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 was certified as an Inmate Program Assistant - facilitating a New York State mandated parenting program for incarcerated mothers. Michelle returned to her hometown in upstate New York and continues to serve her community today. She is devoted to addressing social needs by coming alongside those affected by incarceration and educating community members and organizations 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 employed as a Church Partnership Manager for the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners and their families, and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, Prison Fellowship. She works across our nation to engage church partners holistically, helping them to identify opportunities to serve based on their community, culture, history, affinity, and interests. Michelle was selected to be a member of Prison Fellowship's Speakers' Bureau in 2021. Michelle is also a commissioned Colson Fellow.
Michelle's life verse is Psalm 119:123 "Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." She resides in Rexford, NY and is a single mom of two adult children and "Grammie" of two granddaughters!
"...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Susan Groh, President – Sue was raised in a Christian family, praying to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior at a young age. Sue earned a BSN from Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 1974, and an MRE (Masters in Religious Education) with an emphasis in Christian Education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL in 1996. Sue’s husband of 47 years was in pastoral ministry for 14 years in both Connecticut and Wisconsin where Sue served alongside in Christian Education and Women’s Ministries. She has taught women’s Bible studies, spoken at women’s retreats, ministered in a maximum-security prison in Wisconsin and has discipleship-counseled formerly incarcerated women in NY and NC using Neil Anderson’s “Freedom in Christ” and Theophostic (Ed Smith). Sue has traveled with her husband in ministry to Egypt, China, UAE, Peru and Greece, observing and interacting with nationals in leadership. Sue is currently teaching Biblical Spiritual Warfare to several groups online. Sue and her husband have 3 children and 8 grandchildren and are residents of North Carolina.
Alicia Bronzell, Vice-President – 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.
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.
Virginia Augustine, Advisor – 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 over 30 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.
Kristin Hinkley, Advisor – Kristen grew up in Corinth, NY and graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BS in Business Administration. Kristin met her now husband of 15 years at Geneseo and lived in Rochester before moving back to the Capital District area to raise their 3 children. Since starting a family, she has felt a heart for serving children. For 10 years she has served Grace Chapel of Clifton Park's Children's Ministry in various capacities. Kristen also serves as their Angel Tree coordinator. Kristen has walked beside Beacon of Light families since 2016 and joined their board in 2022.
Bookkeeper/Office Administrator - Position Open, part-time. Approximately 10-20 hours monthly. Please send resume or letter of interest to Michelle@beaconoflight.org.