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National Environmental Education Advisory Council Membership

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Current NEEAC Members

Federal advisory committee members can serve terms with a maximum of six years. As members retire, leave their place of employment, or as their terms expire, new members are appointed. Under special circumstances, the membership can be extended for an additional year.  

*Indicates member served previously

Name
Stakeholder Perspective
State and EPA Region
Kay Antunez de Mayolo Senior American California – Region 9
Elaine Eisenbraun Not for Profit Organizations Oregon – Region 10
Andrea Falken* U.S. Department of Education Ex – Officio
Jane Griffin Not for Profit Organizations Nebraska – Region 7
Dr. Sarah Haines Colleges and Universities Maryland – Region 3
Dr. Rebecca Jordan Colleges and Universities New Jersey – Region 2
Dr. Kelly Keena,* Chair Business and Industry Colorado – Region 8
Joshua Leonard Primary and Secondary Education Minnesota – Region 5
Rosanne Mistretta Primary and Secondary Education Pennsylvania – Region 3
Tanya Poole State Departments of Education and Natural Resources North Carolina – Region 4
Victoria Rydberg,* Vice Chair  State Departments of Education and Natural Resources Wisconsin – Region 5
Shari L. Wilson Business and Industry Kansas – Region 7

Current Member Biographies

Kay Antunez de Mayolo

Environmental and Science Education Consultant

Ms. Antunez de Mayolo is a curriculum development consultant specializing in science and environmental education with 47 years of experience as an educator. Ms. Antunez de Mayolo previously served on the National Environmental Education Advisory Council representing the State Departments of Education and Natural Resources. She is an active member of several professional, state, and community organizations that support development of environmental education programs, including but not limited to, the North American Association for Environmental Education, the State Agency Partnership - California Regional Environmental Education Community Network, the California Community Forests Foundation, the Society of American Foresters, the National Science Teachers Association, the California Science Teachers Association, the California Association for Bilingual Education, and the Surprise Valley Educational Foundation. Before she began consulting, Ms. Antunez de Mayolo was the statewide environmental education coordinator for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Worked with Project Learning Tree. She is also the 2015 recipient of the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Walter E. Jeske Award and the 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Individual/Local Level Award. Ms. Antunez de Mayolo received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in biological sciences from the California Polytechnic State University and holds a secondary teaching credential in biological/physical sciences.

Elaine Eisenbraun

North Fork John Day Watershed Council

Elaine Eisenbraun accelerates nonprofit work in youth, education and environmental sectors. Her career has carried her from early ventures teaching scouts, landowners, students and teachers through hands-on outdoor education. Later, she designed and built a wilderness outdoor education center, where families, groups, and individuals camped in yurts and learned through guided activities. Elaine has been a teacher and farmer.  She became a mountaineering, wilderness studies, and avalanche safety instructor before eventually settling into the busy job of nonprofit CEO.  She first directed Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Vermont followed by the North Fork John Day Watershed Council in Oregon. Elaine amplified the education programs at each directorship, developing work/study for teens, pre-school nature academies, week-long school programs, and adult opportunities. She became a sought-after public speaker in outdoor education. Today, Elaine combines her nonprofit expertise and environmental education savvy to consult with a variety of nonprofit organizations as they build their own programs to connect people to nature.  She has also created two new start-ups in the field.  One, called Tomorrow’s Water, is focused on Certification as an incentive to encourage people to learn more about water stewardship and take action toward abundant, high quality water.  The second organization focuses on children who have health concerns and also emphasizes the arts. In these startups, Elaine brings unrelated nonprofits together to create synergy and expansive opportunities.  She received her Bachelor degree in Forest Management from the University of New Hampshire and studied wildlife/fish management at Fulton Montgomery Community College. Elaine is just finishing up a Master Degree in Business Leadership which she will use to further advance both the nonprofits she has founded and other nonprofits in the environmental education sector.

Jane Griffin

The Groundwater Foundation

Since 2008 Ms. Griffin has served as the President of the Groundwater Foundation, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Groundwater Foundation offers educational programs and projects for communities, businesses, and youth to promote the sustainable use of groundwater. As President, Ms. Griffin sets the overall direction and strategic initiative of the foundation; raises operating funds through grants, gifts, and cooperative agreements; and directs and oversees development and implementation of the foundation’s key programs. Programs developed by the foundation include but are not limited to integrating aquifer and groundwater modeling into the science curriculum at local public schools, development of environmental education apps, and project-based environmental education curriculum for the Girl Scouts program. Ms. Griffin also serves as a coordinator for the Nebraska Wellhead Protection Network, which works to assist in wellhead protection efforts by facilitating quarterly meetings that include discussions, educational speakers, and tours for technicians involved in protection of community drinking water. Before she joined the Groundwater Foundation, Ms. Griffin served as Vice President of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and a diploma in museum management from the Universita’ Internazione dell’Arte.

