Board of Directors

Mike Coco

Chair
As President of Choice Property Resources, a business-to-business professional services firm in the multifamily industry, Mike spends his time crunching numbers and supporting his team. Before becoming President in 2013, he oversaw the contract management department and the account management for several years each. With community spirit and civic mindedness, Mike is a member of the Traverse City Economic Club and serves on the Local Officers Compensation Committee for the City of Traverse City. Earlier he served on the board of directors for Traverse City Light & Power, the Northwest Regional Airport Authority and several nonprofits supporting rugby. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Miami (OH) University. While initially drawn to the energy work of SEEDS, his current excitement is related to the organization’s work with youth in EcoCorps and EcoSchool. Mike enjoys his family, birding, vexillology and being a rugby old boy. 

Pete Munoz

Vice Chair & Co-Founder
Co-Founder of SEEDS and Board Vice President, Pete is Senior Engineer and Bioregional Team Lead at Biohabitats, a multi-discipline water resource design and planning firm that works with our clients throughout the world to regenerate ecological processes, economical resiliency and cultural vibrancy. His work uses appropriate living water infrastructure to integrate wastewater treatment, stormwater management, rain harvesting, environmental remediation, and watershed restoration into our communities. His specialty is keeping a holistic perspective when understanding and tackling water-related questions. He is a licensed professional engineer in eleven states and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He is also a Michigan-certifed Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator (#5341). He received a BS in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University and an MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Vermont. Much of Pete’s current work integrates water strategies to balance the water/energy/food/ecology nexus. His other interests include biomimicry, natural building, and his two daughters.

Ed Bailey

Treasurer
Ed connected with SEEDS about a decade ago, while collaborating about regional energy flows as part of the Grand Vision Energy Plan.  While he was drawn in through the science of measuring greenhouse gas emissions, he became passionate about SEEDS when he realized how much the organization touches the daily lives of so many children and in such profoundly meaningful ways.  He’s served on the board since 2014 and will chat about SEEDS with anyone who wants to be a prospective board member!  As current Director of Program and Portfolio Development at NMC, Ed supports the institution’s strategic plan initiatives and manages its Marine Center.  The Center provides comprehensive technical training solutions for the marine, surveying and remote sensing industries.  His BS from MSU is in Mechanical Engineering; his MS from U of Wisconsin is in Project Management.  As an adjunct instructor he also teaches Marine Project Management.  Some of the coolest work Ed has been called upon to do includes underwater mapping in Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago.

Megan Motil

Secretary
Megan spent summer vacations in Northern Michigan throughout childhood and those forest and freshwater experiences stayed in her heart. Traverse City became home after earning degrees in Geography and Interdisciplinary Studies and migrating from Ohio. She was a community planner at Networks Northwest while getting an MS in Organizational Management. She then embraced the mission of Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy serving as Associate Director and Director of Development. Combining fifteen years of professional community and organizational development experiences with her curiosity, warmth, pragmatism and drive, Megan founded a consulting company, Parallel Solutions in 2014. Serving government and nonprofit clients, she helps people connect, address tough issues, navigate change and complexity and take action in her roles as advisor, facilitator, coach, trainer, guide and process designer. She’s mom to two teenagers, a writer, a painter and an avid reader who continues to enjoy the forest and waters from her childhood.

Natasha Koss

Board Member
Curiosity about the wider world of living things came early and stayed with Natasha. She zeroed in on Wildlife Biology earning BS and MS degrees in Marquette. The UP’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Hiawatha National Forest called her next. There she submerged herself in one biological tech position after another, then took opportunities south of the Bridge to develop and broaden her environmental consultant and fundraiser skills. Armed and back in Marquette, Natasha commits herself to the health and prosperity of the Great Lakes region. She helps small businesses start up and grow as Fund Development Officer for the state-wide nonprofit, Northern Initiatives. Michigan Audubon is served after hours. When Natasha is fully unplugged she’s running, biking or skiing with husband, Matt, daughter, Elsa, dog Rorey, and other friends, often on an irresistibly challenging 100-mile section of single track trails nearby.

