Our TEAM

Nancy Wiley
Executive Director
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 Friends of Great Kids Farm Staff 

 Friends of Great Kids Farm Board 

Amanda Knab
President
Mary Jane Namian
Treasurer
Tiana Coll
Secretary
Courtney Bindl
At Large Executive
Blake Wrigley
At Large Executive
Cyrus Green
Member
Len King
Member
Maryanne Gruys
Member
Keith Shapiro
Member
Deborah Sharpe
Member
Jennifer Everett
Member
Deborah Harrison
Honorary Member
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Laura Genello
Farm to School Specialist
James Koval
Farm Manager
Laura "L" Menyuk
Farm to School Specialist
Anne Rosenthal
Farm to School Specialist
Ben Sommers
Farm to School Specialist
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 Great Kids Farm Staff (Baltimore City Public Schools -- Food & Nutrition Services) 

 

Meet us

Nancy Wiley

Executive Director

Friends of Great Kids Farm

Nancy joined Friends of Great Kids Farm in 2019. She has many years of experience in the non-profit industry -- most recently serving as a Development Manager and Community Director with the March of Dimes.

When not working to fund the programs of Great Kids Farm, Nancy can be found bicycling in the woods of Western Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her father grew up on a farm in New Hampshire, so she has a little bit of farming in her blood!

 

Our TEAM

Amanda Knab

President

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Although she may have little farming experience, Mandy is always willing to jump in and get her hands dirty. She was born and raised in Maryland, graduating from the University of Maryland and the Francis King Carey School of Law, and works as commercial counsel at Merkle Inc. Mandy enjoys spending her free time being outside as much as possible, especially while playing soccer in her backyard with her husband and English bulldogs (who are both stellar defenders).  

Our TEAM

Maryanne Gruys

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Maryanne has a passion for education, wellness and sustainability.  She was involved with these efforts with her children and their schools and now wants to give back to the community and introduce children to nutritious foods, the beauty and serenity of nature and preservation and sustainability efforts.

 

Maryanne has spent nearly 20 years at M&T Bank, currently heading M&T Business Capital.  She is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland, earning a BBA and MBA and is a CPA.

Our TEAM

Mary Jane Namian

Treasurer

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Mary Jane, a long-time Baltimore city resident, was surprised that there was a 33-acre farm just off route 40 owned by Baltimore City Schools. After one visit she knew she wanted to get involved and help raise awareness of the farm and its efforts to engage students in eating well, enjoying nutritious foods and learning sustainable practices.

Mary Jane has spent over 15 years at T. Rowe Price in various Institutional Marketing and Investment Analysis roles. She is a graduate of Cornell University and earned an MBA from Georgetown University. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and cooking with her family and yoga and reading by herself. 

Our TEAM

Whitney Burton

Secretary

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Whitney is a native of Baltimore City. She graduated from William Smith College and University of Maryland, Baltimore.  She currently works at STAR TRACK-University of Maryland School of Medicine coordinating care systems for youth and young adults living with chronic conditions.  She loves cooking, reading, and swimming. Her passion is youth and young adult development with a focus on advocacy. 

Our TEAM

Courtney Bindl

At Large Executive

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Courtney was born and bred in Baltimore, currently residing in Timonium with her family.  Courtney left her job to spend more time with her kids, but found she wanted to spend some of that time giving back to the community and found the farm.  Since April, Courtney has gotten to experience many facets of what the farm does, including welcoming and instructing field trips, gardening, and helping get the word out on how local businesses can support Great Kids Farm. 

Courtney is a project and sales manager and has supported projects for Verizon, HelloFresh, NRG, and others.  She's a graduate of Towson University and when she's not spending time supporting the farm, she's usually chasing around her kids, Fox (1 year) and Hazel (3 years).  

Our TEAM

Tiana Coll

Secretary

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Tiana has over 15 years of experience in programmatic operations and project management, most recently with Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing development.  Having seen how much interest friends and colleagues have in her small backyard farm, she is excited to support the Farm’s efforts to engage schoolchildren and grow their knowledge of the interconnectedness of their natural environment and healthy food options.

 

Tiana is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  In her free time, Tiana enjoys running and baking not-so-healthy desserts.

Our TEAM

Jennifer Everett

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Jen Everett joined the board in 2020.  While not originally from the Baltimore area, she moved here from Philadelphia in 2012 and currently resides in Ellicott City.  She brings a strong desire to learn and drive awareness about farming and gardening and educate youth about growing food, nutrition and wellness. She can often be found in her own garden, growing as many fruits and vegetables as possible and learning about insects, soil and food.

 

Jen brings 15 years of experience in Accounting, Audit and Finance and has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Accounting from the University of Connecticut.  She has also earned an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University.  In her free time, she's usually exploring and finding a new adventure with her wife and twin boys.

Our TEAM

Cyrus Green

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

The son of an Air Force veteran, Cyrus has moved around a lot...but home is Baltimore, where his son goes to a local charter school. He enjoys taking his son hiking and boating. His fondest memory with farming is picking blueberries from his grandmother's garden.

Cyrus has spent over 5 years at T. Rowe Price in various operational and risk groups. He is a graduate of Morgan State University and earned an MBA from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

Our TEAM

Len King

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Chef Len loves to share his passion for cooking and fresh foods with the students of Baltimore City. Len has mentored the culinary programs for the “Learning to Work” curriculum for Baltimore City Public Schools and is a member of the advisory council. He is also active as “Chef & Child" chair for the American Culinary Association, Baltimore Chapter where he has adopted William Paca Elementary and engineered a six-trough, raised bed garden there.

