Key Takeaways

  • Many thanks to our leaders who have completed their terms on the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) Executive Committee.

  • At the annual Leo Laks Senior Center Celebration during NCOA's 3rd Annual Age+Action Conference, we celebrated some of these leaders with a passing of the torch.

  • NCOA welcomes its incoming Leadership Collaborative leaders and encourages new applications.

Many dedicated people have inspired us and others across the country as they've served as leaders and shared years of time and talent with the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). At the annual Leo Laks Senior Center Celebration during NCOA's 3rd Annual Age+Action Conference, we celebrated some of these leaders with a passing of the torch.

Thank you to our outgoing NISC leaders

Elizabeth Bernat completed her tenure as past-chair, having served as chair from 2018-2020 and chair-elect from 2016-2018. Bernat is the Director of Senior Services at Roper St. Francis Healthcare and leads two senior centers, Lowcountry Senior Center & Waring Senior Center in the Charleston, South Carolina, area and is the winner of the 2022 NISC Founders Award.

Tracey Colagrossi completed her term as NISC chair, serving from 2020-2022, a time forever marked by the pandemic that brought incredible devastation but that also demonstrated the resiliency and value of senior centers and the network. She is the Senior Center Manager of Arlington Heights Senior Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Colagrossi will now serve a term as past chair.

Jill Hall will assume the chair position for 2022-2024, having served two years as chair-elect and more than 20 years with the NISC team. Hall is the Division Chief & Acting Nutrition Program Manager, Senior Centers and Community Services, Baltimore County Department of Aging, Towson, Maryland.

 “It is a very exciting time to take on the NISC chair position," Hall said. "NISC is building engagement through a new affiliate membership, conducting an environmental scan to see what defines a 'modern' senior center, and revamping the accreditation process to make it more user-friendly.

But what I look forward to most is collaborating with senior centers professionals from across the country to learn best practices which I can then share with the staff in Baltimore County’s 21 senior centers.”

Anahita Feltz comes on board this year as the NISC chair-elect, and she will serve two years before becoming chair in 2024. She is the manager of Silver Linings at Old Bridge, a Nationally Accredited Activity Center for Adults 60+ in Old Bridge, New Jersey. She has been involved in the NISC Best Practices team and took on a leadership role with the Leadership Collaborative as it was developing. She has also been a Peer Reviewer for five years, and her center just received its second accreditation. Locally, she serves on the Active Adult Committee of the New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association. She hopes to revive a state association of senior centers in New Jersey soon.

Meet the NISC Leadership Collaborative

Since its inception in the early 1970s as the largest organization dedicated to supporting senior centers, the NISC has enjoyed broad engagement of dedicated leaders. Like senior centers, NISC has evolved over time, modernizing, growing, and adapting.

As we move forward, we look forward to continuing to build the NISC Leadership Collaborative, our national network of senior center leaders representing senior centers and state associations across the nation, led by a chair and chair-elect and mobilized into groups and teams. Our goal is to have representation from every state in the union.

The list of current NISC Leadership Collaborative members is below. If your state is not represented, consider applying. Joining the collaborative is a great way to develop your leadership skills and to network with senior center professionals across the country.

Leadership Collaborative Members—2022

  • Patricia Branson, ALASKA
  • Jenna Hauss, CALIFORNIA
  • Marjean Drost, COLORADO
  • Jennifer Bennett, CONNECTICUT
  • Natalie Kaplan, DELAWARE
  • Kristy Carter, FLORIDA
  • Tori Strawker-Tanks, GEORGIA
  • Brandi Waselewski, IDAHO
  • Susan Dillon, ILLINOIS
  • Beverly Ferry, INDIANA
  • Laura Kopp, IOWA
  • Ludvina Gonsalves, KANSAS
  • Edward Clark, KENTUCKY
  • Suzie Antkowiak, MARYLAND
  • Joanne Moore, MASSACHUSETTS
  • Kim Phillips, MICHIGAN        
  • Laura Hoberg, MINNESOTA  
  • Brinn Sullivan, NEW HAMPSHIRE
  • Anahita Feltz, NEW JERSEY 
  • Denise Niese, OHIO
  • Rose Richardson, PENNSYLVANIA
  • Jose  Miranda, PUERTO RICO       
  • Elizabeth Bernat, SOUTH CAROLINA
  • Joni Cook, TENNESSEE
  • Laura Cisneros, TEXAS
  • Deanna Jones, VERMONT    
  • Peter Thompson, VIRGINIA
  • Lori Oertel, WISCONSIN     
  • Jill Hall, Chair
  • Tracy Colagrossi, Past Chair
  • Christine Beatty, Accreditation Board Chair
  • Malia Fox, Best Practices Chair