Our Staff

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.07.35 AM.png

Chief Executive Officer


Born and raised in the small cotton-farming community of Lamesa, TX, Sly first attended Midland Community College with the help and encouragement of his high school journalism teacher, a man who demonstrated to him the impact an educator can have on the life of a student. Later attending West Texas State University and majoring in criminal justice administration, Sly followed a diverse career path for the next few years.

Prior to joining Side by Side Kids (Formerly CNS), he was the Southwest Vice President for Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., where he helped develop advocate programs in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Sly also worked for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and in Bastrop County as a Juvenile Probation Officer and Administrator.

After a period of traveling, Sly settled down with his family in Austin as the Executive Director of Side by Side Kids, a job he actively sought out as a way to make a difference in the lives of children. He approaches the Side by Side Kids’ mission...


Afterschool Program Director


In August of 2013, Kelsey began working for Side by Side Kids as an afterschool teacher at T.A. Brown Elementary. She quickly fell in love with the organization and the children and families it serves. In January of 2015, after graduating with a B.A. in Psychology from UT Austin, Kelsey transitioned to the role of Site Coordinator, and then, one year later, to the role of Afterschool Program Director. She feels blessed to have experienced the ins and outs of Side by Side Kids and is excited for the future of the organization.

Kelsey is passionate about teaching, counseling, and empowering youth. She has experience with children at non-profits in Dallas, Austin, and Peru. So far, her time at SBSK has been absolutely incredible, and she strongly believes that God is using the ministry to transform the lives of many.

Outside of work, Kelsey spends quality time with books, journals, Netflix, family, and friends. She hopes to pass on her love of learning and exploring the world around her to all...


Human Resources Director


Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Lisa moved to Austin to attend college at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a minor in Business. Throughout her time at UT, she participated in various student and volunteer organizations, where her love for people and making a difference in the local community began to grow and flourish. Through a life-changing encounter with Christ her senior year, she felt the call to stay in Austin upon graduation and help build up His kingdom with the local church in Austin.

Through the years, Lisa’s desire to empower those within the community, especially youth, coupled with the constant reminder of God’s love, grace, and the life-transforming power of the Gospel, has given her a greater purpose to pursue things greater than this world and to further glorify His name and make Him known. She is so excited to see God move within the ministry of Side by Side Kids and is so privileged to be able to participate...

Michelle SBSK.png

Afterschool Program Manager


Michelle has recently transitioned roles on our staff team and is now our Program Manager! In 2012, she graduated from Oral Roberts University with a bachelor’s in social work. In May 2015, she graduated from the Bethel School of Ministry with a focus in leadership, Bible, identity in Christ, and ministry. Michelle previously served as an after-school crew leader with Side by Side Kids.

Michelle’s favorite thing about Side by Kids is our love for Jesus and our mission to spread His love and character to the St. Johns community. At Side by Side Kids, Michelle plans to follow her heart by loving people in a practical way. Her desire as she begins this new chapter in life is that the students in our program leave knowing they are deeply loved and have a greater knowledge of God as their Father.

Piccola SBSK.png

Volunteer and Intern Manager


Born into a military family, Piccola grew up moving consistently, which developed her love of people, cultures, and her skills in adaptability and problem-solving. As a high school student in Central Texas, she began working with children and recognized her desire to impact their lives. While completing her Bachelor of Social Work at Baylor University, the development of her Christian faith was her most significant experience. After graduation, her relationship with Jesus led her overseas to serve in missions, and to Northern California where she graduated from Bethel School of Ministry. Her ever-growing love for the Lord has strengthened her desire to impact the lives of children and has revealed her hope to influence and improve communities. She returned to Texas in June 2016 to be closer to family, and further pursue her dreams. As Volunteer and Intern Coordinator at Side By Side Kids, she is excited to bring her skills, gifts, and experience to this growing organization.

Avery Website Photo 2.jpg

Development Specialist


Avery originally came to Austin to attend The University of Texas and explore a place a little weirder than her hometown, Plano, TX. During her senior year, Avery joined the Side by Side Kids team as our Development Intern. She immediately fell in love with SBSK and the communities she had the opportunity to work with. When she graduated from UT in May 2017, Avery came on board full-time as the Development Specialist. She is passionate about empowering the kids we serve and showing them the love of Christ.

Outside of the office, Avery volunteers as a Young Life leader at a high school in Austin and on UT’s campus. She also enjoys exploring the many unique stores and coffee shops Austin has to offer, playing beach volleyball, traveling, reading, and going to concerts.


Afterschool Site Coordinator (J.J. Pickle)


Brittney arrived in Austin in summer of 2015. She attended Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California before moving to Anchorage, Alaska where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Alaska Pacific University. Her interest in working with children and serving her community grew after working as a teacher’s assistant and volunteering for five years in the youth ministry at her church. Her desire to serve others also lead her to work as a case manager for the non-profit Foundation for the Homeless, where she learned how to respond to some of the challenges that exist in the local community.

Brittney’s lifelong goal is to know and love God and to share His love with others. She is excited to work at Side by Side Kids as J.J. Pickle’s new Site Coordinator and to see God’s love make a difference in people’s lives.

In her free time, she is likely to be found reading a good book, attending various church small groups, doing yoga, hiking, or enjoying time...


Afterschool Site Coordinator (Webb Primary)


Tonya recently moved to Texas from Nebraska and will be the new Site Coordinator for Webb Primary! She is excited to be in Austin to enjoy the beautiful weather and to be closer to her family. Prior to Side by Side Kids, Tonya was the Youth Education Supervisor for a youth-serving nonprofit agency in Nebraska for 11 years. She is nationally trained in several evidence-based curriculums and enjoys being an advocate for children of all ages. Tonya has a passion for educating youth and giving them tools to become strong, confident and faith-filled individuals.


Social Media Coordinator


Tori is in her third year at the University of Texas studying Public Relations. Tori got her start with Side by Side Kids as a Crew Leader at Webb Primary School. She led a second-grade class and loved getting to see the ways God was moving in the lives of each of her students.

Aside from Side by Side Kids, Tori is involved with Student Mobilization, a college ministry, and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.

Tori is so thankful to have the opportunity to join the Side by Side Kids family once again and she is so excited to help further God's kingdom through this ministry!