Chris Wendel

Board Member
Chris Wendel works for Northern Initiatives, a mission-based lending organization that provides financing and technical assistance to small businesses throughout Michigan. With a background in economics and entrepreneurship, Chris has a broad range of experiences from operating retail stores to publishing books. He served as both a business consultant and Regional Director for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, where he specialized in assisting start-up and food related businesses. Growing up in Western New York State, Chris graduated from University of Colorado, before settling in Northern Michigan. He resides in Traverse City where he enjoys running, swimming and hiking.

Headwaters

Sarna Salzman

Executive Director
Sarna is our founding Executive Director. Building place-based regenerative communities is her focus, including her work leading and developing the organization’s inner-operations. An adaptive, collaborative leader in the office and out in the community, she is enthusiastic about robust evaluation techniques that value the qualitative alongside the quantitative. Under her direction, SEEDS has specialized in forging multi-sector, multi-disciplinary community relationships that result in manifesting connections between outdoor settings and public schools, leveraging federal funds to serve local priorities, and helping people of all ages become better collaborators with each other and with nature. She works to invite behavioral biophilia into every dilemma and to meet people where they are. Sarna studied Anthropology & Sociology in college and has an MS in Community Development. Does she enjoy tinkering in behavioral economics in her spare time? Absolutely, right after this 21st century visionary parks her commuter bike and waters the plants.

Ryan Buck

Senior Philanthropy Officer
Ryan has a lot of energy and passion, and through his years and unique experiences in hospitality and service, he has grown a defining passion for sustainability, the outdoors, connecting with others meaningfully, and giving back to the community. Born and raised in Chicago, Ryan studied Psychology and Communications at Valparaiso University. He is a hard-core Midwesterner, and while the challenge and excitement of Hospitality Sales & Marketing took him to San Francisco and Miami, he found his way back to Chicago and eventually to Traverse City through the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, having been recruited as Director of Sales. Ryan hosts a guest-centric podcast focused on good work and positivity in our community. It was through that podcast that SEEDS entered into his world and took root. You can also see him playing in his band and podcasting when he is not playing outside with his family and friends.

Elizabeth Dunham

Fundraising Director
Elizabeth is a social butterfly and loves to make connections with and between the people around her. If she doesn’t start the conversation with you first (unlikely, but it happens), asking about her upcoming travel and hiking adventures is always a slam dunk icebreaker. While she grew up in Kalkaska and is rooted there now , Elizabeth has flitted in and out to experience the world. After getting her BA in International Relations from MSU she lived in Chad, Jordan and Egypt, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, and canoed the entire Manistee River. In her 6 years at SEEDS and now heading up Fundraising, Elizabeth helps connect resources to needs. It is important to her that people are able to live fulfilled lives on a healthy planet.

Emma Kelly

HR Manager
SEEDS could not implement its mission without our incredible staff members, which makes Emma’s role critical to the success of the organization and the services we provide to our region. Emma brought her HR experience to SEEDS because she cares about how the community she grew up in can better live with each other and the world around us. She joined the HR profession based on her personal experiences with HR professionals in her early career and hopes to make the same, or more, kind of impact to others that she experienced herself by being an avid listener and advocate for all staff and the organization. She married her high school sweetheart and has two children. Together, they enjoy hiking in the woods, relaxing on the beach, and exploring new places near and far.

Tetyana Kotsekon

Controller
Tetyana joined the SEEDS team because she loves spending time outdoors with her kids and wanted to support an organization that is benefitting nature. A lover of classical music, Tetyana brings the down-to-Earth practically needed in the accounting department of a growing non-profit and local employer. Outside of spreadsheets and Quickbooks, she enjoys hiking, swimming, skiing, and biking. She also enjoys traveling and aspires to one day sail around the world.

