Board of Directors

Reaching Higher’s Executive Board is a working board that’s actively engaged in the development and ongoing growth of its programs. Board members provide key expertise in the areas of Finance, Instruction, Marketing, Fundraising, and Ethics. Additional Board members are being sought to lend additional expertise in the areas of media and public relations. For more information, please call (810) 220-8812 or email us at info@reachinghigherinc.com

Executive Board

ERIC MAXWELL

(Board President)


Eric Maxwell has been affiliated with Reaching Higher since 1999. He began by assisting in the classroom and eventually moved into the instructor position. He has served many years on the board and is a past President of the board as well as past chairperson of our annual gala fundraiser.  Eric holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. He has been in the Financial Services Industry for 30 years. In his spare time Eric enjoys spending time with family at their Northern Michigan cottage, traveling, hiking and kayaking.

GARY GUETSCHOW

(Board Treasurer)


Gary Guetschow is the CFO of The Guidance Center, a large human service organization located in Southgate Michigan.  With over 30 years of health care finance experience, Gary has been Reaching Higher’s Board treasurer for the last ten years.  Gary and his wife Marcia, a retired teacher and Reaching Higher volunteer, have two grown daughters and live in the Brighton area. 

DARCY WOLFSON

(Board Secretary)



SUSIE DAHLMANN

(Founder / Program Director)


Susie Dahlmann is the Founder of Reaching Higher. She has a love for people and a passion for youth, which is why her entire career has been focused on education. She started as a public school teacher working with second graders in the Walled Lake School District, moved to corporate training mid-career, and has been leading Reaching Higher for the past 20 years.

KARA COTTON MOORE

(Executive Director)


Kara Cotton Moore has felt honored to work with community members, staff, parents and students of all ages throughout Livingston County for the last 20 years in the public school sector as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and Executive Director of Instructional Services. As the new Executive Director of Reaching Higher, Kara is excited about this next chapter in her life and working with all the extraordinary people that make Reaching Higher an organization that enhances, changes and saves thousands of live.

ORLANDO BAILEY

(Board Member)


Orlando Bailey is a native Detroiter born and raised on the city’s Eastside. He currently serves as Director of Community Partnerships at Eastside Community Network (ECN) where he works hard to attract and retain key partnerships for the betterment of Eastside neighborhoods. For the last six years at ECN, Orlando has led neighborhood level planning efforts and policy advocacy campaigns, published scholarly articles on social determinants of health and has managed fund development activities.

Orlando was apart of the inaugural cohort of the Knight Foundation Emerging Leaders fellowship program with 880 Cities and he was also privileged to be apart of a “Detroit Delegation” of young leaders chosen to learn from renowned artist and community developer, Theaster Gates and his principles of Ethical Redevelopment of Cities. Orlando is also a sought after speaker and facilitator bringing his lived and professional experience and magnetic personality to every audience he stands before.

Orlando also works with Urban Consulate in Detroit as host, where he gets to convene weekly critical conversations around cities and the social and civic life of communities in them. These conversations promote an atmosphere of constant learning where voices can be heard and ideas can be shared.

Orlando serves on many boards and committees. He currently serves as board chair for One Detroit Credit Union and Caught Up Mentoring Inc. He is also a long time board member of Reaching Higher Inc. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Electronic Media/Film Studies.

Orlando is passionate about the city of Detroit and it’s people. He brings a unique perspective to his work on the Eastside as he gets to work in the neighborhoods that he grew up in. He is outspoken in advocating for resident-driven planning and development, equitable community engagement, and preserving neighborhood culture through revitalization.

COLLEEN DEAVEN

(Board Member)


As principal at The Bridge Alternative High School, Colleen Deaven welcomed Reaching Higher into her building 6 years ago.  She was so inspired the she became an instructor and now instructs in her building as well as in other Brighton Area Schools. Colleen is dedicated to the at-risk student, serving on the Michigan Alternative Education Organization’s board and volunteering when time allows. Colleen holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Education. She has been in education for over 20 years. Colleen enjoys time with her husband and 3 adult children, including a son in law, running, hiking and camping!

SUSAN DOOLEY

(Board Member)


Susan Dooley is a Corporate Trainer who specializes in communication, leadership, presentation skills, and sales training. Over the last 13 years, she has coached over 2000 men and women within the automotive, health care, and chemical industries. She is currently employed as a Business and Training Consultant with Resources Global Professionals, serving multiple companies throughout southeast Michigan.

Susan has been a long-standing volunteer and supporter of Reaching Higher. As a member of the Board, Susan shares her love for teaching by helping to bring new instructors on board.

Susan and her family live in Howell, Michigan.

GREG LONG

(Board Member)


Greg became a premier homebuilder in Birmingham Michigan who after building a multi-million-dollar company in 13 years decided to close his business to pursue his authentic dreams.

He is a lead instructor for Reaching Higher Inc., a youth leadership course that originated in 1997. Reaching Higher is in over 40 High School, Middle, and Elementary schools and servicing five local counties.

For the last five years Greg has also been a dedicated executive consultant and Life coach. His specialties include: empowering individuals and companies to operate and design an environment that provides the freedom to create a powerful future.

Greg is an active member of Christ our Light in Troy Michigan and is happily married to Carole with two beautiful daughters Sara and Alyssa.

LISA MASTERS

(Board Member)


Lisa Masters is a Realtor and Entrepreneur/Business Owner with over two decades of real estate industry experience. She currently works for Signature Sotheby’s International Realty in Birmingham. Lisa resides in Birmingham with her two sons.

Lisa has been with Reaching Higher for over 6 years as a mentor and now as an Instructor in the classroom. She received her degree in Business Administration from Saginaw Valley State University where she received a full basketball scholarship along with All American Honors.

LAURA SURREY

(Board Member)


Dr. Laura Surrey came to Reaching Higher through her work as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for Brighton Area Schools. Reaching Higher had been working with Brighton Schools for many years with great success. Training in-house instructors seemed to be the right next step. So in 2016, Laura and 4 coaches/administrators became Reaching Higher instructors. Today, Brighton Area Schools has nine instructors and is expanding the program in exciting ways.

In 2018, Dr. Surrey retired from Brighton Area Schools after 17 years of service. She moved to the beautiful and peaceful north shore of Houghton Lake, MI where she now works with at-risk high school students in the Houghton Lake Community Education program. Laura loves being able to infuse many of the powerful elements of Reaching Higher into her daily interaction with students. In addition, Laura has a launched a consulting/research business, called Learning Studio on the Lake, llc.

In her newfound leisure time, Laura loves fixing up her lake home, hiking, kayaking, writing, and spending time with her children, friends, and extended family.

Dr. Surrey has been a member of the Reaching Higher Board of Directors since spring of 2018.

KAREN SWIECZKOWSKI

(Board Member)



Karen Swieczkowski is an Ambassador for Livingston County as the Community Relations Director at Brighton Ford. Karen started as a mentor for Reaching Higher in 2014 after attending a Reaching Higher Graduation at Brighton High School. She knew then it was a program she wanted to share with the youth in her community. She was born and raised in Howell, MI and still resides in Howell, now with her Husband and son.

Karen is a Rotarian, Board Member at LACASA, An Advisory Board Member at The Salvation Army of Livingston County, Co-facilitator at 100 Women Who Care About Livingston County and involved with many other local organizations and the face of Brighton Ford.