THIS STRONG TEAM OF DEDICATED INDIVIDUALS HELP TO FIGHT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THE COALFIELDS OF SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA. 

Staff

 

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Executive Director - Veronica Coptis

Veronica Coptis joined the CCJ staff in March 2013 as a Community Organizer and is now serving as the Executive Director. She grew up in western Greene County near the Bailey Mine Complex and currently lives in the eastern part of the county.  Before joining the CCJ staff, Veronica served on the Board of Directors for CCJ and organize with Mountain Watershed Association.  She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University and is Chapter Chair for the Pennsylvania Chapter of Sierra Club. She enjoys hiking and geocaching at Ryerson State Park and other areas around Greene County with her husband and daughter. Read more about Veronica in a New Yorker Magazine profile here

She can be reached at veronica@coalfieldjustice.org

 

Staff attorney - sarah winner, ESQ.

Working with plaintiffs in Dallas, Texas who were disproportionately and adversely affected by the harmful effects of industrial nuisances inspired Sarah to commit to a career in environmental law. Since then, Sarah has been fortunate to work on a variety of complex environmental issues. Sarah earned her law degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As a Certified Legal Intern at the University of Pittsburgh Environmental Law Clinic, Sarah worked on a variety of environmental matters involving coal extraction and natural gas development. After law school, Sarah was the Interim Legal Director at CCJ before joining Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services as a Resident Attorney. In March 2016, Sarah returned to CCJ as Staff Attorney. When she's not working, Sarah enjoys hiking, running, and skiing. 

She can be reached at sarah@coalfieldjustice.org

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Campaign Manager - Sarah Martik

Sarah is a bilingual theatre-enthusiast from Coal Center, PA, where she was born and raised along with her four sisters and brother. In the past, Sarah has worked as a course instructor at the Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy, as the Children’s Theatre Manager at Boston Ballet, and as an English as a Foreign Language instructor for Education First; however, she has also assisted on numerous campaigns at both the local and national levels. When you meet Sarah, don’t be surprised when she shows you pictures of her fur-niece, Willow (her sister’s lab mix).

She can be reached at smartik@coalfieldjustice.org

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Community Organizer - Nick Hood

Nick Hood recently joined our staff as the community organizer. You may recognize Nick from his work as an intern at CCJ. Nick and his family have lived, worked and recreated in Washington County for their entire lives.  Currently, he is enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh and is finishing his degree in Environmental Studies. Nick is passionate about the environment and hopes to see an increase in environmental protection to help ensure the health and well-being of his family, including his 4 nephews and 1 niece.  As a part of his goals, he aims to educate and provide the community with the necessary knowledge and tools to combat pollution and corruption perpetuated by the large energy companies. When he is not working, he likes to play music, watch baseball and spend time with his family and friends.

He can be reached at nick@coalfieldjustice.org 

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Outreach Coordinator - Lisa (Coffield) DePaoli

Lisa (Coffield) DePaoli joined the staff as Outreach Coordinator in December 2018. She grew up in rural Washington County and has always loved animals and spending time outdoors. Her deep interest in human beings and ecology led her to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked on research projects and taught at the university level in the U.S. and in field schools in Latin America. The knowledge and experience she gained fostered an interest in environmental and social justice issues. Thus, she has decided to work on issues of humans and ecology at the local level in order to research and address important matters in southwestern Pennsylvania. Lisa loves to talk to people about issues that concern them. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, furkids and friends, and taking long walks in the woods with her dogs.

She can be reached at lisa@coalfieldjustice.org


board of directors 

ken yonek - treasurer 

nicole fifer - Chair 

charles hunnel - Vice ChAIR

tom breiding

kim teplitzky

Lois Bower-bjornsoN - Secretary

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Meghan Dille

Keith Fullerton

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Leann Leiter