Aimé Merizon

Community Outreach Specialist
Aimé spent over ten years in communications and outreach for a conservation district, and also for a nonprofit arts organization. A bachelor’s degree in psychology references her natural curiosity about people, and how she can help them. She also has a degree in fine arts and a master’s in humanities. Aimé finds it deeply rewarding to bring people together to collaborate and exchange talents, skills, and interests. Her other passions include nature, art, writing, and animals. She enjoys hikes with her dogs, Fritz & Pippi; and swooning over the magic of Lake Michigan.

Brook Pepper

HR and Accounting Assistant
Brook and SEEDS think alike in important areas. Seeking to gain employment in the area, she was drawn to working for SEEDS because — in her view — it shares her passions for outdoors and for helping children to learn more about their environment. That said, Brook’s life after working hours comes alive as she settles into her and her partner’s new home and builds a pen so her two horses will soon have a home there too. She’s a “huge” animal lover who also enjoys caring for two cats, two dogs and a tortoise! Another huge interest and activity: she travels throughout Michigan and occasionally out of state to play slow-pitch softball. Her biggest strengths are staying positive, being a people person who listens, and spreading happiness. 

Jen Spencer

Data Manager
A highest calling for Jen is to help create an environment in which communities of people can connect safely and harmoniously with nature, themselves and each other.  She brings to her work a love for people, quality information, and a desire to enable everyone to thrive.  Earning a B.A. in Administrative Leadership and an M.S. in Applied Psychology preceded a decade of experience working at the intersection of Human Resources, Marketing, and Operations. At SEEDS she serves two roles.  For Headwaters she offers administrative support helping to organize and collect some of the organization’s most important data.  For EcoSchool she helps observe and evaluate the after-school programming across all of SEEDS K-12 learning sites.  Jen enjoys deep conversations, studying human behavior, cuddling her dog, Elliott, vibing with crowds at concerts, and every moment spent nurturing special relationships.

Meagan Walters

Grants Manager
Born and raised in Northern Michigan, Meagan has always felt a deep connection to nature. With a BA in Psychology and an AS in Freshwater Studies, she has worked in the nonprofit sphere in varying capacities over the years, including environmental education, water quality analysis, operations management, fund development, and social media. She is particularly passionate about inspiring a love of nature in children and enjoys nothing more than hikes with her daughter in search of Michigan wildlife. In her free time you’ll find Meagan enjoying the outdoors with her family, crafting, and volunteering with a local raptor rehabilitation center, where she has cared for and trained an American Kestrel and a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

EcoCorps

Jennifer Flynn

EcoCorps Program Director
Jennifer expresses her love for the natural world by seeking regenerative solutions, weaving them into both personal and professional life.  As an Ecopsychologist she values the reciprocal healing benefits shared between humans and the natural environment.  Living in the mountains of North Carolina for the past 14 years, she worked as an eco therapist, a rural community and economic developer, and as a consultant for regenerative enterprises. As the leader of SEEDS EcoCorps Program she incorporates ecopsychological design practices, business and skill development into the training program for those looking to engage with the natural world. Grounded in praxis, inspired by our natural community and her Michigan roots, Jennifer is a permaculture designer and herbalist. Over 50 medicinal herbal concoctions comprise her apothecary, made by her for family and friends. This avid hiker/dog walker is also a seamstress and a sculptor using clay, metal and natural materials.

Kris Walters

Field Manager
Kris Walters, a Benzie County local, recently returned to the Grand Traverse area after a fulfilling 20-year career in the army. As the Field Manager with EcoCorps, Kris is dedicated to fostering positive change in Northern Michigan. Drawn to SEEDS by the opportunity to enhance everything he loves about his home region, Kris is passionate about coaching and mentoring others while contributing to the community’s well-being. With certifications in Project Management (PMP) and FAA Part 107, Kris brings a wealth of expertise to his role, ensuring efficient and effective solutions to environmental challenges. Beyond his professional endeavors, Kris and his wife are embarking on the journey of building a sustainable homestead, reflecting their commitment to environmental stewardship and self-sufficiency. Outside of his professional life, he enjoys spending time in nature, exploring the beauty of Michigan’s landscapes, and cherishing moments with his loved ones.

