board of directors
Linda is the owner of Soulful Prairies in Woodstock, Illinois. Soulful Prairies is a sustainable 80-acre farm with the goals of creating a beautiful place to connect people with themselves, the land, and the horses. Linda has joined the World Citizen Board of Directors because of her belief in our mission and the Five Peace Actions. She brings many skills to World Citizen which will facilitate the promotion of a Just and Peaceful World.
Holly has been singing professionally for 30 years, recording two CD’s with her husband and musical partner, Jimmy. She has performed for countless special events including weddings, corporate gatherings, church services, fundraisers, and even a performance at Orchestra Hall. This is her 25th year working as a PT paraprofessional for the Bloomington Schools. Currently, she serves as a Job Coach, working with high school students with special needs, helping them volunteer as they gain job skills and experience working with others in their community. Holly is a very active member of her spiritual community. Since 1995, she has served as: Music Director, Prayer Chaplain, Teen Sponsor, Sunday School Teacher, Guest Soloist, and Guest Speaker.. Holly purchased a Peace Pole along with the Peace Curriculum for her son’s elementary school in Savage. She did so to honor the wide diversity of the students, and the dedicated teachers and staff there. Here are the lyrics to one of her all-time favorite songs: “May all children – May all people everywhere live in peace. Peaceful minds, peaceful hearts, peace on Earth! Sweet Peace On Earth!”
Cheryl is an educator who has been in the classroom for over 22 years, teaching preschool and upper elementary at Crystal Lake Montessori School, an International Peace Site, in Woodstock, Illinois. As a Montessori educator, peace education has always been a major component of the curriculum. As a member of her school’s peace committee, Cheryl has chaired and organized international projects including Pennies for Peace and the Global Art Project for Peace whose mission was to create a culture of peace through art. Cheryl believes passionately that through education, beginning with very young children, peace is attainable. One of her favorite Maria Montessori quotes is, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.” Cheryl is honored to be a part of World Citizen and looks forward to joining their mission to empower communities to educate for a just and peaceful world through embracing the five peace actions.
Lowell is a graduate of a one room country school in Blue Earth, MN. He then went on to graduate from St. Olaf college, attended the Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as a parish pastor in Farmington, MN, and at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Minneapolis. Lowell served as a professor at Luther Seminary and as a Bishop for southeast Minnesota and St. Paul. He has authored six books still in print: The Lonely House:Strength for Times of Loss, Joyful Living, 10 Habits for Effective Ministry, Be Good to Each Other (An Open Letter on Marriage (co-authored with his spouse, Carol Erdahl), and Sexual Fulfillment for Single & Married, Straight & Gay, Young & Old (co-authored with Herbert Chilstrom), and Winsome Wisdom. His wife, Carol, was co-owner of the Red Balloon Bookshop. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Karen is a retired teacher from the Centennial School District in Circle Pines, MN. She lived in NE Minneapolis, graduated from Edison High School, and received her degree in elementary education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. She received her masters in education from Saint Mary’s University in 1998. Karen taught 4th-6th grades for 35 years and has enjoyed retirement for the past 11 years. She is excited to join the Board of Directors or World Citizen to help promote peace projects, and educate adults and youth in the art of getting along as well as serving one’s community and state.
Catherine is a graduate of the Minnesota School of Business and the University of Minnesota with a two year accounting degree and a B.S. in merchandising. Her most recent position was as accountant for a private school in Saint Paul. In transitioning towards retirement, she became a LifeSAGEr, certified and trained by Celebrations of Life. She enjoys helping people tell their stories through one-on-one counseling and legacy workshops. A life-long learner, Catherine is passionate about successful aging and sharing wisdom with future generations. Her plan is to participate in the World Citizen Peace Education program in order to share that learning with families, faith communities, and local schools.
Md Abdullah Al Miraz
Martha is a retired educator of 36 years, fourteen of those years as an elementary classroom teacher and 22 years as an elementary school counselor. During these years Martha also taught a variety of adult education classes. In 1995 her elementary school became an International Peace Site. Yearly events to renew the school’s commitment to peace became the focus and standard for behavior (including parents, staff, and students.) Martha became a board member of World Citizen in 1997. Along with others, Martha worked to create World Citizen’s Peace Education Program which provides support to keep focused on the Five Peace Actions which lead to a peaceful community. Martha received the Outstanding World Citizenship Award in 2000 for her commitment to promoting peace and justice.
