Jodi Rodwell – Executive Director
Jodi came to Denali in 1995 to work for a summer and has remained here ever since. She has a BS in geology from Montana State University and began her career at the Denali Education Center teaching about the Denali Fault Zone. She loves living in this wonderful community with her husband and young daughter, who arrived in August 2011. In winter, she enjoys skiing on the dog mushing trails and playing pick-up hockey on a local pond.
Jill Boelsma – Operations Director
Jill changed her life when she moved to Alaska in 1999. It only got better when she began working at the Denali Education Center in 2004. She lives with her husband Carl and a rescued German shepherd in view of Denali National Park in a home they constructed with the help of friends and family. Her favorite things include the return of daylight, singing avian migrants, and emerging plants in the spring, endless summer days, the tapestry of the autumn tundra, and the quiet of winter that allows plenty of time for stargazing, dinners with friends, visits with family, and keeping the woodstove stoked. She enjoys travel and exploring the world with an open, inquisitive mind and a pair of binoculars.
Hannah Noel – Program Director
Hannah came to Alaska in 2010 from the midwest- Iowa specifically. When she first set foot in Alaska she said that she was overcome by a deep sense of belonging. She quickly fell in love with the vast landscapes and breathtaking wild-ness. It took her and her husband Chris three summers of seasonal living before they decided to start living in Alaska year-round. When not in the office Hannah and Chris can be found swinging hammers and framing walls (as they are building our own house). They also spend time hiking in the park, catching up with friends, and soaking up the midnight sun. Every day they fall more in love with the wild place that they are lucky to call home.
Jake Hill – Program Manager
Jake left Ohio in 2008 and, like most people, headed North for “just one summer.” The next year, he met his best friend Anna, and they both fell completely in love with Alaska. They are now happily married, and happy to be full-time Alaska residents. Jake enjoys exploring Alaska by foot, by ski, by raft, and by hammock. Despite earning a B.A. in Creative Writing, he has found that Alaska defies description; which might be what he loves most about it.
Emily Myhre – Youth Program Manager
Emily was born and raised in Minnesota. After spending her childhood exploring the northwoods, she found herself moving further north while guiding canoe and backpacking trips. In 2014 Emily made Denali her home mushing a team of sled dogs. A dedicated educator, Emily has spent most of her summers guiding young women on extended expeditions to remote corners of North America, including the Arctic Ocean. Most of her time outside of work is spent exploring remote mountain ranges.
Dave Kuecha – Maintenance Manager
Originally from Florida, Dave is a nine-year Alaska resident. Dave is no stranger to the Denali Education Center campus as he served as our maintenance manager for six years before taking a two-year hiatus to work for an Alaska Native corporation. Dave has 35 years experience as an ASE auto and truck-certified mechanic and has aviation repair/maintenance experience. Skilled in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing, he says he has the best job maintaining this wonderful place, nestled in this great land!
Rachel Crump – Event Manager
Rachel is ecstatic to return for her fourth summer in Denali. She can’t seem to stay away and says some of her favorite things about Alaskan summers are the wildflowers, the midnight sun, and sleeping on the tundra. Originally from Florida, Rachel graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in advertising. In 2015, she traveled to India to study Hatha yoga and is now a certified instructor. She spends her free time hiking, taking pictures, reading, and singing to her cat.
Lindsey Taylor – Field Educator
This is Lindsey’s third summer in Denali, and she is thrilled to be back! In previous summers, she was a Science Communication Intern with the National Park Service. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology and she is passionate about learning, living life outside, and helping others create connections with the environment. In her spare time, Lindsey enjoys hiking, camping, photography, cooking, and playing the viola.
Sarah Bartholow – Field Educator
Sarah has lived in the Denali area for the better part of ten years. Most recently she worked on educational programming for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States. Sarah has a Masters in Education and certificate in Environment, Education, and Community from the University of Washington. Her favorite parts of Alaskan summer is subsistence dipnet fishing, hiking, camping, painting, and picking berries. Working for the Denali Education Center is a privilege that she will enjoy all summer.
Adam Pettee- Youth Programs Coordinator
Adam started his journey in the world of outdoor education in Maryland at Towson University and Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center. He made his way west to Colorado where he managed the overnight summer camp program for Big City Mountaineers. He believes that the most authentic and efficient way people learn is when they feel respected, well cared for, and are having fun. Adam is excited to be the Youth Programs Coordinator for Denali Education Center because he understands the need to move around and constantly engage with the environment, as he himself gets antsy quite easily.
JoHanna Sestito – Program Coordinator
JoHanna first came to Denali in 2012, quickly learned how magical it is and returned in 2014. Originally from Ohio, she earned her bachelor’s degree in integrated language arts and master’s in multicultural special education. After teaching high school for several years, she is excited to take on a new educational role at the Denali Education Center. Her favorite part of Alaskan summers is the midnight sun. JoHanna also enjoys hiking, traveling and seeing how people all across the globe live.
Ellen DiGiacinto – Field Educator & Youth Program Group Leader
Ellen developed her desire for adventure while growing up in northern Maryland. She graduated college from Northern Michigan University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and a minor in Dance. She continued moving west to Colorado where she skied every day in winter, and whitewater rafted in the summer. Ellen loves to dance, watch birds, and knit in her spare time. She is excited to be spending her first summer in Denali with Denali Education Center
James Palmer – Campus Cook
James will tell you he grew up in the woods in Virginia. When his two kids were grown, he decided to attend the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Charlotte, where he found his passion and calling as a chef and baker. Often using the ingredients he finds available to him in nature, you could say that he aspires to be a true sustainable chef and subsistence hunter. James has spent the last few years cooking in Hawaii, but we sense that he’s found a home here in Alaska, as many of us do.
Bethany Boyd – Group Leader
Bethany did things backward and first spent a winter in Alaska before being here for a summer, which was when she joined the DEC family as a resident volunteer – helping with events and programs in exchange for room and board. She decided early on that she would be back but this time, she would get paid to guide hikes. She returned for three more summers working as a field educator. Bethany took time off to obtain a Master of Environmental Studies, but she could never stay away long. Now, in her 10th season, she has made a natural transition into being a group leader, sharing her passion for Alaska with others. Bethany and her husband, Terry, also operate photo tours in Denali and they migrate to Arkansas for winter.
Lori Moore – Group Leader
Lori may not have been born in Alaska but she got here as fast as she could! Over the past 18 years, she has worked as a park ranger, copy maker, bus driver, arts and crafts leader, and grad student. She is now an elementary school teacher and loves keeping busy with year-round outdoor activities and learning new things. She looks forward to spending her summers riding the rails with Road Scholar groups and meeting new people!
Jimmy Sandy – Special Projects Volunteer
Jimmy came to Denali in 1990 “just for the summer” and proceeded to make Alaska his home. He is best known as a founding member of the Denali Cooks, a rock and roll band that is still rocking twenty-plus years later. He has volunteered at the Denali Education Center since 1993, helping out with the construction of the Charles Sheldon Center and with many other projects large and small. Jimmy hatched the original idea for the ever-popular annual auction and continues to bring the stellar live music to many DEC events.