Our Staff

Headquarters - Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Jay F. Hein

    Jay F. Hein

    president

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    Jay F. Hein

    Jay Hein is president of Sagamore Institute, an Indianapolis-based think tank that he co-founded with US Senator Dan Coats in 2004. He was Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from August 2006 to August 2008. Hein serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for the Study of Religion and he directs the ISOKO Institute, an African think tank aimed at enterprise solutions to poverty.  Earlier in his career, Hein was a welfare reform policy advisor to Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin from 1994 to 1997 and director of civil society programs at the Hudson Institute from 1997 to 2004. Hein received a Bachelors of Arts degree from Eureka College and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Indiana Wesleyan University.  He is author of The Quiet Revolution, a book about faith, service and better communities.  He is also editor of The New Wisconsin Idea: Reinventing Public Compassion for the 21st Century and he serves as Editor-in-Chief of American Outlook, a public policy journal.

    Read articles by Jay F. Hein.

  • Donald Cassell

    Donald Cassell

    senior fellow

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    Donald Cassell

    Donald Cassell directs Sagamore's Africa portfolio. He recently published a case study on the newly established Philanthropy Secretariat in Liberia. The case study is being published in the Liberian Studies Journal, a journal of scholarship and research on Liberia. Mr. Cassell also oversaw the development of the Indiana-Africa Connections Project, a database of over 250 Hoosier organizations with ties to Africa. Additionally, he serves as the host of Sagamore’s Fellows Program.

    Previous to his role at Sagamore, Mr. Cassell spent 20 years working as an architect in Indianapolis. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Construction Specification Institute (CSI).

    A native of Liberia, Mr. Cassell graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts.  Mr. Cassell also studied at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he received his Master of Divinity.

    Selected Works

    Marketplace Liberia: Volume 1 and 2

    The Liberian Philanthropy Secretariat: A Case Study

    Is Africa Rising?

    China in Africa: A New Model of International Development

    Liberia Initiative Gallery

  • Laurel Christensen

    Laurel Christensen

    director of scholarships for education choice

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    Laurel Christensen

    Laurel joins Sagamore as a Research Fellow working in operations and assisting StreetSchool Network™ schools on their improvement processes and accreditation.  After graduating from Trinity Western University with a degree in History, Laurel went to work in the corporate world in human resources and then started a family.  She went on to complete her teacher certification at Calvin College and taught high school for 10 years in a school devoted to serving the needs of diverse students.  While teaching she went on to earn her master’s in education from Grand Valley State University.  She continued her work in education by serving as the Director of School Development for the StreetSchool Network™ and worked on the team that developed and coached schools using the Infusionomics program.

  • Nicole Noyes

    Nicole Noyes

    research fellow

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    Nicole Noyes

  • Beverly Saddler

    Beverly Saddler

    assistant to the president

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    Beverly Saddler

    Beverly was born and raised in Indiana, most recently residing in Marion. She is a recent graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Photography.  While working as a freelance photographer, she was introduced to the Sagamore Institute.  In November of 2010, Beverly joined our staff as Assistant to the President.

  • Connie Kauffman Sparks

    Connie Kauffman Sparks

    advancement officer

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    Connie Kauffman Sparks

    Connie Kauffman Sparks is a professional who brings to Sagamore over 30 years of growing organizations through strategic planning and relationship building. Her work as Advancement Officer at Sagamore maximizes the breadth of her rich experience in both for profit and non-profit worlds. Connie is passionate about people living to their full potential and is gifted at connecting them to resources to that aim. She and her husband Jeff make  Indianapolis their home.

    Charlottesville, Virginia Office

    Dr. Amy Sherman

    Dr. Amy Sherman

    center on faith in communities, senior fellow and director

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    Dr. Amy Sherman

    Senior Fellow Amy L. Sherman, Ph.D., directs Sagamore Institute’s Center on Faith in Communities (CFIC). CFIC provides training, technical assistance, and consulting to faith-based and community based social service providers and to religious congregations desiring to invest more effectively in their neighborhoods. The author of six books and over 80 articles and essays, Sherman is founder and former executive director of Charlottesville Abundant life Ministries, a holistic, cross-cultural, whole-family, church-based outreach in an urban neighborhood of approximately 380 lower-income, single-parent families.

    Sherman’s most recent book, Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, won recent honors as Christianity Today’s choice as Book of the Year in the Christian Living category. She is the author of various resource guides for community development practitioners, including The Charitable Choice Handbook for Ministry LeadersThe ABCS of Community Ministry: A Curriculum for Congregations; and Establishing a Church-based, Welfare-to-Work Mentoring Ministry: A Practical “How-to” Guide. Her articles and essays have also appeared in such magazines as The Public Interest, Policy ReviewFirst ThingsChristianity TodayPhilanthropyThe American EnterpriseReason, and Books & Culture

    Sherman has led several major Sagamore research projects including the first major study of faith-based intermediary organizations; the largest national survey of Hispanic church-based community ministries in the U.S.; evaluations of the Christian Community Development  Association and the Urban Youth Workers Institute; the largest survey ever of Christian women on their giving and volunteering patterns; and the development of FASTEN, the web’s largest clearinghouse of practical, educational materials and tools for organizations seeking the revitalization of their communities.

    Sherman earned her BA in Political Science at Messiah College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in international economic development from the University of Virginia. She volunteers as a Senior Fellow with the International Justice Mission and is a longtime member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA.

    Columbus, Ohio Office

    Krista Rush Sisterhen

    Krista Rush Sisterhen

    senior fellow

    Krista Rush Sisterhen

    Krista Sisterhen has held a number of non-profit and public sector leadership positions most recently serving as the President of the National Christian Foundation - Ohio. Sisterhen has extensive experience developing and implementing faith-based and community initiatives at the municipal, state and national level.  She served as Social Policy Advisor to Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, the Director of the Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for Governor Bob Taft, and as a liaison to the White Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for President George W. Bush with the Corporation for National and Community Service. Sisterhen is currently developing faith and generosity initiatives to more fully engage women and marketplace leaders in Biblical generosity, whole-life stewardship and high-impact cross-sector collaborations.  

    Sisterhen has a BA in Political Science from the University of Kansas and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington.  She resides in Columbus, Ohio.

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