OUR TEAM

Our TEAM

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!

 
 

Mary Jane Namian

President

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. 

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.

Maryanne Gruys

Treasurer

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.

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).  

Hershel Waites

At Large Executive

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Hershel has always had a passion for volunteerism and is continuously looking for ways to increase his impact and get his hands dirty. He understands the importance of introducing students to a world outside of their norm. When he was first introduced to the work being done at Great Kids Farm, he couldn’t wait to begin making a difference.

Although a native of Baltimore, Hershel enjoys traveling to exciting places as well as trying various types of unique cuisine. Hershel currently works at M&T Bank where he provides consultation to commercial bank clients regarding their foreign exchange risk and hedging needs. He is also a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD where he obtained his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice.

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. 

Terrell Brown

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Born and raised in Baltimore, and a Baltimore City Public School graduate, Terrell is a multi-media strategist who helps civic organizations creatively connect with the constituents they serve. He has worked extensively in social innovation and entrepreneurship. His work has developed through programming and deepened the collaboration and connection that creative projects have to the community. Having served in the Army, Terrell brings a mission focused, disciplined, and multilateral approach to relationship building which helps break down social barriers inherent in our city's landscape.

Brittany Coverdale

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Brittany's passion for growing things was cultivated with her grandmother's guidance in their home garden on Long Island. She moved to Baltimore just over ten years ago and settled into a variety of jobs in the youth advocacy and community development sectors. These combined experiences led to a deep interest in food justice as an important subset of racial justice. Learning about where food comes from and how to grow it on your own is a human right. Being on the Friends of Great Kids Farm board is a tangible way to foster access to these bases of knowledge.

 

Brittany is a certified Master Gardener who can also be found reading, spending time with friends, hiking near some water, or honing her grilled cheese skills.

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.

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.

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.  

Sadé Newson

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Sadé is committed to serving alongside others who share an interest in creating a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world. She is passionate about child advocacy, environmental education and food justice. Sadé is an experienced attorney with a demonstrated history of providing a high-level of advocacy for her clients. She is skilled in trial advocacy, litigation, legal writing, and child welfare laws and policies. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland Care School of Law and her Bachelor of Science from Barry University. Sadé delights in spending time with her family and friends! 

Amanda Knab

Member

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).  

J. Paul Richards

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Paul joined the Great Kids Farm board in 2022. In 2005, he founded Gymjam, a children's activity center in Eldersburg, Maryland. Gymjam's goal was to help kids build self-confidence while promoting positive self-esteem. Dealt a critical blow during the recession, Gymjam was forced to close in 2011, but Paul never let go of his dream to improve the lives of children.

 

A recent transplant to Catonsville, Paul found his home abutted the Great Kids Farm property. When he discovered his new Catonsville neighbor was tasked with enriching the lives of Baltimore city school children, Paul knew he had to be a part of it!

 

During his 30-year career, Paul has held various sales, sales management and leadership roles. Currently, Paul works full-time as a project developer in the commercial solar industry for Gordian Energy Systems. When not working on a home project or tending to a side-hustle, Paul likes to go on long walks with his 3 dogs and wife of 30+ years. Paul is a graduate of Towson University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

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! 

Sharon Turner

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Sharon is a native Baltimorean and city resident and is the Development Equity Manager for Enterprise Community Asset Management, a national organization that supports the development of affordable housing.  Sharon is passionate about living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and is excited to carry out the Friends of Great Kids Farm’s mission to positively impact the Baltimore City students’ awareness of healthy food choices, farm animals and environmental literacy.

Sharon is a graduate of the Notre Dame of Maryland University and enjoys spending her free time participating in Toastmasters, reading, exercising and spending time with her family and two puppies.  She also enjoys supporting the local farmers.

Katharyn Tupitza

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Katharyn grew up working with her hands assisting her grandma with her flower garden and volunteering at food shelters with her father. She moved to Baltimore from Virginia five years ago to work as an associate scientist in product development for McCormick Spices. She went to Virginia Tech for a food science degree. She spent her summers working at the Inn at Little Washington to supply the kitchen with local produce, a community-based housing development called Willowsford that supplied produce for CSA shares, and she worked at Paul Hobbs winery for a harvest season. 

 

She believes it is important for everyone to have an experience outside to work with their hands and learn about where their food comes from.  

 

She has a passion for the food supply chain and wants to help spread food education. On her free time Katharyn likes to volunteer with volunteer untapped, play disc golf, hike, and work on embroidery.

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.

Kyana Underwood

Member

Board, Friends of Great Kids Farm

Kyana is excited to be a new board member of Friends of Great Kids Farm! As a Baltimore City Public Schools alum and great-granddaughter of a sharecropper, she’s sure she’ll fit right in.

 

Kyana is passionate about health and wellness, and improving the quality of life for Baltimoreans. In addition to her position as a Public Information Officer for the City of Baltimore, Kyana is also a certified yoga instructor at Under Armour FX Studios (UA Headquarters) and volunteers with Free Baltimore Yoga. Kyana holds a B.S. in Economics from Morgan State University and a M.A. in Public Communications from American University.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Laura Genello

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Laura Genello has been a farm to school specialist at Great Kids Farm since October of 2018. Laura holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Brown University. She has more than 10 years of 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 at Cylburn, a Baltimore-based, educational farm run by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

James Koval

Farm Manager

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

James Koval is the Farm Manager at Great Kids Farm. James holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Penn State University. He was a high school social teacher before moving to Maryland in 2017. Starting as an Americorp intern, James quickly moved into the Farm Manager position and has been the Manager since May of 2018. As a trained an experienced educator, James also takes an active role in the Farm’s programming, particularly working with high school interns on the Farm.

Laura Menyuk

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Laura Menyuk has been a farm to school specialists at Great Kids Farm since November of 2018. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of Maryland. She also has an Executive Certificate in Facilitator Design and Implementation from Georgetown University and a Leadership Certificate in Outdoor Education from NOLS. Laura’s experience includes 3 years teaching literacy in D.C., teaching in the experiential education “classroom” at the Echo Hill Outdoor School on the Chesapeake Bay. Laura worked at Thrive 21, as a facilitator with Art With A Heart, and spent 4 years as a program coordinator and farm educator at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD.

Anne Rosenthal

Farm to School Specialist

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Anne Rosenthal has been a farm to school specialist at Great Kids Farm since November of 2018. Anne holds a Master’s of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Studies from Wesleyan University.  Prior to coming to Great Kids farm, 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. 

Ella Gensheimer

Program Assisstant

Baltimore City Public Schools - Food & Nutrition Services

Ella started as a program assistant at Great Kids Farm in September of 2022. She holds a bachelor's degree of arts from Grinnell College. She has several years of teaching experience, including teaching English abroad as well as teaching Spanish in Baltimore City Schools the previous year. Prior to teaching, Ella worked with students and volunteers to plant trees with local nonprofit Blue Water Baltimore. Ella has always found connection to nature important and is grateful to help forge relationships between children and the outdoors in her role at Great Kids Farm.

Jenn Harrill-Taylor

Administrative 

Assistant

Friends of Great Kids Farm

Jenn joined the Friends of Great Kids Farm team as Administrative Assistant in July 2022. She is a graduate of UNC Greensboro and Boston University. Being a public school educator for decades, she is thrilled to work alongside others whose mission is very close to her heart: public education, sustainable living, and healthy eating. Jenn’s love of gardening started with a small home garden as a child in New Jersey and has continued throughout her life to her home in Maryland. She still is amazed when something on her dinner plate grew from a tiny seed that she (or the neighborhood kids she gathered up) planted.