EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Michelle Payette
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"...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:16

Michelle Payette is a commissioned minister, educator, and public speaker. She has been personally invested in prison ministry since 2010 when she was incarcerated in the New York State prison system. During her nearly two years “inside”, Michelle earned her New York State Legal Research Certification, worked as an inmate law clerk and received training in and facilitated a New York State mandated parenting program. Michelle returned to her hometown in upstate New York and continues to serve her community. She is devoted to addressing social needs by coming alongside families of the incarcerated and educating community members on how they can do the same. Michelle’s philosophy on life is, “In order to better the world we live in, we need to begin with ourselves. My struggles in life led me to a life of crime. My love for Jesus and Jesus' love for me led me away from it.” Michelle is a Church Mobilization Manager for the world's largest prison ministry, Prison Fellowship. She covers a 16-state territory, working with prison chaplains and administrators, church leaders, and community organizations to reconcile families of the incarcerated to one another and to God. She is a single mom of two adult children and “Grammie” of one. Michelle resides in Rexford, NY.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • President– Vacant. Applicants are being considered.  Please forward your resume/letter of intere to:  Board@BeaconofLight.org and cc Michelle@BeaconofLight.org

  • Virginia Augustine, Vice-President/Interim President– Virginia attended City College of New York and graduated with a BSN degree in nursing. She enjoys being a homemaker and a woman’s gymnastic judge.  Virginia grew up in Carle Place, NY and moved to Clifton Park, NY where she now resides with her husband of 32 years, Frank. She and Frank have a daughter who is fully employed and a son who is in his senior year in college. She enjoys crafting and volunteering for Christian works.

  • Michael Crowley, CPA PC, Treasurer – Michael has a BS Accounting and Business Administration from SUNY at Albany and also attended classes for the MBA Health Systems Management at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Michael served in the US Army as a Sergeant and is a Vietnam-Era Veteran. Savings accumulated during his tour of duty allowed him to attend college entirely at his own expense. He was the recipient of the Wall Street Journal Award for achievement of a 4.0 GPA over 2 years. Michael is a preceptor, mentor and occasional lecturer to Union College’s MBA programs in Health System Administration, Leadership in Medicine and Accounting. Michael is married with two children and enjoys tennis, golf, football, skiing and water sports.

  • Carol Frost-Cyrus, Secretary - Carol graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a Computer Science degree. After several years of employment with General Motors and General Electric, she became a stay at home mom and returned to work part-time when her youngest child entered elementary school, at which time she worked as a substitute teacher as well as in various capacities at her church, Grace Chapel. She continues to work at Grace Chapel in the position of office administrator. Carol and her husband, Duane, reside in Burnt Hills. They have five children and three grandchildren.

  • Cheryl Austen, Advisor – Cheryl attended Katherine Gibbs Secretarial school and worked at AT&T before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Cheryl grew up in Yorktown Heights and moved to Connecticut with her husband, Ken, spending 12 years there before moving back to Clifton Park, New York.  Cheryl worked various part-time jobs until she found employment within the Shenendehowa School District in 2007 where she now works as a bus driver.  Cheryl enjoys working out, hiking, the mountains, the beach and reading!  She and Ken celebrate 38 years of marriage. They now attend Redeeming Love Church in Troy, NY where she is the Angel Tree Coordinator.  They have three grown children and enjoy their two grandchildren.

  • Alicia Bronzell, Advisor – Alicia attended SUNY Albany and graduated with a MS in special education and literacy. She is a full time parent to three children and married to her husband of 13 years, Michael. Alicia grew up in Clifton Park, NY and relocated to Virginia with the NAVY for a few years, where she taught special education. Her love of family and the area brought her back to Clifton Park to raise her children. She grew up in a working class family with a father who was a corrections officer for 25 years. Her special interest areas include: ADHD and the brain, executive functioning skills, and occupational therapy and it's sensory implications on both children and adults. A daily exerciser and outdoor enthusiast, she strives to spend at least two hours a day outdoors and get 20,000 steps on her fitbit. After a life of hands off Christianity, she decided as an adult to pursue a non denominational church and enjoys attending Grace Chapel. Alicia is re entering the workforce after 10 years as a special education assistant in the Niskayuna School District. 

STAFF

  • Johannah Trusnovec, Administrator -Johannah attended Mt.Zion school of Ministry in 1998. She served doing missionary work in foreign countries for many years before meeting her husband Chase Trusnovec (Director of Family Ministries at Grace Chapel of Clifton Park). They were married in 2014 and have two beautiful children. She grew up on Long Island and moved to Glenville, NY in October of 2019. Before becoming a stay at home mom she worked full time as a licensed insurance agent. She enjoys being outside hiking or at the beach, photography, baking, decorating as well as party planning. Her deepest desire to love on others as Jesus has so graciously loved on her.

  • Pam Messenger, Group Leader/Facilitator -Pamela graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana with her BS in Christian Education. Pamela has always had passion for working with people who are struggling. She worked in the Detroit area with troubled teens while on staff with Youth for Christ. When Pamela married and started having children she became a stay at home mom to her four children. She and her husband of 42 years are both now retired and are enjoying time with their family and seven grandchildren. Pam has become aware of the problems in our justice system and has a desire for doing what ever she can to make it better as well as a heart for the families of the incarcerated. Pam also enjoys volunteering at her church and leading Bible studies.