Start at Zero's Staff


Angela DeWilde, Executive Director 

Angela co-founded Start at Zero in 2013 and implemented Start at Zero’s pilot program from August 2014 to July 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. Angela became Start at Zero's founding Executive Director in 2016. Angela recently completed Nonprofit Connect’s Executive Director Institute and has been named a KC Connector. Prior to Start at Zero, Angela was an elementary Special Education teacher for Kansas City Public Schools.


Gretchen Green, Program Director & Parent Educator 

Gretchen ("Margarita") is from Canada, and taught history before working with migrant and seasonal farmworker families in Lafayette County, Missouri, where she helped families navigate education issues from early childhood to college and adult education. Gretchen is passionate about helping immigrant families to give their children the best possible start in life and promote educational attainment for all ages.


Ebony Kearney, Project Coordinator (VISTA) 

Ebony is passionate about making learning fun and inspiring for children and to finding innovative ways to empower parents. Ebony is a former Start at Zero parent and is now on the Start at Zero team through the Americorps VISTA program. She is an active community member and is attending college with a focus in child development and early childhood education.

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Meredith Mershon, Director of Operations and Development

Meredith started her career as an elementary school teacher and ultimately pursued her Master's in Social Work from the University of Missouri Kansas City. After working in the healthcare and education fields, Meredith realized her true passion for supporting nonprofits "behind the scenes," helping them to be efficient and effective so that true impact can be achieved. 

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Dorothea Kelley, Parent Educator at Genesis School 

Dorothea holds a Masters degree in Education. She previously taught kindergarten and worked for Kansas City's Local Investment Commission working with Educare to coordinate training and support for Early Learning Centers in the state of Missouri. Dorothea is passionate about finding innovative ways to support early literacy to ensure that all children are reading proficiently by 3rd grade. 


Susana Lopez, Community Education Worker

Susana is a mother of two young children and lives in Kansas City. Susana works at the new Success by Six Center at the Northeast Community Center, where she supports parents of young children as they engage in their child's learning. Susana has a passion for for making learning fun for both parent and child as they learn together and explore the world they live in.


Brooke Hall, Project Coordinator (VISTA)

Brooke recently completed a degree in Psychology with an emphasis in child development at Kansas State University. Brooke has many years of experience working with YMCA HeadStart, where she found her love for supporting early childhood intervention programs. Brooke hopes to continue to guide parents in developing and utilizing the tools they need to be the best advocate for their child.