Learning Gate Board of Directors Meeting
Lutz, FL 33549
Debbi Stone is Vice President of Education at The Florida Aquarium. Starting her career as a middle school educator, she transitioned to informal science education at Mystic Aquarium (CT) before relocating to Florida in 2000. At The Florida Aquarium, Debbi oversees all aspects of education programs including standards-based school programs, outreach, teacher workshops, community programs, on-site visitor programs, camps, and overall departmental growth at an informal science center with an emphasis on inquiry-based learning. She is a frequent speaker at local, state, and national conferences and is Past-President of the Florida Marine Science Educators Association. Debbi was recognized in 2004 for Outstanding Leadership in Watershed Education by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and received the 2008 Service Award for outstanding contributions to the Florida Marine Science Educators Association. Debbi was a co-recipient for a 2013 Gulf Guardian Award (2nd place Non-Profit Civic Category) with the Gulf Coast Ocean Observing System and was a team member for the national 2006 Coastal America Partnership Award. Debbi was recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2006 as a leader in successful youth programs though its national Museums and Libraries Engaging Youth initiative. She is endorsed by the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) as a Certified Interpretive Guide and Trainer (CIG and CIT). Debbi is active in the community through the Leadership Tampa Alumni Outreach Committee, the Board for AMIkids Tampa, and the Board of Learning Gate Community School. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the Johns Hopkins University (MD) and a Master of Arts in Teaching (Middle Grades Biology focus) from Quinnipiac University (CT) and is currently continuing her education through several PhD-level courses at the University of South Florida. Debbi is an avid SCUBA diver, kayaker, nature lover and considers every day a unique opportunity to see nature in action with her husband Kevin and daughter Olivia.
Dr. Jennifer Collins is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Science and Policy program in the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida. She obtained a B.S. degree in Geography from the University of Lancaster and a PhD in Physics from University College London. Her research focuses on weather and climate. She works closely on projects with the National Weather Service involving tornados, hurricanes, hail and fog. In addition, she collaborates with international researchers and works in the area of climate change. Dr. Collins is the President of the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, Vice Chair of the Climate Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2014 AAG Annual Meeting and serves on the National Weather Association’s Specialized Operations Committee on Tropical Cyclones. In the past 3 years, she also served as Graduate Director in her department at USF and now serves on the USF Senate. She is active in the community particularly through her volunteer efforts creating weather and climate workshops for teachers in the county.
John Zdanowicz Jr. is the Chief Operating Officer/co-founder and board member of a privately held company, ClearGage Inc, providing technology and patient financing solutions to the healthcare sector. John has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in technology and financial services. Prior to ClearGage (2006-2010), John was the Executive Vice President of Operations at Motivano Inc, a leading provider of employee benefits and financial services technologies where he was responsible for all operational facets of the organization. From 1999-2006, John served in multiple roles, (Project Manager, Call Center Director and Director of Solution/Service Delivery) for WildCard Systems, the pioneer in prepaid card services. WildCard Systems was acquired by Efunds for 288 Million in 2005. John was instrumental in the growth and success of the company, spearheading efforts in areas of customer service, process improvement, strategic planning, and solution development. John worked extensively with the internal executive leadership team and client executives of AAA, United HealthCare, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, MBNA and CitiBank. John received his BS in Finance ('94) and MBA in Decision Information Systems ('99) from the University of Florida. Along with his wife Sarah and two children (Chayce and Kaiya) John enjoys organic gardening, Obstacle Course Running (Mud Runs), camping, fishing, wildlife rehabilitation and has volunteered on marine mammal rescue teams at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Marine Animal Rescue Society in Miami.
Dr. Jennifer Wolgemuth is an Assistant Professor in the Educational and Psychological Studies Department in the College of Education at the University of South Florida. She obtained a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Educational Research from Colorado State University. She completed a three-year post-doc in Darwin, Australia, heading up a randomized controlled trial examining the impact of a web-based early literacy tool on Indigenous and non-Indigenous students' reading. At USF, she teaches research methods classes, both quantitative (research involving numbers) and qualitative (research involving words) to Masters and Ph.D. students. Her research projects explore topics including people's perceptions of K-12 standardized assessment, Indigenous literacy, research participants' experiences being interviewed, and whether full-day kindergarten students do better academically than half-day students. She holds committee chair positions in the American Educational Research Association and heads the Qualitative Advisory Group in the USF College of Education. Jenni has two young sons, a partner who is completing his Ph.D. in Geography at USF, and a cat, who doesn't do much of anything except meow very late at night and very early in the morning. Jennifer is a lover of the outdoors and gets outside as much as possible to run, bike, and hike.
Christina Faudel is the Sales Manager at Tiffany & Co. at International Mall. She is passionate about environmental issues, nature, and overall health and wellness. She is an active member in our community thru Chamber of Commerce meetings and events. Christina is an engaged supporter of area non-profits such as the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa General Hospital, and the Museum of Fine Arts. She is a committee chair for Learning Gate’s Annual Auction Night and sits on the Resource and Development Committee. She is a native born Floridian and lives in our area with her husband and daughter.
Christina Goldstein is a Conference and Events Planner within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Florida. She has a B.S. degree in Advertising and a M.A. in Communication Arts. After 15 years in the advertising industry in New York, Christina relocated to Florida and pursued an events career. She contributes to the strategic and tactical development of events and programs for 26 departments and five institutes within the USF College of Arts & Sciences through staff management, customer service, event and project management, and organizational administration. Mrs. Goldstein is also an adjunct professor within the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications at USF. Christina loves being involved in the community. She also has two young daughters and is a foster mom.
Stanley Kroh is the Manager of Land and Water Programs in the Environmental, Health and Safety Department at Tampa Electric Company. He has been in his current position for 14 years. Prior to that, he worked for the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County. He is active in the local environmental community and serves on the Hillsborough River Watershed Alliance and the Hillsborough Greenways Committee. Professional affiliations include the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) and the International Society of Technical and Environmental Professionals (INSTEP).
Jamie Avant Meyer holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Anderson University and a master’s degree in school psychology from the University of South Florida. She has served at Metropolitan Ministries for 15 years where she was a member of the planning team who opened and operated a charter school for children who are homeless. She has developed trainings for staff and for community groups to increase awareness of issues of poverty and homelessness and improve effectiveness of service and is a certified trainer in Bridges out of Poverty and The Sanctuary Model of Trauma Informed Care. Jamie leads Metropolitan Ministries' education programs including the PromiseLand Early Childhood Center, school-aged children’s activities (after-school program and summer camp), youth programs and adult education and she serves as the Ministries’ liaison with the Metropolitan Ministries Partnership School. She is a member of the Lutz community and has a passion for education and for using nature-based learning to bring out children’s full potential.
Karen Ramlackhan is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Florida. She obtained a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M. Ed. in Exceptional Student Education, both from the University of Florida. Formerly, she has worked as a K-12 educator in elementary and high schools. Currently, she is an instructor of several undergraduate courses in the Special Education program at the University of South Florida, as well as a university supervisor of field experiences for practicum and internship students. Karen and her husband live in Tampa with their daughter.
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