It’s so nice to meet you!


Below you’ll find the members of your PIMS Team who will assist you during your tenure as a student at PIMS. Each member of the team provides specific, task related duties. We encourage an open communication between our students and the PIMS administrative staff.

Local Phone Number: 412-362-8500, extensions provided below.

Toll Free Number: 1-800-933-5808

Fax: 412-362-1684


Welcome! We’re excited to meet you!


Dr. Barry Lease

President, Chief Executive Officer, PIMS Board Member

Contact information:

•  Email:

•  Telephone Ext. 106

Dr. Lease’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is to serve as the administrator of all functional operations at the Institute. In his role as President/CEO, Dr. Lease is invested in managing the business and operational affairs of the Institute, as well as maintaining accreditation status and compliance with regulations of the state and other governing bodies. Additionally, Dr. Lease oversees the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) initiative tasked by the PIMS Board of Directors. As a member of the Board at the school, Dr. Lease is also involved in resource allocations, strategic planning, and development. Finally, Dr. Lease specifically oversees the Funeral Service Skills Practicum program certifying this experiential aspect of a student’s education at PIMS has been achieved.

Fun fact: Dr. Lease is an avid fan of thoroughbred horse racing and actually builds his own professional handicapping models. Paying homage to his favorite sport, Dr. Lease encourages everyone to “jump up on to the saddle and start your race;” hence his mantra for living is the famous call to post– “Riders Up”!


Dean of Faculty and Students

PRIMARY contact method method is messaging via Canvas. Other contacts include:

Mr. Burns’ focus to enable student success at PIMS includes a full range of responsibilities specifically involving administration of the faculty and students. Such responsibilities include, but are not limited to: curriculum/teaching oversight, student support, promoting campus life, faculty supervision and development, and management of the Restorative Art Residency. In addition, he is a Certified Trainer for the prestigious Insight Institute Certified Celebrant Training Program offering all PIMS students the chance to earn this designation while enrolled at the Institute.

In short, he should be your “first stop” with academic or classroom issues (unless of course it is a specific content question related to a specific course then you should ask your course instructor). Finally, Dean Burns oversees the Clinical Embalming program certifying this experiential aspect of a student’s education at PIMS has been fulfilled.

Fun Fact: Dean Burns comes from a very large family.  His father had 13 siblings, his grandfather had 16 siblings, and his great grandfather had 20 siblings.  He actually has record of almost 40,000 people in his family tree and may even be related to you! His Restorative Art students know his favorite saying very well, “Clean, firm, and dry,” but his words to live by are, “Everything we do is for those who are grieving.” 

Nicole Elachko, MBA

Registrar/Director of Administrative and Student Services

PRIMARY contact is  

Other contacts include:

  • Canvas instant message
  • Telephone Ext. 113

Mrs. Elachko’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is serving as the Registrar of the Institute in which she certifies grades, monitors student pace and progression, issues transcripts, and handles operational affairs such as class scheduling and management of educational resources with the bookstore. As the Director of Administrative and Student Services, she supervises the student services team who are tasked to provide support with admissions, matriculation, enrollment, business affairs, as well as financial aid. Additionally, she is directly responsible to provide support and assistance with technical issues regarding the learning management platform and student administrative software.

Fun fact: Mrs. Elachko took a course in college that involved backpacking in Europe for a month to studying interpersonal communication. After that the travel bug bit her, so in the most frugal way possible, Mrs. Elachko has ventured to twelve countries and hopefully several more in the years to come. Her motto in life is borrowed from the title of a famous book by Dr. Richard Carlson: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and its ALL small stuff.”  


Business Office Advisor, Social Media Coordinator, and P/T Faculty

PRIMARY contact is

Other contacts include:

  • Canvas instant message
  • Telephone Ext. 101

Ms. Cerutti’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is as the member of the Student Services Team who can specifically assist you with business office affairs (e.g. bill paying).  As a P/T Faculty member, you will have classes with Ms. Cerutti and she also may serve as a point of contact for platform technical issues unrelated to specific course content or course issues. Additionally, Ms. Cerutti is creatively involved in assisting with marketing efforts and coordinating PIMS social media platforms.

Fun Fact: Miss Cerutti is obsessed with her 3 cats and her black Dodge Challenger (she has yet to get a speeding ticket… knock on wood)!  She has watched The Office SO many times that she has lost count and has worked “That’s what she said” into so many conversations that SO many eyes have rolled. Her personal claim to fame is that she has never had a cavity, hence due to her obsession with clean teeth, she does not have time to consider such existential ideas as life mantras or mottos. Miss Cerutti’s quote to live by are words spoken by the iconic Michael Scott from The Office, he said, “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”


Cecilia Obermeier


Admission Advisor

PRIMARY contact is

 Other contacts include:

  • Canvas instant message
  • Telephone Ext. 107

Ms. Cecilia’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is to provide admissions advisement, help to prospective students, recruitment, and orientation. As a student enrolled at PIMS, you were likely to have met Cecilia but as you continue your tenure at PIMS, Ms. Cecilia can also help you with inquiries about state licensing requirements and other administrative details. Finally, Ms. Cecilia assists with general administrative tasks and offers creative ideas for marketing efforts and social media.

