hills School in the Spring of 2014.  And although she does not have any daughters of her own, she was thrilled to be part of this unique program as Assistant Coach and now as the Solemates Coordinator and 5k Race Director!


Deihdra Miller : Bergen County Coordinator

Deihdra Miller

Bergen County Coordinator

Deihdra has been a GOTR coach for the past 7 seasons in Glen Rock where she lives with her family and has loved every season more than the last!  When she's not with her 3 children, she can be found teaching at Pure Barre in Wyckoff or training for triathlons.  She competes in short distance triathlons as well as short distance road races.  Deihdra found athletics later in life and hopes to inspire girls and women alike to find it sooner in life as it can be life changing.  She has seen the changes first hand in the girls she's coached and is honored to be part of such an amazing organization!


Donna Jean (DJ) Neill : Passaic County Coordinator

Donna Jean (DJ) Neill

Passaic County Coordinator

D.J. Lives in West Milford with her husband and their three dogs.  She got involved with Girls On The Run last spring as a coach.  Donna Jean is the Assistant Director at the Fair Lawn Senior Center, she is also an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Pound Fit Instructor. One of her dreams was to coach and the GOTR organization has made that possible.  D.J. and her dog Murphy who is a registered Therapy Dog, volunteer and visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities and they will be participating in the RUFF reading program at the West Milford Library.  Being able to empower girls through the GOTR program is a great and rewarding experience and she loves every minute that she spends coaching her "kids!" D.J. Is looking forward to working with the coaches and the girls of Passaic County.


Katie Hagler, MSW : Community Service Project Coordinator

Katie Hagler, MSW

Community Service Project Coordinator

Katie has lived in Sparta for 10 years with her family. Katie attended Kean University earning a Bachelor’s in Social Work and then continued to Fordham University to attain her Master’s in Social Work. She has worked in the Elizabeth school district for 14 years, working with children with special needs. In addition to working full time she is the mother of three children; two daughters and a son. Katie has always been passionate about helping other’s. She has volunteered for many organizations including crisis hotlines, rape crisis counseling, and the Ryan White organization. Giving to others is a passion that she wants to share with everyone especially her three children, whom she is instilling the importance of volunteering and giving to others. She is overjoyed to be a part of an organization whose intention is to provide girls with the understanding that they can do anything. Since becoming involved in GOTR she has gained an understanding of running and the freedom it provides. Katie ran her first 5K with her oldest daughter in the spring of 2013! Since then she has run several other 5K’s and has ambitions to continue, finish Mudd runs, etc….. the sky’s the limit.


DebMelVikki

Board

Deb Soltis Siipola : Director of Partnerships and Development

Deb Soltis Siipola

Director of Partnerships and Development

Deb Soltis Siipola - is a native of Hunterdon County NJ and moved to Sparta 3 years ago. A former teacher and coach, she now spends her time raising her three daughters. Deb graduated from Caldwell College (NJ), with degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology. While at Caldwell, she was on the women’s basketball team. She has been pursuing her masters in counseling from Centenary College.  Deb has long believed in the power of using athletics and team work as a tool in developing girls positive self esteem. Girls on the Run is the perfect combination of Deb’s passions. She is excited to help girls take charge of their lives, and define their futures . She is thrilled to be a part of bringing this amazing and life – changing program to the families of Sussex County

 


Melissa Fagersten : Program Coordinator

Melissa Fagersten

Program Coordinator

Melissa Fagersten-Program Coordinator- As an avid distance runner and mother of three young girls, Melissa believes in the GOTR program and living outside of the “girl box”.   Melissa realizes the importance of the seizing the teachable moment and the value an “all- girl” experience can have in fostering confidence. She is a mother of three daughters, a life- long resident of Sparta and a 1994 graduate of Sparta High School.  She attended Sussex County Community College and William Paterson University. She managed “The Gym” in Sparta as a fitness instructor and membership recruiter from 1995-1998. From 2006 to present, Melissa has been a Girl Scout leader under the Sterling Mohawk Unit.  In 2005, she joined The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life campaign as a team captain.