Jo Jaczkowski

Crew Leader & Composting Manager
Jo has a deep love for the natural world, sparked by frequent childhood adventures across the country. By 13, Jo had touched the dirt of 45 states! Growing up in Metro Detroit, some of their most formative and transformative experiences occurred during their time in Scouts BSA – achieving the rank of Eagle. Jo expanded their natural education expertise while earning a BS in Biology at Saginaw Valley State. They spent 3 years as their university’s Outdoor Adventure Coordinator, which influenced their decision to join EcoCorps. Here they continue to share knowledge with others. Always a quick step with a smile, you can find Jo on trail, listening to music, cooking, watching soccer or maybe even smelling some black gold (compost) as the Composting Manager at SEEDS.

Sam LaSusa

Farmers Market Assistant Manager

Sam is an ambitious person, passionate about making the world healthier and more equitable.  A local of Traverse City, he studied Architecture at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis.  By 2020 he was back home using architecture to create beautiful, healthy, functional spaces.  He actively supports affordable housing
in the region.  He joined SEEDS to engage with and support local food production at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market.  He expands his knowledge by assisting at the EcoCorps workshop and farm at Historic Barns Park.  He finds satisfaction utilizing repurposed and sustainably-sourced materials to create furniture there.  When he isn’t working, Sam hikes the trails at the Commons with his dog Bean, homesteads the property around his tiny home, or finds a beach in the summertime to enjoy a good book.

Nick Panicola

MI Healthy Climate Corpsmember
Nick graduated from Iowa State University in 2019 with a degree in microbiology and soon after moved to Michigan to pursue a career in winemaking. During four seasons in the vineyards of Leelanau County and a harvest in New Zealand, a passion for people and the planet developed. He is excited to bring his knowledge and experiences to assist in the continued success of his local community in its effort to tackle the climate crisis. Alongside working with SEEDS, Nick will also be working with the Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology and the Salix Community Forestry Collective. With the help of these three organizations, Nick will tackle the issues of waste reduction, carbon sequestration, methane reduction, support of local agriculture, and much more. He hopes that his efforts over the term of his position will bring even more energy into these inspiring organizations and a positive change in his community.

Erin Slomers

Farmers Market Assistant Manager
Erin Shea Slomers is a Michigan native who settled in the Traverse City area in November 2022. Erin graduated from Harding University, earning a Bachelor’s in Public Relations, fueling her passion for communication and community engagement. As an Assistant Sara Hardy Farmers Market Manager, Erin is helping to foster vibrant community connections and sustainable practices. At SEEDS, Erin contributes by amplifying initiatives that nurture our environment. When she’s not immersed in work, you’ll find her hiking scenic trails, biking through downtown, and hitting the slopes in the winter. Whether it’s advocating for sustainability or engaging in local projects, Erin is committed to making a meaningful difference in Northern Michigan.

Delilah Stirm

Crew Leader
Delilah is a dedicated mother of two wonderful boys who loves spending time outdoors and embarking on adventures with her family. Her passion lies in improving lives and helping the next generation build a strong foundation for a brighter future. Delilah was drawn to join SEEDS because the organization collaborated with her school while she was in middle school, sparking her enthusiasm to join a community filled with kind-hearted individuals. As a crew leader, she cherishes the opportunity to work with everyone towards becoming a unified and great team.

Kyle Warner

Farmers Market Manager
A transplant from Western Michigan Kyle has been a avid supporter of farmers markets where ever he is. No surprise that he is now leading the Sara Hardy Farmers Market found in downtown Traverse City. When not at the market you will find Kyle spending time with his family in their 1,000 square foot garden, playing tennis, or backpacking the scenic trails that Michigan offers.

