Our Staff

photo of Jolynne Bartley

Jolynne Bartley

Associate Director of Children and Youth Services
Phone: 540-568-4113
Email: bartl2jx@jmu.edu

Jolynne has worked with the Institute for a combined time of almost seven years, first as an Early Literacy Specialist for the Gus Bus, then as the Gus Bus Program Coordinator, and now as the Associate Director of Children & Youth Services. She supervises staff and manages the administrative, logistical, and programmatic elements that ensure successful implementation of the Gus Bus program, Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education Program, Future Forward and Healthy Families. She oversees these grant-funded projects and programs, serving children, youth and families throughout the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She has a B.S. in Arts Education from the University of Central Florida, an MPA from James Madison University, concentrating in Nonprofit Management, and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management.

photo of Rachel Gagliardi

Rachel Gagliardi

Program Director
Cell Phone: 540-830-2622
Office Phone: 540-568-5251
Email: gagliarl@jmu.edu

Rachel began her work with the Gus Bus in 2016, when she was hired as an Early Literacy Specialist. She was later promoted to the role of Data and Program Manager, and in fall of 2020 was chosen to be Gus Bus Program Director. Before joining the Gus Bus, she served as a primary school co-teacher of English and Math for pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home in Rishikesh, India. Rachel has an MPA from James Madison University, concentrating in Nonprofit Management and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management. She received her Bachelor of Science from JMU in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies with a minor in Elementary Education, concentrating in math, science and technology.

photo of Erica Park

Erica Park

Administrative Coordinator
Email: parkej@jmu.edu

Erica is originally from Leesburg, VA, and received her B.S. and M.A.T. from JMU as a licensed elementary school teacher. After graduating, she taught third grade in HCPS for 4 years before joining the Gus Bus team as the administrative coordinator. She loved forming relationships with children in the classroom setting as a teacher and is now using her experience to support the Gus Bus program behind the scenes! In her free time, Erica can be found staffing for a JMU student organization and spending time at home with her couch potato of a dog, Togo.

photo of Reem Mohammed

Janelle Erb

Curriculum and Program Manager

Janelle’s love for reading and inspiring young students led her to the Gus Bus team in October 2022. Previously, as an instructional assistant with Harrisonburg City Public Schools, she enjoyed teaching students in grades K-5. Janelle loves learning herself and is continuing to take classes at Blue Ridge Community College. As our Curriculum and Program Manager, Janelle teaches enrichment lessons at our after-school program at Bluestone Elementary and manages our in-home tutoring program. When she’s not at work you may see her pedaling her bike around town, refilling her coffee mug, or checking out books at Massanutten Regional Library.

photo of Maria Longley

Maria Longley

Program Manager (Smithland and Waterman Elementary)
Email: longlemc@jmu.edu

Maria worked from 2016-2017 as a Program Specialist for the Gus Bus, and since 2019 as the Program and Volunteer Manager. A former newspaper reporter, she has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Florida Atlantic University, with a concentration in political journalism. Before joining the Gus Bus, she served as a teacher and facilitator at Raw Learning, a K-12 private school founded on the democratic education model. During her fifteen years as a reporter, she covered beats ranging from municipal government to health and human services and won several Virginia Press Association awards.

photo of Kelsey Hanger

Kelsey Hanger

Program Manager (Stone Spring Elementary)
Email: hangerka@jmu.edu

Kelsey is a licensed elementary teacher who previously worked for HCPS in the Special Education Department. She joined the Gus Bus team in January 2023 as the Communications and Program Manager. Kelsey has a passion for reading and wants to instill that passion in her students. She loves learning and will be taking courses to further her education.

photo of Kim Kazeem

Kim Kazeem

Program Manager (Keister Elementary)
Email: kazeemkm@jmu.edu

Kim grew up in the local community and joined the Gus Bus team in October of 2023. She loves singing, reading, and helping children grow into their future. Her favorite motto is, “No child left behind!”

photo of Jesse Case

Jesse Dragovich

Program Manager (Bluestone Elementary)
Email: casejn@jmu.edu

Jesse first joined the Gus Bus team while earning his bachelors in English and Creative Writing at James Madison University. His love for reading and education dates back to his early childhood, when he would read aloud Where the Wild Things Are and teach long division to stuffed bears and action figures. Throughout his education, Jesse continued to teach and tutor on the side before becoming a Program Specialist at the Gus Bus. In his current role as Program Manager, Jesse focuses on constantly improving the inclusivity, efficiency, and impact of the Bluestone Elementary School afterschool programs.

photo of Barbara Connor

Barbara Connor

Program Specialist
Email: conno2bl@jmu.edu

Barbara has been reading since she was three and memorized, "Are You my Mother?" She worked with out of school year-round program for children in Oceanside CA. Did work as a professional clown, and in 2006-7 worked at an elementary school reading lab as a teaching assistant. She has a passion for reading and wants to find ways to pass that along to the children she currently works with.

photo of fanty polanco

Fanty Polanco

Program Specialist

Fanty is originally from the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic she was a dentist specializing in pediatric dentistry. She moved to the United States in 2010. She is currently a Spanish Teacher at Harrisonburg High School, and she is finishing her studies in a master's degree in Social Work. She loves being a part of the Gus Bus because helping our students and their families is her passion.

photo of Ella Patton

Ella Patton

Program Specialist
Email: pattoner@dukes.jmu.edu

Ella graduated from JMU with a degree in English and Secondary Education in December 2023. She is originally from South Hill, VA. She loves reading and believes that fostering childhood literacy is the key to creating a book-loving world. It is Ella’s personal mission to try every cheese known to man, but she more casually enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

photo of Megan Cassidy

Megan Cassidy

Program Specialist
Email: cassi2mr@jmu.edu

Megan is a senior Psychology major and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies minor at JMU. She is passionate about working with kids and wants to continue her education in counseling. She has previous experience working as a Behavioral Technician for children with autism in both the school and home settings. She wants to use her passion for learning and mental health to instill confidence in students both in and out of the classroom!

photo of Ciana Graham-Shelton

Ciana Graham-Shelton

Program Specialist
Email: graha2cs@jmu.edu

Ciana recently rejoined the Gus Bus team in January of 2024 and has a background in Social Work. Prior to Gus Bus, Ciana has worked with school-aged children in a variety of settings such as, nannying, court services, as well as a private day school. She has a passion for incorporating positive social and emotional skills to support learning at all levels. Ciana is expecting her first baby in June of 2024 and is thrilled to become a mom! 


screenshot of Google maps showing the location of the Gus Bus offices


The Gus Bus
MSC 5508
220 University Boulevard
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Phone: 540-568-5251
Email: gusbus@jmu.edu