Flora is a loyal member of WCI and has served as our secretary for a number of years. She is a dedicated volunteer parent for the Bloomington School District. Flora has chaired and organized the Annual Diversity Fair and Peace Site Dedications for the Bloomington School District. She is well known in this school district for her many years of dedication in supporting a peaceful school environment for all children. Flora has been the recipient of the Outstanding World Citizenship Award.
staff and consultants
Kathy retired from 36 years in education as of June 2002. She assumed the position of Executive Director in 2003. Twenty-five of her years in education were as a classroom teacher and the last eleven years as an elementary principal in the Centennial School District in Circle Pines, MN. Kathy received her BA degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA, her MS degree from the University of Minnesota in Mankato, MN., and her education specialist degree in administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Kathy was also trained as a trainer for PeaceWorks Curriculum (Miami, Florida based) and received the Outstanding World Citizenship Award in 2004 for her leadership in Peace Education. Kathy’s passion for working with children and promoting peaceful problem-solving match the vision and mission of World Citizen, which led her to her present position.
Lisa joins the World Citizen Staff from a distance. She lives between Illinois and the Island of Eleuthera. Thanks to technology she will be an active member of the staff. Lisa has done extensive work with Montessori schools as an inspired and responsible Montessori Educator. She has designed, planned, and implemented curriculum for young children.
Lisa is very active in the American Montessori Society. The Montessori philosophy aligns nicely with the World Citizen Five Peace Actions. In 2018, Lisa was very instrumental in representing World Citizen at the Annual American Montessori Conference in Denver, CO. In 2011, the Rotary Club of Eleuthera presented Lisa with “The Recipient of Freedom Award.” Lisa brings many gifts to the World Citizen Staff. Her ability to create solutions, excellent communication skills, her highly motivating outlook for peace, and enthusiasm for the work of World Citizen are a few of her many assets which will help promote a just and peaceful world.
Jill has a passion for kids. She loves being involved with children and helping them learn and grow. While being a stay-at-home mom of her three children for 14 years, she -provided daycare to many others. Jill most recently worked as an education assistant at Cowern Elementary, an International Peace Site, before joining World Citizen in 2015.
Web Consultant and Newsletter Editor
Melanie Popelka is a graduate from the University of Minnesota Morris. She holds a degree in Elementary Education. During the school year she is a teacher with a passion for integrated technology, racial and social justice, and equitable education. When she is not teaching, Melanie enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and hanging out with her puppy. She is very excited to be a part of World Citizen.
Peace Education Consultant
Kevin is an educator. As a teacher, he has had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles and geographic locations. He began his teaching career in Liberia, serving in the Peace Corps. After teaching in Liberia, he moved to Morocco and taught fourth grade at the Casablanca International School. He returned home for a few years before moving to Ecuador where he taught Kindergarten in Quito at the American School of Quito. Most recently he spent a few years teaching in India. He served as the Reading Specialist for the American School of Bombay in Mumbai. Currently he works for Eden Prairie Schools as an instructional coach and he is an adjunct professor at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Rhonda Vopava Geyette
Peace Education Facilitator
Rhonda received her BA from Augsburg College and her Masters from St. Mary’s University. She is a retired elementary teacher in Minneapolis at Marcy Open School. Marcy Open School is an International Peace Site. In the classroom, Rhonda focused on peace activities and literature with her students. Building a strong community and collaboration are important to her.
Peace Education Facilitator
Maddy Wegner serves at the Director of Training and Innovation at youthrive, a youth development intermediary in Minneapolis known for inspiring young people to action through the lives and work of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Previously a middle and high school English teacher, she was NYLC’s director of communications for more than a decade, developing resources for service-learning practitioners that bring research to practice. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she received a B.A. in American Studies; the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a secondary teaching credential in English/Language Arts through the Bay Area Writing Project; and Northwestern University, where she received a master’s in journalism. She serves on the Board of SWAA Liberia, an organization that fights the spread of AIDS in west Africa, and is active in the Shannon Leadership Institute through the St. Paul-based Wilder Foundation.