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.
Patrick Kelly – Youth Programs Manager
Patrick first came to Alaska in 2013 for graduate school, and has not looked back since! He earned his B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Florida State University and his M.S. in Outdoor and Environmental Education from Alaska Pacific University. Patrick likes to spend his free time frolicking through fields of bountiful wildflowers with his dog Sable, backpacking, snowboarding, and playing the mandolin.
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.
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!
Carl Livingston – IT Manager
After studying math and computer science at UC Berkeley, Carl started up his own contracting business in Oakland, CA, and started building houses. He ended up in Denali after picking up a chance phone call from a human resources office for a visiting friend. Bored with contracting, Carl intercepted the call and was hired by the company a week later. That first summer in Denali totally transformed his life! Carl swiftly moved out of the maintenance field and started in IT the next year and has loved it ever since. We’re lucky to have Carl’s diverse skills this summer…they are all going to be put to the test!
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.
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.