Jeremy West

Crew Leader
Is there anything Jeremy hasn’t done? Yes, plenty, but not for lack of trying. Born in Detroit and raised in Leelanau County, Jeremy has tried his hand at most things. He derives the most fulfillment from working with his hands, working outdoors, and knowing his work is contributing to something that matters. In his downtime, you will likely find him on a stage doing Stand Up Comedy or relaxing with his wife, Katie, and their menagerie of critters at their home in Benzie County.

EcoSchool

Sandra Ehlers

EcoSchool Program Director
An Elk Rapids native, Sandra is thrilled to be back in the area after living in Wisconsin for many years where she worked as a middle school principal. She is delighted to be working at SEEDS, an organization that combines her passions for education and the environment.  Sandra has a BA in Communications from U of M and an MA in Education  from EMU.  Weekends are spent running, golfing, skiing, boating and enjoying all that Northern Michigan has to offer.

Kristopher Hall

EcoSchool Associate Program Director
Choosing a career is hard.  Lucky for Kris, he always knew he’d be working with youth.  What challenges him is the delta between “education” and “fun” for many students.  His strong impression of “what kids are taught in schools” versus “what they are interested in” developed in college as he interned with a student-empowering program in Kalamazoo.  Years later,  after getting his MS and working in several youth-serving fields, he met up with SEEDS EcoSchool.  It attracted him because of the unique opportunity to engage students in topics not always prioritized during the school day such as SEL, ecology and STEM.  With curiosity, openness and a jovial manner, he attentively oversees operations in six rural schools (K-12) near Traverse City.  Leisure for Kris is lifting weights: he’s squatted over 500 pounds!  Prepping for an upcoming marathon and indulging his nerdy side balance his life out beautifully.

Theresa Corcoran

Nutrition Education Specialist
Theresa started life in The Bronx, childhood in Bloomfield Hills and planted roots in Traverse City 35yrs ago. Her graphic design back round has led her from Traverse Magazine to GTACS and Old Mission Peninsula schools incorporating a creative, healthy food initiative program. Accepting the position of Nutrition Educator at SEEDS “checked all the boxes.” Her passion for healthy food for all. The opportunity to continue working with children and collaborating with other team members with the same passion. She loves to translate her high energy to the classroom, cross country skiing, biking, jumping in cold water, rollercoasters and horseback riding. Aside from all the activities she is a closet nerd who would love a reading vacation, listening to TED talks and yoga retreats. Her husband Mike and four adult children keep her hip with the changing times in their subtle ways.

Sarah Shelp

Nutrition Education Specialist
Sarah Shelp comes to SEEDS with a decade-strong background in youth advocacy and counseling.  Sarah has a BA in Psychology from Michigan State University and an MA in Family and Consumer Sciences from Western Michigan University. As an active nature-lover, gardener, counselor, caseworker, teacher, and mother , she has spent decades nurturing growth in plants and people alike. Sarah was raised in Michigan and has spent seasons in Hawaii. You can often find her swimming in open water or exploring beachy landscapes. Sarah specializes in making connections with people and is happiest when she is building relationships. Come and see her if you could use a hearty laugh or a compassionate ear. She has never met a stranger.
Benzie County Central Schools

Julie Johnson

Site Coordinator,
Benzie Central High School
Julie came to SEEDS with confidence well-earned.  A childhood in the Detroit suburbs nourished a love of outdoors and influenced her studies: Environmental Biology and Zoology at Michigan State University. She then became a “plover crew” member at Sleeping Bear Dunes, where Piping Plover population recovery occurs. In between three seasons of this, she grew her skills in research labs but eventually settled in as a naturalist and educator at a nature center. This was a revelation for Julie – she discovered her passion to share her love of science and the outdoors with others. She returned to MSU for her MS allowing her to study experiential education and community engagement/outreach. Empowering young folks and building people’s understanding of science and conservation using acquired techniques never tires her. In her free time, Julie explores, camps, and makes great meals with her husband.

