Sara M. Sheets, Executive Director, has spent twenty years working to improve urban neighborhoods. She began her career with Teach for America in South-Central Los Angeles as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom. After earning her teaching credential and seeing the challenges her students and their families faced, she decided to work towards improving the quality of life in low and moderate income neighborhoods. She earned an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, focused on housing and community development.
She returned to Cincinnati in the mid-1990s and worked as a Legislative Aide to Mayor Roxanne Qualls and later, as Assistant Director of Miami Purchase Preservation Fund, a community development corporation in the West End. From 2003-2011, she managed projects for a variety of Cincinnati neighborhoods, community development corporations, and larger community institutions, including Xavier University’s Community Building Institute, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Housing Partners, the College Hill CURC, the Roselawn CURC, the Madisonville CURC and the Westwood CURC.
In 2011, Ms. Sheets convinced MCURC to take a more active role in the neighborhood. She led a community-driven planning process from late 2011 through 2012, resulting in the neighborhood’s Quality-of-Life Plan and became MCURC’s first Executive Director in 2013. She holds a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA.
She lives with her husband and two children in Madisonville.
Matt first took an interest in community development in high school when he volunteered to rehab houses and give speeches in support of ReSTOC and the Drop-Inn Center in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. In college he turned his interest in historic architecture into an internship in the Urban Conservator’s office. In 1990, Matt started on a two-track path of community development and theology when he began his Religious Studies major at about the same time he started rehabbing houses for the Camp Washington Community Board. He continued community development work in Newark, New Jersey as a VISTA and while completing his master’s degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he specialized in 19th Century German religious criticism. He began teaching as an adjunct at the College of Mt. St. Joseph in 1998 where he now teaches World Religions. Matt joined Price Hill Will in 2005 when he got their Buy-Improve-Sell program off the ground. He also headed efforts to tackle issues of vacant and nuisance properties as well as boosting home sales. He then worked to promote the neighborhood. Matt joined MCURC in April 2013 to lead our real estate development and marketing efforts. He lives with his wife and daughter on a small farm along the river, where they love to garden, feed the horses and travel when they get a chance.
Following completion of a Bachelor of Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati, Annalee worked for several community development organizations, including Camp Washington Community Board, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, and the Cornerstone-Homesource Regional Loan Fund. After she received a Master of Community Planning and AICP designation, she worked as a Planner for Clermont County, Covington, Kentucky and Hamilton County. Her most recent job before MCURC was in City Administration with the City of Madeira, from which she retired two years ago.
Since then, she has been traveling with her husband to visit her children and other relatives, volunteering for the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute, and teaching an after school art program for children. The summer of 2014 she spent interning and living on an organic farm in Oregon. She is excited to become part of MCURC and the dynamic Madisonville community. She lives in Madeira with her husband, Nick Altieri, a retired social studies teacher and guitar aficionado.