About Us

photo of student with tablet

Our Mission

Our mission is to inspire and empower all youth to have agency over their education and their lives.

We provide multi-faceted and culturally-appropriate resources and educational opportunities to ensure all East County students have the supports they need to complete high school.

Education Connection Specialists

Michelle Cardenas

More information coming soon.

Melissa Donnini
Centennial High School

More information coming soon.

Isabella McCarthy Zelaya
David Douglas

More information coming soon.

Erin McConaghy
Social Worker,
Centennial SD

Erin is passionate about working with students in creative ways & loves working in the Centennial School District. She enjoys going to the coast to surf, hanging around her neighborhood with her dog, and attempting to make new recipes in the kitchen. 

Call or text Erin at 503-572-5437

Gabriele Ross
Reconnecting/ Attendance Liaison, Parkrose SD

Gabriele brings more than three decades of working as an advocate for youth and families. She came to the US as a volunteer for Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, a German organization founded by survivors of the Nazi regime. In her free time, she paddles and peddles. 


Juani Santiago
Connections Coordinator, Gresham-Barlow

Juani grew up in the Portland-Metro area but was born in Michoacan, Mexico. She speaks English, Spanish, and an Indigenous language called Purépecha, and is truly passionate about helping and working with our students and their families.

Call or text Juani at 971-220-2788 

Sidonia Simpson
Senior Transition Specialist
Court and Referral Lead, MESD

Sidonia grew up in Salem, OR and graduated from Oregon State University. When she’s not working she is traveling, reading or trying to learn a new hobby.

Call or text Sidonia at 503-389-3398

East County Bridges Advisory Group

Christine Otto
Project Director, MESD cotto@mesd.k12.or.us

Kealani Balfour
CTE Administrator, MESD abalfour@mesd.k12.or.us

Melissa Donnini
Reconnections Coordinator, Centennial SD Melissa_donnini@csd28j.org 

Carla Gay
Director of Innovation & Partnerships,
Gresham Barlow SD

Nick Jensen
Hospital Programs Transition Specialist, MESD

Erin McConaghy
Social Worker,
Centennial SD erin_mcconaghy@csd28j.org

Gabriele Ross
Reconnecting/ Attendance Liaison, Parkrose SD

Sidonia Simpson
Senior Transition Specialist and Court and Referral Lead, MESD

Representative from MESD’s Migrant Education Program – TBD

East County Bridges

A program of Multnomah Education Service District (MESD)
11611 NE Ainsworth Circle
Portland, OR 97220

EastCountyBridges@mesd.k12.or.us | 503-389-3398

East County Bridges prohibits discrimination and harassment on any basis protected by law, including but not limited to race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability or perceived disability, pregnancy, familial status, economic status, veterans’ status, parental or marital status or age.