Randy Leite, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Randy Leite, Ph.D. serves as executive director of the Appalachian Children’s Coalition. Leite developed a commitment to the Appalachian region during his 12-year tenure as dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. His work as executive director extends his commitment to bringing benefit to children in need and in supporting those who work to meet the needs of children facing a range of behavioral health challenges.  Leite has had a long interest in child and family well-being. He holds a doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University and has conducted research and taught on father involvement with children, family dynamics, and child & family policy. His interest in this area is also reflected in his having been appointed by Ohio’s three most recent governors to serve as a commissioner on the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood where he works to promote meaningful father involvement with children. He has been involved in numerous

community organizations and initiatives including contributing to the development of Live Healthy Appalachia, promoting the establishment of AthensHOPE and the Age-Friendly Athens initiatives, and serving on the boards of numerous organizations including Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, Rural Action, Live Healthy Appalachia, and the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association. Leite and his wife Theresa, a certified nurse midwife, split their time between Hilliard and Athens. They have three children and two grandchildren.


Marsha Lewis

Director of Research

Marsha Lewis, Ph.D. serves as Director of Research for the Appalachian Children Coalition. Her career has focused on applied research in education, public health, and community development. She worked at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service for 29 years, teaching in the Master of Public Administration program and leading applied research and evaluation projects, mostly based in Ohio’s Appalachian region. Marsha has served and continues to serve on numerous state and national advisory committees focused on making data accessible to practitioners and supporting the use of data to make the best decisions for children. She currently participates in Ohio’s Regional Data Leads network as a higher education partner and is a key investigator on a U.S. Department of Education project focused on supporting K-12 educators in the use of evidence-based interventions. She also serves as a data analyst for the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center. Lewis has a master's

degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation. Marsha has lived and worked in Appalachian Ohio most of her life. She currently lives in Jackson with her husband who is in his 34th year of teaching in Pike County, Ohio. 


Patrick Caniglia

Policy and Research Fellow

Patrick serves as a Policy and Research Fellow for the Appalachian Children Coalition. He attends Bowling Green State University, where he is a senior Human Development and Family Studies major. At the ACC, Patrick assists with policy brief and research efforts connecting data on Appalachian children with stakeholders. His past research experiences at BGSU include thematic analyses of qualitative data and program evaluation. He has also worked directly with individuals and families in behavioral healthcare settings through internships with the Children's Resource Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, and the Medina County Children's Center in Medina, Ohio. Patrick looks forward to continuing his work with rural families in both micro- and macro-level service settings.

Coalition Associates

The following individuals work on behalf of Appalachian Children Coalition.


Will Drabold

Sunday Creek Horizons

Zach Reizes

Sunday Creek Horizons

Malania Birney

Sunday Creek Horizons

Kaitlyn Cummings

Sunday Creek Horizons