Meet our New Staff!

NEW Faces at CAC!

Put out the welcome mat for employees who have joined the Community Action Council of Howard County in recent weeks.   

Youngsu Agnew

Yongsu Agnew feels passionately about her job as a part-time floater at First Presbyterian Head Start because she believes education builds the foundation to help low-income people. Attending Head Start helped her husband, who is in the Air Force, and her 15-year-old son, who attends Centennial High School. Yongsu, who hails from South Korea, holds an associate degree in preschool education from Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea, and an English certificate from Australian International College of English in Sydney, Australia.


Mara CastelbaumMara Castelbaum is the new Howard County Food Bank receptionist.  She earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in political science and international relations from Towson University and is a Centennial High School graduate.  Mara spent nearly a year as an associate at a financial company, SK Research in Columbia, providing due diligence on alternative investment products and has been a nanny for multiple families the past two years. She is a vegetarian who describes herself as a “super health nut.” Mara enjoys gardening, reading, and outdoor activities.


Gayle ChristopherCAC’s new Senior Accountant Gayle Christopher has been a certified public accountant for 30 years.  She has worked as an accountant for 15 years, most recently at Midasco LLC. Gayle holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV.  The mother of four children from ages 14 to 28 has lived in Baltimore for the last six years.


Janice CobbJanice Cobb is CAC’s new Health Services Consultant.  She is a registered nurse with 50 years’ experience in the health field.  She worked as a clinical nurse specialist for Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville for 18 years and as the Director of the Child Adolescent Program at a community mental health center in Baltimore for five years.  After retiring, Janice’s consulting work has included providing assessments and reviews for several assisted living facilities and teaching CPR and how to give medications. The Columbia resident holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Howard University in Washington, DC, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in College Park.

Rachel GreenThe new Family Service Worker at Ellicott City Head Start, Rachel Green, worked at the Office of Youth and Family Services in Lackawanna County, PA for six years, two of them as child welfare supervisor in the Intake Department. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, and is a licensed graduate social worker in Maryland.  Now a resident of Ellicott City, she served on the Advisory Board for Lackawanna County’s Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America for two years and has taken numerous service trips, including one to Tanzania, Africa, to teach English.

Dina JohnsonDina Johnson has spent all but two years of her life living in the same house, an historical property in Ellicott City. Prior to becoming an assistant teacher at Old Cedar Lane Head Start, she was a lead teacher for two years at a Head Start in Vancouver, WA, and a preschool lead teacher at Relay Children’s Center in Relay, MD. Dina has an associate degree in general studies from Howard Community College.


Veerpaul KaurEllicott City Head Start’s new part-time floater, Veerpal Kaur, is also working temporarily as a substitute teacher at that school.  A native of India, she has been in this country five years. The Elkridge resident holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Ponjabi University in Patiala, Punjab, India, and a master’s degree in information technology from Punjab Technical University in Punjab, India. Her two children attend Dasher Green Head Start.


Skip KlaukaCAC’s new Director of Finance, Floyd “Skip” Klauka, has 30 years’ experience in accounting, including 22 years as Chief Financial Officer for Brooklane Health Services in Hagerstown and two years as CFO of New Beginnings in Cambridge.  “Skip” holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland and is a certified public accountant.  A resident of New Market, he has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Frederick for 10 years.


Mody LacourWith more than 10 years of research, industry and teaching experience in the energy field, numerous certifications, a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate (all in energy or technology), Dr. Mody Lacour is well prepared for his position as CAC’s weatherization energy auditor. Mody has published over 10 peer-reviewed papers on PV systems, solar water heating systems, and micro combined heat and power in internationally recognized energy and policy journals. He also co-authored the book, “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Assessment of Projects and Policies.”


Meredith McCandlessHead Start Behavior Specialist Meredith McCandless has 20 years’ experience working with children, including eight years as an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant for Anne Arundel County, three years as Director of the Salvation Army Preschool in Annapolis, and four years as a training and curriculum specialist for the federal government.  Meredith holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education from California University of Pennsylvania in California, PA.  She received a certificate for mental health consultation from the University of Maryland School of Psychiatry.


Ayesha RanaAyesha Rana, the new part-time floater at the Dasher Green Head Start Center, served as a teacher and administrator at Mashriq International School in Faisalabad, Pakistan, for five years.  Since coming to the United States six years ago, Ayesha has spent a year substitute teaching in CAC’s Head Start system. She earned degrees in psychology and social work from Government College and a law degree from Punjab Law College, both in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Ayesha is raising her 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son with her husband at their home in Jessup in addition to working on her CDA (Child Development Associates Credential).


Anabella Speck

Ellicott City Head Start prekindergarten teacher, Anabella Speck, is well prepared for her new position. She spent 20 years in the Anne Arundel County Head Start Program, including 11 years as a teacher/site manager and four years as a disability and mental health specialist. Anabella holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Mindanao in the Philippines, early childhood credits from Anne Arundel Community College, and special education credits from Bowie State University. She has served on many committees, including the Maryland Head Start Association.