As the old expression goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

The Columbus Learning Cooperative has a small, core staff of dedicated professionals as well as a large, extended staff comprising of adjuncts, interns, work-study students, and volunteers. Together we create a diverse community of caring individuals with a wide variety of skills and interests.


ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Marcelle_Gilkerson_Youth_Mentor.jpg

Marcelle Gilkerson

A loving mother of two adult children, Marcelle loves identifying ripe opportunities within the community for collaboration, partnership and social enterprise. For three years she served as a teacher at the Briar Rose Children's Center where she supported the self-awareness of young children through purposeful work, free play, and rich social and creative experiences. There she observed and nurtured the development of children through understanding and affirmation, cultivated relationships with parents, appreciated their powerful intentions and extraordinary contributions to the well-being of this emerging generation and hosted a parent/teacher study group.

In University, Marcelle studied graphic art and design and has worked for numerous companies as an art director and freelancer. She also served as director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of Ohio for three years. Currently, she serves on the board of the Juniper School, is the Outreach and Development Director for the Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio, was co-director of the Karmé Chöling Family Camp for the past three years with her husband Greg, and generally lives her life as an ambassador of peace and kindness.

Devin_Fraze_Teen_Mentor.jpg

Devin Fraze

Founder and Director of the CLC, Devin's primary passion is teaching mathematics through inquiry and inspiration. In university, he studied to become a high school math teacher and afterwards bicycled across the country for an affordable housing charity. Upon returning, he realized that public school wasn't for him and so he started his own math tutoring company where he has worked for the past five years. Devin has continued to further his own education by visiting different alternative schools, programs, summer camps, and educational conferences around the US. He also plays the ancient strategy game of Go and has traveled to China, Korea, and Ecuador to compete.

Currently Devin is the Youth Director of the national Go Congress, organizes the local Go club, teaches Go at various schools in the city, serves on the board of the Juniper School, and renovates and manages real estate in Franklinton. Previously he danced competitively, was a local instructor, and served on the Swing Columbus board as Events Chair.
 

Kim_Porter_Alternative_Education_Staff.jpg

Kim Porter

Kim is the Enrollment Coordinator for the CLC! She's a native of Cleveland and moved to Columbus with her family around 4 years ago from the Akron area. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media/Communications from Wilberforce University, a Master's in Education, and currently studying for a Doctorate in Education, both from Northcentral University. She is singer, songwriter, musician, and sometimes artist, and a published author.

Kim is anxious to use her experience and learning to support families, help educate our members, and help them grow. Her personal mantra is "never stop learning".

Kate_Weigel_Homeschool_Resource_Coordinator.jpeg

Kate Weigel

Cofounder of the CLC, Kate is the Multimedia Director and Volunteer Coordinator. She was born in Eastern Maine and lived a beautiful childhood in the woods playing with fairies and building forts. She received a BFA in Studio Art from New York University with a concentration in sculpture. Kate is a scenic carpenter and was most recently a Visual Arts Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi. She is also conversational in Italian.

SkillsCarpentry, Casting, Glass Blowing, Stone Carving and Engraving, Block Printing, Photo Realistic Painting/Drawing, Digital/Film Photography, Photo/Video Editing, Laser Etching.
 

 

SPECIALISTS (ADJUNCT STAFF and Volunteers)

Tommy_Jones_Environmental_Teacher.jpg

Tommy Jones

Tommy (or as some know him, City Farmer Tom) is full of life, adventure, and curiosity. He is an avid caretaker of nature and a talented comic book artist. Tommy currently leads our Outward Bound exploration (the equivalent of going on a field trip every week). He also teaches classes on visual story telling through the creation of animations and comics, as well as a class called "The History of Us".
 

Alternative_Learning_Columbus_Volunteer_Cary_Harris.jpeg

Cary Harris

Cary is a local gardener and free spirit who is originally from Memphis, TN but has lived in Columbus for many years. He’s passionate about creativity and sustainability. Some of his hobbies are skateboarding, hiking, and Japanese language. Cary will be pitching a class in horticulture this fall!

William Dunlap

Will is the epitome of a life-long impassioned learner. His interests cover an immense range of topics, but he specializes in the compelling art of writing. He has his Master's in Teaching and a Bachelor's of English with a Creative Writing Focus. He has worked as an independent ghost writer and is excited to be teaching classes that are inline with his educational philosophy.

Will_Dunlap_Writing_Instructor.jpg
Nicole_Jackson_environmental_educator_columbus.jpg

Nicole Jackson

Nicole is an environmental educator with a passion for improving access for people of color to the outdoors. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in Natural Resources and is a former fellow for Outdoor Afro. Nicole’s hobbies include birding, hiking, and leading informal environmental education programs.