Molly Pavelek

Site Coordinator,
Benzie Central Middle School
Molly’s natural ability to teach children led her down a career path in childcare and child development that diverted from her academic background one could say.  She graduated from CMU with a major in Business Admin. and a minor in Legal Studies.  With years of experience with children in all age groups, she’s in her niche.  She intends to spend her life mentoring and influencing the lives of the youth.  Molly is a lover of animals, saving bees and all things nature.

Keira Long

Site Coordinator
Betsie Valley Elementary
Keira, a Traverse City local, boasts a diverse background in program coordination that has positively impacted the lives of school-age children, teenagers, and elderly adults. Her journey in youth programming commenced during her pursuit of a degree in Recreation and Event Management at Central Michigan University, where she actively contributed to an elementary afterschool program. Outside of her professional pursuits, Keira is an avid outdoor enthusiast, finding joy in backpacking, skiing, climbing, and exploration. Thrilled to be part of the SEEDS team, she looks forward to bringing a dynamic and engaging experience to the Bestie Valley as the Site Coordinator.

Elizabeth Clay

Assistant Site Coordinator,
Betsie Valley Elementary School
Originally from Georgia, Elizabeth grew up spending her summers among the towering red pines of Northern Michigan. Now, she calls the banks of the Little Betsie River home. Following a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, she spent time in the classroom  as a third-grade substitute teacher and found her zest for teaching elementary students. Elizabeth hopes to help foster a cooperative and inclusive learning environment for the students at Betsie Valley Elementary. She’s eager to pour into the students and families of her new community here in Benzie County. Elizabeth enjoys reading, crafting, and roller skating along with hiking, especially around the spectacular Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Forest Area Community Schools

Hannah Bird

Site Coordinator​,
Fife Lake Elementary School
Hannah Bird is a native of Fife Lake and no matter where her ventures have led her, she has always returned to this tight-knit community. After studying Family Life Education, Hannah moved back to Fife Lake with her husband and pursued a grant funded position at Fife Lake Elementary. This position gave her one-on-one interactions with families to coordinate access to basic needs and support their social emotional needs. When the grant funding ran out, Hannah was devastated to leave the relationships that she had spent 2 years nurturing. As luck would have it, she was able to return to the place she loves, with the kids she cares about deeply, as Site Coordinator for SEEDS After School. She is now able to continue to create meaningful connections in a fun educational capacity. In Hannah’s personal time she enjoys rock collecting and exploring our Great Lake State. Hannah’s favorite things in the world are hearing her baby laugh hysterically at her dog playing fetch, hiking with her husband, and camping at their property in the U.P.

Amanda Gordon

Assistant Site Coordinator,
Fife Lake Elementary School
Amanda is a native of Fife Lake. Raised in a community-minded family, it made sense to resettle in her hometown and find a community-minded position, after a 10 year adventure living in North Dakota. Having more than 25 years experience working with kids, her position with EcoSchool allows her to utilize her skills while learning new techniques to connect with students, being attentive to their social and emotional needs, and focusing on the environment. In her free time, she can sometimes be found at her husband’s family farm talking to cows, or at the family-operated maple sugaring shack. Her favorite activity at the moment is spending time with her daughter before she leaves for college. Amanda enjoys carrying on a family tradition of traveling. She has been to more than 30 US States, Canada and Mexico.