 

Currently Len is a Senior Research Chef at McCormick & Co. in Hunt Valley Maryland.  A graduate of the University of Maryland, Len furthered his culinary training at the California Culinary Academy. Len is a Certified Executive Chef by The American Culinary Federation and a Certified Research Chef by the Research Chef’s Association.  

Our TEAM

Blake Wrigley

At Large Executive

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Blake was first introduced to food justice and Great Kids Farm through his late aunt and mentor Jill Wrigley almost a decade ago. Since then, Blake has worked in the city as a case manager and mentor for youth, an environmental educator, and a public health advocate. He now works at Baltimore Corps as a program manager for their Fellowship program and recently earned his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a concentration in Community Action and Social Policy. 

 

Blake is passionate about connecting people to the natural world and working to make Baltimore safer, healthier, and more equitable for all. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son, birding, backpacking, and getting lost in a good book. 

Our TEAM

Deborah Sharpe

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

A farm girl and backyard gardener, Deborah Sharpe grew up in North Carolina and enjoyed many days on her grandfather’s farm.  Her love of the “great outdoors” sends her exploring the world to see beaches and magnificent wonders.

 

Deborah served in the Baltimore City School System (City Schools) for thirty years as a teacher, manager, principal and assistant superintendent. Her enthusiasm and passion for children and families continue in her retirement from City Schools through her work as a professional consultant where she supports thousands of families, students, corporations and other executive leaders in achieving their goals for sustainable living, healthy decision making and increased productivity.

 

She completed her studies at The Johns Hopkins University with an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Administration and Supervision; Coppin State University, with a Master of Education in Special Education and Winston-Salem State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and a minor in English.

 

She loves spending time with her daughter and their dog, Nirvana, along with other family and friends.

Our TEAM

Keith Shapiro

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Keith has had a long career in the food industry, starting with his first job at the age of 14, slicing meats and assembling catering trays at the local neighborhood deli of his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from the George Washington University, Keith managed large-scale food service operations in the Baltimore Washington region until his employment with what was then a local food service distributor, Smelkinson Brothers Corporation. This led to a long and successful career with the Sysco Corporation, culminating in his position as CEO of Sysco Baltimore Washington and Northern Virginia, from which he is now retired. He has not forgotten his roots in foodservice operations, as he continues to cook for local family and fundraising events to this day! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Laura Genello

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Laura Genello is a food and farm enthusiast hailing from the Northeast. She brings to Great Kids Farm experience working in food systems as a farmer, advocate, researcher and educator. After apprenticing on a vegetable farm in Rhode Island, Laura joined FRESHFARM Markets in DC, working to create a thriving local food economy. Subsequently, Laura managed the Food System Lab @ Cylburn, a Baltimore-based, educational farm run by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Laura is excited to be back in the Baltimore area after having spent the last two years in the Netherlands completing her masters studies in Sustainable Food Systems. In her spare time, Laura enjoys walking in the woods, growing unique veggie varieties, or sharing a home-cooked meal. 

James Koval

Farm Manager

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

James Koval is the Farm Manager at Great Kids Farm. He was born and raised near Allentown, PA. He went to Penn State and got a degree in Secondary Education. After that, he lived in Lafayette, IN, while his wife was in veterinary school at Purdue. During those years in Indiana, he was a high school social studies teacher. In June of 2017, he and his wife moved to Westminster, MD, so that she could begin her career as a large animal veterinarian. James loves being outside and working with plants and animals. He is excited to be here at Great Kids Farm since it is such an awesome mix of agriculture and education.

Laura Menyuk

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

After 3 years teaching literacy in D.C., Laura Menyuk moved outdoors and into the experiential education “classroom” at the Echo Hill Outdoor School on the Chesapeake Bay. Since leaving D.C. in 2009, she has trained in leadership development, team-building, facilitation, food justice, and environmental education around the US and the world so that she could bring that knowledge home. During that time, Laura experienced the magic of the farm as classroom: a place for STEAM education, social science, history, place-based knowledge, personal growth, teamwork, personal connection to our most basic resources, and hands-on learning. She landed in Baltimore via Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program, and remained at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown as program coordinator and farm educator for 4 years. Raised bilingual in one of the most diverse regions of our nation, Laura has always sought to uplift the rich diversity which makes up the fabric of a resilient and just global society. She looks forward to building that society with the students of Baltimore City, literally from the ground up.

Anne Rosenthal

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Anne Rosenthal is a native Baltimorean who is excited about using food as a tool for social change. Before joining the Farm to Schools team, Anne conducted research on global health and sustainability in New York and Belgium; supported community health workers in Mexico; and taught English to elementary schoolers in Spain…though her students there were not lucky enough to visit farms on field trips! In her free time, Anne loves dancing and exploring new places. Anne focused on food systems while pursuing her Masters of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and on environmental studies and French at Wesleyan University.

Ben Sommers

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Ben Sommers is a proud Wisconsin native who also lived and worked in Oregon, Montana, Nicaragua, and Michigan before coming to Maryland in 2017. He earned a BS studying agriculture, geography, and biology at Eastern Oregon University. Ben's professional experiences have been diverse -- working for various anti-poverty and anti-hunger nonprofit organizations and small agriculture-related businesses. Food security, community education, and sustainability have been a part of everything he has done, and he is excited to continue that work with Baltimore City Public Schools. He is also a percussionist, homebrewer, and gardener. His best place is on a river with fishing rod in hand, or walking through a forest observing all the flora and fauna around him.

 
 
 
 
 
Contact 

6601 Baltimore National Pike

Catonsville, MD 21228

friendsgkf@gmail.com

 mailing list

© 2019 by Friends of Great Kids Farm

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