Dr. Sarah Haines

Towson University

Dr. Haines is currently a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. While a professor at Towson University, Dr. Haines was the Director of the STEM Education Center, where she was instrumental in initiating and establishing K-16 partnerships that promoted and improved teacher education. Dr. Haines is a member of the North American Association for Environmental Education and the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education and is active in several committees focused on improving environmental education. She also participates in the National Science Teachers Association, and the Association for Supervision of Curriculum and Development. Ms. Haines is the author of several publications focused on service learning, teacher education, and hands-on science teaching methods. She is recipient of the 2014 University System of Maryland Regent’s Award for Public Service and the 2008 Fisher College of Science & Mathematics Business & Community Outreach Award. Dr. Haines earned her Bachelor’s degrees in biology and animal behavior from Bucknell University and a Master’s degree in zoology from the University of Georgia. She also holds a Doctorate degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in teaching with secondary certification from Salisbury State University.

Dr. Rebecca Jordan

Rutgers University, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Dr. Jordan is currently a Professor of Environmental Education and Citizen Science and the Director of Program in Science Learning at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Dr. Jordan has worked with state organizations including the Massachusetts Department of Education to develop standardized state resources based on her research and is a member of the New Jersey Commission on Environmental Education and Interagency Working Group. She has led and contributed to development of numerous environmental education programs and workshops and is currently a member of the Citizen Science Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Ecological Society of America’s Education Section, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Educators. She is a reviewer of several journals and publications and serves on the editorial board of the Natural Sciences Education, AIMS Environmental Science, Frontiers in Environmental Science, and World Environment. Dr. Jordan received her Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in organismic and evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Dr. Jordan also completed post-doctoral work at Princeton University on the topic of ecology and evolutionary biology.

Dr. Kelly Keena

Environmental and Science Education Consultant

Dr. Keena has been a member of the NEEAC since 2012 and serves as Chair. She is a co-founder, principal evaluator, and consultant for Blue Lotus Consulting & Evaluation and is also a research affiliate for the Community Engagement, Design and Research Center at the University of Colorado. Dr. Keena is an honorarium instructor at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Northern Colorado, and during the summer, she serves as an Environmental Education and Assessment Coordinator for the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest in Iquitos, Peru. She currently provides curriculum consultant expertise to Underwriters Laboratory’s Education and Outreach team, and has provided expertise to the National Wildlife Federation, The Global Library Project, among many other organizations. Her formal classroom work was in two public elementary/middle schools in and around the Denver area as the science teacher leader and instructional coach. She is the author of several publications focused on placed-based education. Dr. Keena graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor’s degree in international environmental geography and received her Master’s in Education in curriculum and instruction and her Doctorate in educational leadership and innovation from the University of Colorado Denver.

Josh Leonard

Belwin Outdoor Science Center, Minnesota Saint Paul Public Schools

Mr. Leonard is the educational director for the Belwin Outdoor Science Center in Afton, Minnesota, and has 18 years of experience in developing and implementing environmental education programming. The Belwin Outdoor Science Center includes 225 acres of trails, prairie, forests, ponds, a marsh, and a stream where students can experience science hands-on. Facilities at the center include classroom space and an observatory. As educational director of the science center, Mr. Leonard designs and implements environmental science curriculum for Saint Paul Public School (SPPS) students in grades 1 through 12. He also works to provide the SPPS district with best practices for environmental education, and reports on the program’s impact on students. Mr. Leonard serves as an advisory board member of the Como Woodlands Outdoor Classroom and is the Belwin Conservancy and Saint Paul public schools liaison; he also participates with the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Nature Center Network. Before he joined the Belwin Outdoor Science Center, Mr. Leonard was a high school science teacher with 13 years of teaching experience and created an environmental science learning program at Como Park Senior High School. He received a Master of Education and Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota.

