Board Members

VERONICA ARMSTRONG Veronica is a local lead teacher in a Montessori inspired preschool program with a history in various administrative and teaching roles in early childhood education. She is NAMC Montessori certified and is interested in the expanse of resources and information for all local early childhood programs. She began building the idea for Engaged Childhood Education in 2023 and looks forward to building an idea into a reality to support the future of our community starting at a young age. 

JELENA BEIDEMAN Jelena is the founder of Her Tech Collaborative, a dynamic platform empowering women in the tech industry. With a passion for bridging the gender gap in technology, Jelena Beideman established this organization to facilitate monthly events that provide a space for women to exchange their tech journeys and explore emerging tech stacks. Committed to fostering diversity in STEM fields, Jelena Beideman's leadership extends to organizing enriching STEM camps for children. Through Jelena's dedicated efforts, our goal is that Her Tech Collaborative becomes a driving force in cultivating inclusivity, knowledge-sharing, and innovation in the tech realm.

JENNIFER COLVILLE  Jennifer is the director of PorchLight a community literary salon in Iowa City, and the founder of Prompt Press, a project connecting visual artists, book artists and writers. She speaks and leads creative writing workshops on “The Inventive Feminist Voice,” and the intersection of writing and visual art. Elegies for Uncanny Girls, a collection of short stories, was published in 2017 by Indiana University Press. Jennifer is a 2022/2023 Iowa Artist Fellow.

JAY COOPER Jay is the founder of EntrePartners, an organization designed to build community through entrepreneurship. He is an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder, Startup Weekend facilitator, entrepreneur, and director of the Undergraduate Startup Incubator Program at The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Jay has been a fixture in eastern Iowa's startup community since 2015 through his writing, mentoring, and leading local events, which were consolidated under the EntrePartners organization in 2022. He has been involved with The James Gang since his work with The 10,000 Hours Show in 2004.

CASSANDRA ELTON  Cassandra has a BA in English (2009), a graduate certificate in Book Studies/Book Arts and Technology (2012), and an MLS in Library and Information Science (2015).  She became involved with the James Gang in 2012 when she presented them with the wild idea to start an independent library in Iowa City. That idea became the Antelope Lending Library bookmobile where she continues to serve as the Library Director.

SEAN FINN Sean has volunteered with the LGBTQ Iowa Archives and Library (LIAL) since September 2021 and now manages operations, combining his passions for LGBTQ+ community and nonprofit effectiveness. He works as a policy analyst for Common Good Iowa and also serves as a board member for the Wesley Center.

HAILEY FRANZEN  Hailey (she/they) began singing with The Quire in January 2019. Hailey went on to join the board in 2021, and has been the chair of the organization since 2022. The Quire is a mixed-voice chorus that advocates for and celebrates the LGBTQIA2S+ community in and throughout Eastern Iowa. According to Hailey, The Quire is the perfect intersection of their formal education in K-12 Music Education (BA 2018, Wartburg College), a safe space to hold community with the queer peers and elders, and their personal passion for social advocacy.

CECILE GODING  Cecile serves on the board of THE MACHINE STOPS OPERA COMPANY. The endeavor's mission is twofold: First, to provide opportunities for Cultural Corridor writers, visual designers, and musical artists to work collaboratively on new operatic works and to bring their talents to the stage. Second, to expand the number of opera-goers in the Cultural Corridor by producing accessible, socially relevant, and affordable productions that will attract those who have not previously considered themselves to be interested in the genre. 

NINA LOHMAN  Nina is a writer, editor, instigator, and the Publisher of Brink Literary Journal. 

JENNIFER NEW  Jennifer is a writer, somatic practitioner, and facilitator who has worked with and for organizations ranging from women's clinics and organic farms to PBS and Microsoft. A former curriculum developer who has a longtime passion for transforming K12 education, Jennifer is interested in projects that help young people actively adopt new habits and ways of thinking to support them in an increasingly turbulent future; work that supports service providers in meaningful ways; and gatherings that encourage cross-pollination of people and ideas. 

LISA ROBERTS  Lisa grew up in Michigan, attended Princeton University and The University of Virginia, and has taught literature and writing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, and the University of Nebraska. After moving to Iowa City, she served as Assistant Director of the Iowa Youth Writing Project and worked to bring free creative writing workshops to children throughout Eastern Iowa. Her poems have appeared in Plainsongs, The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, and Little Village, among others. She now directs Iowa City Poetry, which aims to share the wealth of literary resources in our area with writers of all ages, incomes, identities, and experience levels.

TRICIA WINDSCHITL Tricia has an MS in Early Childhood Education and is a local preschool teacher/director. She was inspired in 2018 by a group of her preschoolers who wanted to do "help the earth be the best earth."  To help spread their message and carry on their young voices, Tricia created the LENA Project (Lessen. Empower. Notice. Act.).  Tricia also enjoys taking walks and drinking coffee (in her re-usable coffee cup of course!).

Past Board Members

Aaron Schaefer • Analia Alegre-Femenias • Eric Asboe • Ellie Azoff • Jared Bazzell • Joshua Christian Luke Benson • Elizabeth June Bergman • Daniel Boscaljon • Devon Friese Mike Brooks • Heather Byers• Jenny Colville • Micheal Crisholhm • Anne Craig • Denise Dooley • Carson Eggland • John Rearick Josh Eklow • Jennifer Graham Jesse Elliot • Andrea Flemming • Emily Ginsberg • Cassie Gonzalez • Jennifer Graham • Spencer Griffin • Hans Hoerschelman • Zach Hoyt • Daniel Kahlastchi • Kim Kullmer • Margaret Larson • Tyler Lechtenberg • Leigh Lewis • Dora Malech • Carol McVey • Forrest Meggers • Joe Mrkonich • Riley Curry Rob Pilaszewski • Mark Polanzak • Luke Prottsman • Jacek Pruski • Sarah Rades • Katie Roche • Katie Ross • Sheila Samuelson • Laura Savage • Michael Schmitz • Shanti Sellz • Miguel Soria • Andy Stoll • David Strackany • Amanda Styron • Shannon Thomas • Arthur Stewart • Ryan West • Rachel Yoder