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New Year - New Staff Changes at the Learning Center

Written by Program Director, Deb Crockett

As we begin 2016, some of our valued staff members and friends have moved on to new ventures. Others remain a part of our team, but have assumed new roles. We’d like our friends and partners to know about these changes at Angelic Organics Learning Center. 

Liz Whitehurst (our On-farm Program Director) and Spencer Ellsworth (our Urban Farm Manager in Rockford) moved back to the Washington, DC area to start Owl’s Nest Farm, a cooperative CSA farm. They’re sad to leave the farm community at AOLC, but excited about this new adventure. Check out their website and Facebook page. We will miss them, as both Liz and Spencer made tremendous progress over the past three years in bringing depth and quality to our programs.  Liz is an outstanding manager, plus an energetic educator, able to connect with people of all ages.  Spencer brought new systems to Blackhawk Courts Farm, and was a great mentor to apprentices and community members.  

Laura Wetter (Our Grant Manager) left the Learning Center to pursue her masters degree at the Art Institute of Chicago. During her time with the Learning Center, she juggled dozens of complex grants, and was always consistent and reliable in knowing what needed to be done!  With her leadership, our grant funding expanded and deepened.  

Katie Townsend, who has worked as an urban farm educator in Rockford, becomes our new Program Director for the On-farm Programs.  She brings decades of experience in managing environmental education programs, plus special attention to leadership development and program standards.  We are thrilled that she will guide us in creating closer connections between our urban and rural education programs.  Jessie Crow Mermel left her position as Communications Coordinator to spend more time with her family.  Jessie helped create this role for the Learning Center, connecting our programs mission, and stories to thousand of people in the Midwest region.  Her caring spirit and passion for our work shone in everything she did.  We are fortunate to have her continue as an On-Farm Educator for the Learning Center.  Read Jessie’s beautifully written blog about her time as Communications Coordinator.

Yatte Moore steps into the Rockford Farm Manager position, after two years as an Urban Farm Apprentice.  Hear some of his inspiring and impactful story through the following video, created by his neighbor Tia Smith.  

Finally, we welcome Britney Stubbs to our staff team as our new Grant Manager.  She comes to us with several years experience at Redmoon Theater in Chicago; with her new position at the Learning Center she combines her skills in writing and research with her personal interests in healthy food.