Before joining Center for the Future of Arizona, Joseph “Sepp” Sprietsma spent four years working with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Initiative – Building Healthy Communities. This four-year, three-million-dollar grant-funded project was based on Collective Impact practices and a formal partnership with the Cochise County School Superintendent’s Office, Cochise County Health and Social Services, the Community Foodbank of Southern Arizona, and First Things First. The initiative used the Cochise Health Improvement Plan to address issues in public health, economic development, and the opioid epidemic. Although Sepp’s role was initially connected to schools, the effort evolved and expanded to include food security, PPE supply chain, community leadership development, and broadening the collective impact network due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Sepp has also had a career in community justice. He supported a juvenile detention alternatives initiative, developed a youth and adult learn lab, and implemented statewide training in Motivational Interviewing and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Sepp continues to teach and develop curriculum for the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education and Cochise College Adult Education.
In the community, Sepp serves on the board of the Bisbee Engineering Science Research Center; as a steering committee member for the National Science Foundation Grant, RAIN (Rural Activation Innovation Network), on the Board of Benson Hospital (Tucson Medical Center); and as a volunteer for VICAP (Volunteer Interfaith Caregiver Program). Sepp’s educational background includes a Master’s in Education from NAU in Higher Education and Community College Leadership, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Evergreen State College in Cultural Anthropology and Natural History, Secondary Teacher Training from Prescott College, and an Associate of Arts Degree from Yavapai College. He is a Tecolote Fellow with St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.