Fun fact: Ms Obermeier lived the majority of her life in Pittsburgh, and knows many great spots for food, culture, and fun. She now resides in the country to raise her two daughters, two dogs, and a myriad of chickens (because chickens are hilarious and kind of like dogs with zero common sense). Her motto is from author Michelle McNamara—“It’s chaos, be kind.”

Nick Ricci

F/T Faculty

PRIMARY contact information is available through IM of Canvas. Other contacts include:

Mr. Ricci’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is as a full-time faculty member who teaches both online and on campus. While his primary duties are teaching, Mr. Ricci also plays a key role in providing technical education and mentoring for the Clinical Embalming Program, Restorative Art Residency, and First Call/Decedent Transfer seminar (otherwise known as “Rescue Randy” day) at the Institute. Finally, Mr. Ricci also helps out with general administrative assisting tasks at the Institute and provides an assist to Ms. Cerutti in managing our social media presence.

Fun Fact: Mr. Ricci is a huge football fan. Believe it or not, he is impartial to the Pittsburgh Steelers. His motto in life relates to football; “Whether you are winning or losing in life, something positive can always be found”. 

Maria Sproull

Administrative Coordinator & Teacher’s Assistant

PRIMARY contact information is available through IM of Canvas. Other contacts include:

Mrs. Sproull’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is to provide general advisement and help with licensure requirements. You will most likely work with Mrs. Sproull upon completing practicum requirements, licensure requirements and overall she is a great resource for any general inquiry. If she does not know, she will get you to the right person!

Fun Fact: Before Mrs. Sproull went to mortuary school she was trained as a theater costumer. She is a expert with a sewing machine and still works in entertainment as much as possible. She has shadowed backstage for many Broadway Across America performances including: Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and La Cage Aux Folles. Her life motto that comes from La Cage Aux Folles is “What you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside.”



Financial Aid Administrator

PRIMARY contact via email at

Other contacts include:

  • Canvas instant message
  • Telephone Ext. 105

Miss Moyer’s area of focus to foster student success at PIMS is Financial Aid.  As the Financial Aid Administrator, Miss Moyer manages the PIMS financial aid programs.  She ensures compliance with school policies and guidelines as well as Federal and State rules and regulations.  She helps students stay on their path to graduation by helping award and disburse monetary resources, such as student loans and eligibility based federal grants.  Miss Moyer collaborates with the Coordinator and Registrar to ensure successful operation of PIMS administration.       

Fun fact: Miss Moyer has been to over 20 different Amusement Parks including ones in Denver, CO and Toronto, ON and once road the same roller coaster 16 times in a row.   Her motto in life is “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

— Maya Angelou


Chelsea Cush, MS

F/T Faculty

PRIMARY contact information is available through IM of Canvas. Other contacts include:

Miss Cush’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is as a full-time faculty member teaching both online and on campus. Miss Cush spends a lot of time educating students in the classroom and is also an educator for other PIMS experiences such as in the Care Center as an embalming instructor and in the Restorative Arts residency. Miss Cush strives to promote an atmosphere that allows for all students to succeed. One of her ongoing projects is the PIMS Closet where students can ‘shop’ for professional attire before heading out for job interviews or internships. Miss Cush also serves as the faculty advisor for the Student Senate and has helped the students to organize many community outreach events. She also assists with general administrative tasks and social media for the school.

Fun Fact: Miss Cush has been practicing yoga for the last 10 years and has mastered quite a few poses. While yoga is a powerful practice for the body, it has an even greater impact on the mind, teaching us to breathe deeply and move with intention and gratitude in every aspect of our lives. “Namaste” teaches us to honor the light and love in every person we meet, which inspired Miss Cush’s mantra to live by: “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” 



Director of Love and Emotional Support for Students

Contact information:

  • Simply call her name when you see her

Sydney’s focus to enable student success at PIMS is to use her herding background to “herd” students in the right direction. She has a keen sense for knowing when you need some “love”, and in return, she simply asks for a scratch or two behind her ears. Sydney is a valuable member of our team who is always just a call away. When you see her around the school, be sure to tell her what a good girl she is.

Fun Fact: Sydney has earned her credentials as a facility dog to provide visitations to nursing homes, hospitals, funeral homes, and other care facilities by graduating from the Therapy Dogs International (TDI) organization and Canine Good Citizens (CGC) program, both endorsed by the American Kennel Club. While translating her exact “words” may be difficult, Sydney’s motto in life is “If it is soft, I will sleep on it!”

Click here to watch a day in my life supporting our students and staff! 


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