Rosanne Mistretta

Abington Friends School

Ms. Mistretta is currently the Director of Experiential Learning at Abington Friends School (AFS)in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.  In her role, Ms. Mistretta connects upper school students to experiences outside of the traditional school day such as environmental stewardship projects, service- based learning and global travel.  Previously she was the Lower School Science Teacher at AFS and designed a comprehensive science curriculum for students in grades Pre-K through grade 5. The science curriculum was a hands-on, inquiry-based teaching method that includes the disciplines of biology, earth science, astronomy, physical science, chemistry, and environmental awareness. Ms. Mistretta also developed a Pre-K through grade 12 outdoor environmental learning program, AFS Outdoor Scholarship, Initiative, Discovery and Exploration, and served as director and committee chair. This program integrates an outdoor environmental curriculum into all curriculum areas, including math, language arts, science, art, and music. Ms. Mistretta serves on a number of science advisory teams at her school and maintains a relationship with several community-based organizations, including MANNA, Tookany Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Abington Art Center, and Briar Bush Nature Center. Ms. Mistretta currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the Tookany Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership. Before she joined the Abington Friends School, Ms. Mistretta was an adjunct professor for LaSalle University, teaching ecology and environmental issues/biology to undergraduate students. She has also served as a Senior Assistant Regional Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Region 3, where she counseled program staff on legal environmental issues and provided environmental litigation assistance to the Department of Justice. Ms. Mistretta has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dickinson College, a law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and a Master’s in environmental education from Arcadia University.

Tanya Poole

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

In 2000, Ms. Poole began her career in education as a fourth grade teacher at Central Elementary School and organized her school’s science club for grades 3 through 5. Currently, Ms. Poole is a Wildlife Education Specialist and state Project WILD coordinator with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. She has also been a program coordinator at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Western Carolina University. Under Project WILD, Ms. Poole collaborates with natural resource agencies, education agencies, non-profits, and other organizations to design and facilitate Project WILD, Aquatic WILD, Growing Up WILD, Flying WILD, CATCH, and other wildlife themes and outdoor skills workshops. Educational content for Project WILD is developed to correlate with North Carolina Essential Standards and Common Core standards and North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development. Ms. Poole has also served as an adjunct instructor and program coordinator for the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. She is the 2011 recipient of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina’s Outstanding Practitioner Award and the 2014 recipient of the Fisheries Division Educator of the Year Award. Ms. Poole holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a focus on biology from Western Carolina University and a Master’s degree in environmental education from Montreat College.

Victoria Rydberg

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Ms. Rydberg has been a member of the National Environmental Education Advisory Council since 2015 and serves as Vice Chair. She also is an advisory member for the Green Schools National Network and co-founder of the Wisconsin Green Schools Network. She currently serves as the environmental education consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and is an adjunct instructor at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.  In years’ prior, Ms. Rydberg held teaching positions in the West Salem School District and Madison Metropolitan School District and was a founding teacher of the River Crossing Environmental Charter School within the Portage Community School District in Portage, Wisconsin.  Ms. Rydberg is a member of the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Green Schools National Network, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, Green Teacher Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, and the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. She is the recipient of the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Directors Award, the 2013 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education’s Dave Engleson Award, and the 2005 Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education’s Environmental Educator of the year Award. Ms. Rydberg holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winona State University and a Master’s degree in natural resources/environmental education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Shari Wilson

Project Central, LLC

Ms. Wilson is the founder and president of Project Central, LLC, an organization that provides project start-up and management services for projects focused on education, the environment, arts, and the health of communities. Through Project Central LLC, Ms. Wilson has coordinated an outdoor classroom and nature trail for middle school students and provided assistance to schools implementing Green Schools projects and curriculum. Ms. Wilson also develops curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and has given talks and workshops in countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Georgia, Armenia, Sweden and Germany on Green Schools and environmental and agricultural policies in the United States. Before she founded Project Central, LLC, Ms. Wilson was the Statewide Partnerships and Planning Director for a statewide non-profit organization, where she was manager of the Kansas Green Schools Program. Ms. Wilson is the recipient of several awards, including the 2015 Missouri Recycling Association COAM Outstanding Organics Award, the 2009 Kansas Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievements Program Educator of the Year Award, and the 2005 U.S. EPA Region 7 Regional Administrator’s Award for Environmental Excellence. Ms. Wilson has a Bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Washburn University and a Master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology with an emphasis on water environments from the University of Kansas. She grew up in rural Kansas and lives in Kansas City, Kansas.


Former NEEAC Members

Name
Stakeholder Perspective
State and EPA Region
Angie Chen Not for Profit Organizations California – Region 9
Vidette (Kiki) Corry State Departments of Education and Natural Resources Texas – Region 6
Andrea Falken U.S. Department of Education Ex-Officio
Scott Frazier Business and Industry Montana – Region 8
Kenneth John Gembel Senior Michigan – Region 5
Cara D. Gizzi Business and Industry Massachusetts – Region 1
Richard Gonzales, Vice-Chair Not for Profit Organizations Texas – Region 6
Dr. Kelly Keena, Chair Primary and Secondary Education Colorado – Region 8
Dr. Mark L. Kraus Colleges and Universities Florida – Region 4
Caroline Lewis Primary and Secondary Education Florida – Region 4
Dr. Edna L. Negron-Martinez Colleges and Universities Puerto Rico – Region 2
Victoria Rydberg State Departments of Education and Natural Resources Wisconsin  Region 5