 

Nick_Stanich_Columbus_Community.jpg

Nicholaus Stanich

Nick currently serves as Executive Director of Franklinton Gardens, a non-profit urban garden dedicated to growing and sharing healthy food, creating beauty, and building community. He has also renovated a few homes in the neighborhood and rents them in an affordable and ethical manner. In his (non-existent) spare time Nick can be found remodeling his own home.
 

Skills: Tree grafting, farm management, financial projection and budget creation, grant writing, property management, and salvaging.

Michelle_Kaiser_Columbus_Social_Work

Dr. Michelle Kaiser, PhD

An assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Social Work, Michelle Kaiser is part of several collaborative interdisciplinary research groups through OSU’s Food Innovation Center.  Her research focuses on how communities can ensure safe, affordable healthy food for all residents. Kaiser’s work related to food access, food mapping, and chronic diseases in food pantry clients uniquely combines perspectives from such disciplines as social work, health, sustainable development, and geography. She has also been awarded the Universities highest teaching award and is well-known for her dynamic teaching style.

Constantine_Leibman_Columbus_Martial_Arts.jpg

Constantine Leibman

Constantine is a master of physical well-being and self-discipline. He has studied and taught a wide array of martial arts such as Judo, Wing Chun, and Muay Thai. In 2012 he started his own Dojo in Florida and has even competed on American Ninja Warrior. He is currently employed by IBM/Fannie Mae and has previously worked as a business intelligence analyst for Citi Group.

Constantine is an avid world traveler and has visited more far countries than is reasonable to list here. He has taught mathematics to undergraduates at OSU, can speak fluent Russian, studied classical ballet, and loves to play the piano.

Ryan_Davis_Columbus_Learning_Coop.jpg

Sergeant Ryan Davis

Sergeant Ryan Davis is a proud husband and father who served in the United States Marine Core for 2 terms. He completed his undergrad at Otterbein University and since returning from his tours of service has decided to continue his higher education .

He is an expert on military history, current and past foreign policy, firearm safety and responsible handling, modern day combat operations, and much more. Most importantly Sgt. Davis is an individual of incredibly high moral character and makes for a terrific role model.

Jeremy_Miller_Columbus_Learning_Coop

Jeremy Miller

Ever since he first read the words of Tim Ferris, Jeremy Miller has been a voracious autodidact with a deep love for learning new and useful things. Currently he is an employee of Compton Construction and is responsible for estimating and bidding all projects. His job involves contacting sub-contractors, organizing bids, preparing proposals for the sales team, drafting and assisting with project drawings, and creating site plans for projects.

Jeremy is also the drummer for The Cordial Sins, an alternative/dream-pop band. In his spare time he enjoys reading, working out, and meditating.

 

Board of Advisors

Susanna Warren

Susanna Warren is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international organization founded by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. Susanna is a trainer and is President of the Board of Trustees for the Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio, a regional organization based in Columbus.

She has a B.A. in Organizational Communication with a minor in Organizational Leadership and Executive Coaching. Susanna is a business entrepreneur and has owned and managed two businesses since 1991. She has traveled the globe sharing Compassionate Communication in countries such as Vietnam, Peru, Bali, Greece, Turkey and Spain. She provides coaching and training for individuals, families, groups and organizations in Central Ohio and beyond.

Justin McDonald

Justin McDonald brings to our board of directors significant experience in directing Strategic Marketing, IT, and Business Operations initiatives. He holds a BA in Business Administration and Visual Communications from Otterbein University and earned his Master Certificate in Applied Project Management from Villanova University. 

Justin started his career in branding and marketing consulting working with small businesses and not-for-profits in Columbus, positively impacting the performance of local community organizations. Justin currently holds a leadership position at Medidata Solutions based in New York, New York where he manages a team of professionals in Marketing and IT Operations who have supported the company through 5 years of 20-30% year-over-year annual revenue growth. Prior to Medidata, he worked as part of the Marketing Operations team at Dell Software in Dublin, Ohio.

Joe and Keiko Balbo

Keiko is a high-energy professional with 20 years experience working in IT project management and operations for Fortune 500 companies. She has a passion for pinpointing and solving procedural and operational inefficiencies. Her specialties are Crisis Project Management, Information Technologies, and Enterprise Solutions.

Joe is an executive-level problem solver with a wealth of knowledge in information technology, financial analysis, accounting, manufacturing, and the delivery of a product or service. He has successfully lead clients to identify and clarify goals, objectives and works with them to execute strategies for success. He has garnered a reputation for guiding disparate views to consensus and achieving common goals through authentic relationship building and trust.

Specialties: Business development, budgeting, business consulting, cash flow, consulting, customer relations, due diligence, entrepreneur, financial analysis, forecasting, funds, general management, leadership, local government, management, negotiation, software development, and venture capital.