Our Staff

photo of Jolynne Bartley

Jolynne Bartley

Assistant 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 Assistant 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 Maria Longley

Maria Longley

Volunteer and Program Manager
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 Lindsey Park

Lindsey Park

Data and Program Manager
Email: walke6le@jmu.edu

Lindsey joined the Gus Bus in 2019 as an Early Literacy Specialist and has since been promoted to Partner and Program Manager. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Central Arkansas. Prior to joining the Gus Bus team, she served as the Assistant Director to the after-school program UrbanPromise in North Little Rock, AR. There she developed curriculum and led instruction for elementary and middle level students, concentrating in academic, recreational, and personal growth development for the after-school and summer day-camp programs. Lindsey’s role at the Gus Bus centers on fostering and continuing relationships with community partners and teaching writing-based curriculum at the After-School program at Spotswood Elementary School.

photo of Dana Lehman

Dana Lehman

Communications and Program Manager
Email: lehmandb@jmu.edu

Dana joined the Gus Bus as the Curriculum and Program Manager in October 2021. Prior to his position at the Gus Bus, Dana was an elementary librarian in Harrisonburg for six years. Dana has a B.A. in English from Bridgewater College and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from The University of Kentucky. In addition to sharing stories out loud, Dana enjoys riding bikes, reading, trying new food, and spending time outside.

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 Spotswood 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 Reem Mohammed

Reem Mohammed

Program Specialist
Email: mohammrx@jmu.edu

Reem joined the Gus Bus team in October 2020 teaching literacy-based enrichment classes to students from Spotswood Elementary School. She graduated from James Madison University with a Master of Science in Education and earned a Bachelor of Statistical Science (Iraq). She also has a Bridging the Gap: Health Interpreter certificate from the Blue Ridge Area Health Education Center at JMU and a community health worker certificate from Eastern Mennonite University. Reem is a former program and graduate assistant at JMU; has been a health interpreter, culture ambassador, and community health worker at Harrisonburg Community Health Center; and has served as an interpreter at JMU. Reem enjoys caring for her family, volunteering in the community, shopping, traveling and being outside.

photo of Nishat Jamil

Nishat Jamil

Program Specialist
Email: jamilnx@jmu.edu

Nishat graduated from Virginia Tech with a BA in Studio Arts and a minor in Creative Writing in 2018. From an early age, she was enamored with creating stories and illustrations, using ideas and visuals that sprung forth from her imagination. Pursuing these passions, Nishat took multiple art and writing classes while at Virginia Tech, gaining experience in a variety of mediums, such as book binding, poetry, laser cutting, and comic writing. Nishat then worked as a freelance editor and is currently reworking her webcomic. She feels inspired to share her passion and creativity as a member of the JMU Gus Bus team.

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
Email: polancfm@jmu.edu

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.

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