Sarah House Board of Directors/Trustees
Join the Sarah House Board of Directors
We are currently seeking individuals to join the Sarah House Board of Directors. If you are interested in becoming a board member or for more information, please click on the attached application form.
John Francis, Chairperson
Retired, Executive Director and CEO of Redwood
John and his wife, Mary Nell, live in northwest Georgia near their three grandchildren. John retired at the end of December 2020 from Redwood in Fort Mitchell, KY, where he was Executive Director and CEO for nearly six years. John’s employment history includes inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse services; children’s residential treatment; foster care; special education; intellectual and developmental disabilities; clinical and administrative roles; and being a COA (Council on Accreditation) reviewer.
John enjoys paddling one of the cedar-strip canoes he has built, hiking, photography, camping, reading, playing banjo, and spending time with his family, especially the grandkids.
Kim Marcum-Mercier, Vice-Chairperson
Founder, Sarah House; RN Home Health Care and StarShine Hospice of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Kim Marcum-Mercier is the Founder of Sarah House and Sarah’s Mom. Kim has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. Before that, she worked as a medical assistant for 10 years. Graduating from The Institute of Medical-Dental Technology in 1985, she later received her Associate and Bachelors of Nursing degrees from Miami University of Ohio in 1995 and 2018, respectively. She is a 2018 MU recipient of the Ruth Ann Busald Leadership Award, and the 2022 Distinguished Service Award. Kim is also a certified pediatric nurse and a current member of Sigma Alpha Pi - The National Society of Leadership and Success.
Working in the medical profession has been a life-long calling for Kim and one she considers a privilege and a blessing. She has devoted her life’s work to primarily caring for ill children; including medically fragile children in need of private duty nursing and an occasional respite, as well as dying children on hospice. Kim has worked in pediatrics for the majority of her nursing career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She is currently employed full-time as a liaison resource nurse for CCHMC’s home health care agency. In this role, Kim helps to prepare parents and caregivers on how to safely care for their child’s health care needs at home. She also coordinates care related to discharge planning from the hospital to home. Kim’s devotion to the mission and vision of Sarah House, coupled with her years of experience in caring for medically fragile children and their families, as well as serving on the board of directors, provides her with great insight into how Sarah House should operate and continues to be an advocate for children and families in need of respite.
Kim is married and lives with her husband Bob in the Colerain Township area. Even though they had the unfortunate loss of Sarah at age 16 to childhood cancer, they have raised 3 other children to adulthood and have 2 adorable grandchildren!
Ariel Schmid, Secretary
Strategy Analyst, VITAS Healthcare
Ariel Schmid is a Cincinnati native, receiving her undergraduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati and graduate degrees from Xavier University. She has healthcare experience ranging from EMT training, direct primary care clinic back office, and an administrative residency at VITAS Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading hospice organizations, where she now works as an analyst in the Innovation & Strategy department, creating tools to ease business processes, train staff on new applications, create business models and payment policy participation plans.
Ariel appreciates the integral yet undereducated end of the healthcare continuum that hospice and palliative care fall into and looks forward to contributing perspectives and ideas backed by experience and passion for patient experience and creating a dignified, peaceful care experience.
Michelle Locey, CPA, Treasurer
Managing Member, Locey, Mitchell & Associates
Michelle has a Bachelor’s in Accountancy from Wichita State University and over 30 years of public accounting experience, five of those with a Big Four Accounting Firm.
Michelle has dedicated her entire career to public accounting, focusing on the needs of the nonprofit and affordable housing industries. Michelle volunteers actively with Junior Achievement, Little Miami school district, and the Animal Friends Humane Society.
Senior Field Representative, U.S. House of Representatives
Zach Bohannon is a Southwestern Ohio native and joined the Sarah House Board in January 2023. Zach first met Sarah Zepernick at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for advanced stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The two friends’ treatment schedules often coincided, and Zach was forever touched by Sarah’s bright smile, infectious joy, positive outlook on life, and resolve in the midst of hardship.
After the miraculous completion of his cancer treatments, Zach graduated from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) High School and went on to receive his Bachelors degree in Mass Communication/Radio Broadcasting and a Masters of Religion/Theology from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. His professional background includes non-profit, teaching and speaking at various levels, Christian higher education, and government/politics. He currently serves as Senior Field Representative for a United States Congressman from Ohio.
A resident of Lebanon, Ohio, and a member of Springdale Nazarene Church in Cincinnati, Zach enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, going to the gym, singing locally, being a connoisseur of 80s/90s pop culture, attending concerts, and experiencing the heartbreak and triumph of Cincinnati sports.
As a grateful cancer survivor, Zach hopes to honor Sarah’s legacy by serving children and families in need of compassionate care through his role on the Sarah House Board.
Rhonda Cooper, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
Nursing Faculty, Miami University; Past RN Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and StarShine Hospice & Palliative Care
Rhonda Cooper joined the Sarah House Board in January 2020. Rhonda is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and has practiced for over three decades at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Over her career, she has practiced in inpatient, ambulatory, home care, and education leadership positions. While working in StarShine Hospice and Palliative Care, she worked with Kim Marcum-Mercier. It was during this time that Rhonda learned of the lack of pediatric respite and hospice services across the country and specifically here in the Greater Cincinnati Area. During her years in pediatric hospice, she attended the initial meeting of the Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care and was involved in the Ohio Pediatric Palliative End of Life Network (OPPEN). She retired from Cincinnati Children’s in 2019, accepting a full-time position as nursing faculty at Miami University Department of Nursing. Kim invited Rhonda to apply for the Sarah House Board in late 2019.
Rhonda is married and lives with her husband Fred in Mason, Ohio. They enjoy traveling, especially visiting family members who live out of town/out of state.
Senior Public Relations Specialist, VITAS Healthcare
Crystal Decker is a seasoned public relations expert with more than a decade of experience in marketing and communications in local, regional, and national markets. Crystal’s board membership with Sarah House marries her previous professional work in the nonprofit sector at Talbert House, the largest social service agency in Southwest Ohio, with her current role at the nation’s largest hospice provider, VITAS Healthcare.
A Pennsylvania native and University of Pittsburgh graduate, she has called Northern Kentucky “home” since 2011. In her personal time, Crystal enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, attending live music events, sharing culinary experiences, and spending time with loved ones.
Sarah House Advisory Board
Rebecca R. Stringer, RN
Hospice Case Manager (27 years), All Caring Hospice
Rachel Thienprayoon, MD, Clinical Liaison
Medical Director of StarShine Hospice, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia, Member of Palliative Care Team, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Norbert Weidner, MD, Co-Founder
Past Medical Director of StarShine Hospice, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia, Member of Palliative Care Team, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center