Our Staff

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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...

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Afterschool Program Director


Michelle started her journey at Side by Side Kids as an Afterschool Teacher at JJ Pickle Elementary in the fall of 2014. While serving as an Afterschool Teacher, Michelle realized that she loved working with her students at SBSK so much that she was led to be the Site Coordinator at Pickle the following year. Since then, she has been in various leadership and management roles in the Afterschool Program, the most recent being the Afterschool Program Director. In 2012, she graduated from Oral Roberts University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In 2015, Michelle graduated from Bethel School of Ministry with a focus in leadership, Biblical studies, identity in Christ, and ministry.

Michelle’s hope and desire is that students would know that they are deeply loved by God as a Father and a have a faithful friend in Jesus. Outside of SBSK, Michelle enjoys spending time with her close friends and family, traveling, learning to play the guitar, and keeping up with all things pop culture!

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Human Resources Director


Originally from Dallas, Texas, Lisa moved to Austin to attend college at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies 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...

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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.

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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.

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Afterschool Program Coordinator


Tonya recently moved to Texas from Nebraska and 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.

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Afterschool Site Coordinator (Oak Hill Elementary)


As a recent graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Devin found her way to Austin through an internship at the Capitol. Throughout her journey in the political world, she felt God calling her to a different path of service, and knew that working for the Lord and for His purpose was where she needed to be. Through faith and prayer, Devin was led to SBSK where she fell in love with the mission and service it offered within the Austin community. She will be serving as a Site Coordinator at one of our newest campuses, Oak Hill Elementary!

Through her own experiences, having been blessed with teachers and family who encouraged and supported her, Devin knows the importance of having these types of mentors show you the value of a relationship with God, character, and education. Throughout high school and college, Devin has served in roles of community engagement, service, student mentorship and biblical teaching for children, allowing her to see...

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Afterschool Program Specialist


Paris was born and raised just outside of San Francisco, California so she is thrilled to be back in warm weather here in Texas! After graduating from Iowa State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, she worked as a news producer for a local TV news station in northwest Ohio. She moved to Austin in April 2016 and decided to pursue a career in social work after serving as an afterschool teacher in the 4th /5th grade class at Barrington Elementary with Side by Side Kids! She is now currently in the second year of her Masters of Social Work program at UT – Austin and is enjoying the focus on serving children and adults in the community. As a four-year student athlete in college, Paris experienced the power and passion of teamwork and is excited about the opportunity to be part of the SBSK team in connecting with the youth in Austin. She loves spending time in the classroom learning from students and being involved in the experience of growing with God as a...

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Social Media Coordinator


Tori is a senior 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 where she led a second-grade class and got to see the first-hand the ways God was moving in the lives of the students in this program.

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!

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Marketing Specialist


Growing up in the military community, Amanda was always surrounded by people of different cultures and upbringings. She fell in love with the American "Melting Pot” from a young age, leading her to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Her passion for people outpours from her passion for God and His love for the world and it is this intersection of her heart for God and desire to serve others that led her to Side by Side Kids where she is able to use her creativity and artistic gifts as the Marketing Specialist.

Outside of work, Amanda enjoys spending time with friends, frequenting coffee shops, reading and journaling, and volunteering at music festivals such as SXSW and Austin City Limits.