Raina Hall-Dontje

Site Coordinator,
Forest Area Middle School
Raina has spent the majority of her life in the Traverse City area. She was a foster child who was adopted by an amazing family. Since that moment she always wanted to help other children grow and teach them. After a few years in the medical field, she took a chance and is now the Site Coordinator for Forest Area Middle School. Her position with Ecoschools allows her to continue learning, teaching and helping children not only about the environment but with social and emotional needs as well. Right now, she spends most of her free time with her family watching football.
Kaleva Norman Dickson Public Schools

Denise Connolly

Multi-Site Coordinator, KND Elementary School & Brethren Middle School
Although Denise is originally from Cape Cod, MA, she has been living in Michigan for 15 years and feels like a native Michigander!  She is married and has four grown sons.  As an empty nester and a self-proclaimed “late-bloomer”, she finished her teaching degree four years ago and worked in   various schools as a substitute teacher. Then Denise connected with EcoSchool where she is blossoming even more as a full-timer.  When classes are over she enjoys walking her two dogs, reading, and is a football fanatic.
Kalkaska Public Schools

Alexa Tackman

Multi-Site Coordinator, Birch Street Elementary & Kalkaska Upper Elementary
Settings matter to Alexa. Her background is in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Science. In previous jobs, she has worked with kids in both one-on-one and in large group settings, mostly indoors. Her calling is teaching. At SEEDS EcoSchool in Kalkaska, the emphasis is on exploring what’s going on outdoors or on what her learners can make happen in a variety of settings: is it time to watch syrup being drawn from maple trees, is it time to build a garden, or is it time to play a game together? For Alexa, the more settings children and their teachers can be in to learn and to grow the better. After programming, her passions turn to photography, crafting, and spending time outdoors with her husband, Tristan, and their four animals.

Britney Brintzenhoff

Site Supervisor, Kalkaska Upper Elementary
Britney was ecstatic to see a job posting for SEEDS EcoSchool at Kalkaska Upper Elementary School. While she welcomed the chance to work with kids and move closer to her goal of becoming a teacher, what truly thrilled her was the opportunity to return to SEEDS, where she had been a student herself. Britney cherished her time at SEEDS in Kalkaska Middle School, where engaging activities and a supportive staff played a crucial role in her personal growth. Now, as a site supervisor for grades 3-5, she strives to recreate the same nurturing and engaging environment that had such a positive impact on her.

Brett Bontrager

Site Coordinator,
Rapid City Elementary School
Brett uses his teaching degree to enrich the After School Program at Rapid City Elementary. He has an affinity for creative learning opportunities with the students, such as exploring the school forest and river, researching Pokemon and creating reports, and encouraging hands-on art projects. He will forever be known at Rapid City Elementary as the legend behind the infamous playground tag game “Bonzilla.”
Marion Public Schools

Meribeth Mattson

Multi-Site Coordinator,
Marion Elementary & Middle School
Meribeth has worked as a bookkeeper, medical transcriptionist, and a secretary. Even though her working career has always been in record keeping, her favorite jobs have always involved young children. She purchased a one-room schoolhouse and opened a preschool in 2003 where she welcomed children from her community for 10 years. She retired from the Michigan State Police in 2022 and returned to college. Completing her bachelor’s degree in 2023 led her to SEEDS! Meribeth believes in the power of kindness and practices it in all of her personal interactions. She tries to accept others as they are and really see them, especially children.

Alexandra Prokop

Site Supervisor,
Marion Middle School
Alexandra is a dedicated mother who has been nurturing her little boy for almost five years. She enjoys spending her time reading, working on the family farm, playing outside with her son, and cherishing moments with her family. With a passion for working with children, she strives to guide students towards making positive choices and understanding the impact of their actions and words. Throughout her career, Alexandra has been driven by core values of honesty, compassion, kindness, and family. She embraces opportunities for growth and learning, both personally and professionally. When she’s not on the farm, she can often be found attending softball games or traveling with her soon-to-be five-year-old son, sharing new experiences and adventures together.
Mesick Consolidated Schools

Stephanie Brown

Site Coordinator,
Mesick Elementary School
Stephanie is a proud mother of four amazing children. She grew up in a very loving household with great emphasis on success and the notion that if you practice and try hard enough you can do anything you set your mind to doing. She uses these very same values in her household. She believes that all children should be encouraged, appreciated and loved. She joined SEEDS to further her career path and to make a difference one child at a time!