Deanna West-Torrence, Founder and Executive Director
A longtime resident, Deanna West-Torrence found herself returning to the North End neighborhood throughout her life. Each time she returned, she found the same friendly people with lifelong relationships, but the appearance of the neighborhood had changed drastically. The schools were closed, the neighborhood businesses had decreased and the once well-kept houses were deteriorating. At the same time, she found her own family experiencing much of what so many others were facing. Following a divorce, she became a single mother, raising four young children on the North End.
Through the years, Deanna worked in many ways to better the community, from working with CHAP (Community Health Access Project), representing the 5th Ward on Mansfield City Council, serving on the Mansfield City School Board, and leading the Neighborhood Youth Corps, as well as serving on other boards, task forces, and advisory committees.
In 2007, Deanna and other residents and community leaders applied their collective experience and founded the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC). NECIC's mission is to improve the quality of life and economic landscape of the North End Community.
Deanna attended Rebecca Grubaugh, Creveling and Discovery Schools, Johnny Appleseed Middle School and graduated from Malabar High School in 1987. She then attended the University of Cincinnati and the Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development. Deanna is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s African American Leadership Program in 2005, and the Harvard Kennedy School for executive Education in 2011. She has managed local non-profits for many years.
Deanna is the proud mother of three adult sons and an adult daughter.
Phone: 419-522-1611, Extension 115
Tony Chinni, Community Development Manager
Tony is a 2007 graduate of the Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History. Tony joined the NECIC team as an intern during the summer of 2007 at which time he aided the executive director in establishing the nascent organization, and compiled an economic base assessment of Mansfield’s North End.
From 2008 to 2011, Tony worked with NECIC staff and consultants to compile The North End Community Economic Development Plan. This document, guided by input from more than three hundred North End residents and stakeholders, articulates NECIC’s vision for the redevelopment of the North End. The plan was updated in 2017, with Tony once again at the helm.
He was born and raised in Mansfield and is a 1994 graduate of Mansfield Senior High.
Phone: 419-522-1611, Extension 103
Nyasha Oden, Social Service Coordinator
A graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor of Art in Sociology and recent graduate of Case Western Reserve with a Master of Science and Social Administration, Nyasha plans to obtain her license in social work. Her career goal is to be a youth social worker and minority educator.
As a Youth Community Organizer, she reaches out to youth in and out of school to identify their talents, strengths, and needs. She creates mini modules that are based on the interest of youth and that are geared towards 21st century careers. Some popular mini modules are: Islay the Summer, Cooking, Babysitting Training, Art Academy, and Introduction to Programming. She also created the curriculum and purpose for the North End Teen Program that she runs twice a month. The purpose of the North End Teen Program is to bring teens together to connect and fellowship with their peers and the community, through activities that strengthen them socially and inspire them to be effective within their community.
As a woman born and raised in the North End, she is thankful for the opportunity to build relationships with the North End community. When Nyasha is not working, she enjoys spending time with her children, hanging out with friends and family, shopping during good sales, reading a good book, and traveling to different places.
Phone: 419-522-1611, Extension 112
Matthew Ayers, Fiscal & Administrative Coordinator
Matthew was a part of NECIC’s North End Talented Ten (NETT) internship program in 2010, and served as a volunteer long after.
A Mansfield native, Matthew is a 2004 Mansfield Senior graduate, and a 2010 graduate of The Ohio State University.
Matthew joined the NECIC team as a Temp2Higher Staffing Specialist in 2017 and moved to Support Services Coordinator in 2018. With that role, Matthew also is the overseer of the fiscal work for the organization. He is also an active participant in all of the staff events and is willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need for NECIC.
Phone: 419-522-1611, Extension 121
Tionna M. Perdue, Business Manager
Tionna joined the NECIC team as a Temp2Higher Staffing Specialist in 2017 after ten years with Third Street Family Health Services.
A Mansfield native, Tionna said she is “the number one Tyger football fan.” She is a mother of three, one of which is a Tyger football player, and she can be found working the concession stand with Tyger Boosters at most games.
Phone: 419-522-1611, Extension 102
Crystal Weese, Recruitment Coordinator
Crystal Davis Weese serves as the Recruitment Coordinator at NECIC. She spent more than a decade in the retail beauty industry as a salon owner, marketing and managing human-to-human experience. Crystal has held an advanced license in Cosmetology since 1989 and a Cosmetology Instructors since 2005. Through her work as a career tech educator she used her experience in management, career development and team building to deliver work ready students to the business industry. In her current role she uses collaborative efforts between educational institutions, community, small businesses, and corporate partners to expand readiness, access, and participation to inner-city job seekers.
Crystal holds an AAGS from Mount Vernon Nazarene University along with several industry credential certifications.
Active in her community, Crystal volunteers often and serves as Inside Director for Open table, co-chairs employment for the Richland County Task Force On Racism a member of the Black and Brown Coalition and the Richland County Youth Drug Use Coalition.
In her spare time, Crystal enjoys traveling, reading, crafting, sewing, yoga, meditation and spending time with family and friends. She loves dogs, jewelry, shoes, dessert, coffee, and wine!
Phone: (419) 522-1611 EXT 104
Cheyla Bradley, Communications & Engagement Coordinator
Cheyla joined NECIC in May 2019. She works on both NECIC and Temp2Highers media networks and events. She recently took over our Faith Based Advisory Council continuing Kay Smith's work with the churches in the North End.
Cheyla is looking forward to graduating with her Associate's Degree in Business Marketing in Spring 2021 from North Central State College.
Phone: (419) 522-1611 ext 126
Gabe Pierce, Program Support Coordinator
Gabe joined the team April 2021. He graduated for OSU Mansfield with his Business Administration degree Dec 2020 with a focus management. Gabe previously worked with our Farmer Manager in Training, Justin Ocheltree at our Urban Farm Summer 2020.
He decided to take the position because it relates to his degree and his family has always been involved in social work and community engagement.
Gabe looks forward to the new job experience and helping further the success of our current and future programs.
Phone: 419-522-1611 Ext 117
Mona Kneuss, Teaching Garden Coordinator
Mona was one of the first resident board members in 2014 until she joined our staff in 2017. Before coming to NECIC, Mona worked at The Kingwood Center Gardens for 13 years. She has been a positive member of the North End community for 22 years. Mona has served on several boards and loves getting her hands in the soil. Mona raised 10 children and is very proud of all of them. She's continuing to be a positive person in our community by helping when and where she can.
Mona is also over our volunteer opportunities. If you want to get involved, she's the team member you contact!
Phone: 419-522-1611 EXT 116
Justin Ocheltree, Farming Manager
Justin joined the team in 2019. He is now the farm's manager at our Urban Farm. He enjoys the outdoors and wants to continue growing the NECIC organization with our farm and Richland Gro-Op.
Phone: 419-522-1611 ext 110