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Our Staff

Steps to End Poverty in McPherson County was founded in 2010 by a group of passionate leaders in the city of McPherson who were dedicated to fighting poverty and inspired by the power that relationships had in that fight. For the majority of our history, STEPMC was connected with the Circles USA movement. Over the past decade we have worked tirelessly to build relationships and walk alongside people as they overcome poverty.

Austin Regier

Executive Director

"I grew up on a farm east of Newton, and attended Bethel College in North Newton, KS where I studied Social Work and Religion. It was also at Bethel that I met my wife Elizabeth, who now teaches middle school English in Moundridge. After Bethel, I went on to get my Master's in Social Work from the University of Kansas and spent some time working on homelessness prevention in downtown Wichita, where I learned about programs like STEPMC. I joined STEPMC in May, 2019. In my spare time I love playing bluegrass music with my family, being active outside, and finding ways to swing a hammer or use tools."


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Rebekah Darrah

Moundridge Coach

"I come to the coaching position here in Moundridge after being a Team Leader in the STEPMC program myself. After reaching a point where I was unemployed, homeless, and feeling broken due to years of trauma and poverty, I found a turning point and began to rebuild a healthy future for my family. I had nothing left but hope and the desire for a better life. Years later, I've completed some training, have found friends in my Team Partners through STEPMC, and have a deep passion for helping others build their futures into what they desire. I believe anyone can overcome anything they set their mind to. In my spare time I enjoy watching movies with my two kids."


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Jessica Smith

Administrative Assistant

"I recently graduated from the Getting Ahead class of 2021 and became a Team Leader at STEPMC. Before joining STEPMC, financially speaking, I didn't have much hope in getting myself out of the hole that I had dug. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and also for the new life that I'm building on my way out of poverty. Outside of working and STEPMC programming, I have a toddler at home and I enjoy growing spiritually, cooking, food, art, music, reading, going for walks, feeding the ducks, watching nature, family time, and friends."

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Jackie Gilby

Organizational Development VISTA

"I am a graduate of the 2022 Getting Ahead class here at STEPMC. I was raised in Georgia and came to Kansas as a young adult. I have written a book on surviving homelessness from my personal experiences, and am passionate about people having opportunities to define their own paths. I love thrifting, crafting, and gardening. I'm excited to be serving STEPMC as their VISTA!"

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Sherrie Rickerson

McPherson Coach

"I have been the McPherson Coach since 2017.I grew up in poverty, moving probably once a year. In 2013, I had a broken down car, no license due to driving without insurance (I couldn't afford it), lost my out of town job due to no car, rent almost due, and 2 children in elementary school. I was scared and felt incredibly alone. I didn't think anyone could understand the struggles I had. I thought I was a failure. Then I joined STEPMC.Through a lot of hard work, supportive relationships, and time, I overcame poverty. I have now gone to college, and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I deeply believe in this organization and the work we do, ENDING poverty, one family at a time."

Contact Sherrie

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Jennifer Burgardt

Director of Youth Development

"I am originally from Western Kansas, reside in Central Kansas, where my family of four finds joy in embracing adventures both big and small.  I graduated from Wichita State University with a master’s degree in early childhood unified, Kansas Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and I am seeking a master’s in leadership and administration. My work encompasses 30 years of learning and growing alongside children, families, colleagues, and communities, inspiring lifelong learning while building connections with others and community."

Contact Jennifer

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