 


Vikki Szabo, MA,LPC, SAC : Communications Specialist

Vikki Szabo, MA,LPC, SAC

Communications Specialist

Vikki Szabo, MA, LPC, SAC- Communications Specialist-Vikki is a life long resident of Sussex County.  She graduated from Vernon High School in 2000 and received her Masters in Counseling in 2006.  She is a licensed professional counselor and Student Assistance Counselor who has 15 years of experience working with children and adolescents with a multitude of disorders including depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and self-abuse.  As a counselor working with  this population, she understands the importance of reaching kids at an early age when it comes to self-esteem and healthy lifestyles.  This is why Girls on the Run is so important to her.   Vikki is an avid runner and to date has completed multiple 5K’s, 10k’s and 2 half marathons.  She is also the mother of two daughters, Angelina and Adeline.


Julie Killen : Board Member

Julie Killen

Board Member

Julie is an award winning Sales Associate with Coldwell Banker with 31 years of experience.  She is a mother of 3 and has always made giving back to the community a priority for her and her family.  In addition to being on the board for Girls on the Run NJN, she is also on the board for Project Self-Sufficiency and on the Steering Committee at the Sussex County Community College for 100 Women, a charity that provides scholarships for women.   Julie believes Girls on the Run empowers young girls and helps them navigate the trials and tribulations of adolescence in a positive way.  She is thrilled to play a role in such an inspiring organization.


Jennifer Raman, MD : Board Member

Jennifer Raman, MD

Board Member

Jennifer is a full-time emergency medicine physician in Bergen County, where she lives with her husband and three young children. After playing three sports in high school, she moved on to Rutgers University, where she played Rugby.  She then graduated from New Jersey Medical School in 2002. After completing her ER residency in New Orleans, she moved back to New Jersey to raise her children.  In her spare time, Jennifer has taken up running to stay in shape. After completing several half-marathons, she has now transitioned to the sport of triathlon, finishing several Olympic distance races and a half-Ironman. Throughout her career in medicine and her involvement in sports, it has been empowering to see the advances that women have made in both areas. She is thrilled to join the GOTR team, and to be able to help girls realize their full potential in school, sports, and life.


Christian Canzoniero, MD, FAAP : Board Member

Christian Canzoniero, MD, FAAP

Board Member

Dr. Chris is a pediatrician in Sparta, NJ.  As the father of two young girls, he saw a huge need for an organization like GOTR that focuses on the building of active, confident young women.  As a pediatrician he focuses on creating well children and not just treating the sick.  Exercise must be a cornerstone of that.  Girls on the Run is a perfect group to help reach that mission.  To date he has run 3 triathalons and 2 half marathons.

 


Megan Sandow : Board Member

Megan Sandow

Board Member

Megan is the newest member to our board.  She is the Chief Development Officer at Newton Medical Center Foundation.  Prior to that she was the Vice President of Operations for the Christopher Reeve Foundation in Short Hills.   She brings 20 years of experience in the field of professional fundraising, budget supervision and volunteer relations.  Megan has been an active volunteer for Girls on the Run NJ North ​since its inception and her daughter participated in the program as well.   She and her family reside in Sparta, NJ.

 


Tiffany Heineman, ESQ : Board Member

Tiffany Heineman, ESQ

Board Member

Tiffany is an associate attorney at Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP in Sparta, NJ. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire and Seton Hall University School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked for many years as a tennis instruction professional and tennis coach and learned a great deal about the impact she could have on young girls’ lives through sports, teamwork and mentoring. Having always been an avid runner, she knows firsthand the benefits and rewards of athletics and exercise for young girls, adolescents, and women of all ages. She continues to participate in athletics including trail running, tennis, basketball, softball and golf. She is delighted to be a part of Girls on the Run’s unique programming and curriculum to foster camaraderie, companionship, and self-esteem, and to help make a profound impact on young girls’ lives.


board