Leadership: Staff

Deann Ayer, Executive Director

Deann is a native of San Diego, California and has lived in Washington, DC since 1997. She brings 18 years of professional experience in the fields of education, youth ministry, and community work to her role as Executive Director of College & Career Connections (CCC). Deann is passionate about justice and education and loves creating opportunities for disadvantaged urban youth to broaden their horizons and discover and develop their potential.

Deann earned a Bachelor's degree in Marketing, Communications and Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Education, with an emphasis in Youth Ministry, from Bethel Theological Seminary. She completed an elementary education program at Point Loma Nazarene University and the Advancing Youth Development course offered by the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation. Deann has taught elementary school; directed a GED program at Gospel Rescue Ministries in DC; co-founded and led Building Bridges Youth Ministry's junior high group; and coordinated adult and outreach programs at Washington Community Fellowship Church. As the Benning Terrace Program Coordinator for East of the River Clergy, Police, Community Partnership, she was introduced to the Ward 7 community and began building the relationships with youth, families, and partners that laid the foundation for CCC. In October of 2006, Deann founded CCC, with support from national and local partners.

Now a resident of Ward 7, Deann enjoys the challenges and rewards of leading CCC. She believes passionately in the organization's mission and loves fulfilling a role that challenges her to continue growing and learning. Deann's hobbies include traveling, spending time with her nieces and nephew, decorating, and taking pictures for the CCC website.

Meghan Behnke, Program Coordinator

Meghan is originally from Evergreen, Colorado and moved to the East Coast in 2005. She brings to her work at CCC both focused experience and a passion for youth advocacy and facilitating college access programs for disadvantaged students.

Meghan holds a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary English Education from Boston University's School of Education. She also holds a Massachusetts state teaching license and taught 12th grade English at an urban public high school.

Meghan's college access experience began when she served as a volunteer advisor to urban public high school students for the COACH (College Opportunity and Career Help) program, a partnership between The Education Resource Institute (TERI) and Harvard, Suffolk, and Boston Universities. This experience led her to become the coordinator of the 11th and 12th grade COACH Programs at TERI, where she also helped design and implement a pilot COACH program for 9th and 10th grade students and facilitated college workshops and field trips for middle school students. After leaving TERI, Meghan worked as a Team Leader at Camp Harbor View, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston program, supervising high school counselors-in-training who were facilitating middle school programs focused on building leadership skills.

Meghan relocated to Washington, DC to join CCC in 2009. As CCC's Program Coordinator, she is able to satisfy her love for teaching, curriculum development, and working with underserved youth. She is thrilled to be part of the CCC team and is committed to ensuring that every student in CCC's programs has the opportunity to establish goals for life after high school and to explore a range of options for making those aspirations a reality.

Meghan is very excited to be living in DC and enjoys exploring her new hometown. When she is not working, Meghan likes to run on the National Mall, cook food from the local farmer's markets, and plan trips with her friends and family.