TEAM

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LEESA CARTER
Executive Director
lcarter@captainplanetfdn.org
Leesa Carter-Jones took the helm as Executive Director of the Captain Planet Foundation in 2012 and has helped the organization successfully launch Project Learning Garden, the Education Leadership Center (science and environmental stewardship programs with the Georgia Department of Education), Project Hero, EcoSTEM Resource Kits, and the Planeteers Club Program. Leesa is a recognized and respected leader in the fields of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and youth education programs, and has been representing the work of CPF at such forums as the Clinton Global Initiative, the National Pollinator Garden Network meeting at the White House.

Leesa has a BA in Communications from Wake Forest University and executive-level involvement with industries ranging from organic products to nonprofit management. Prior to joining CPF, Leesa served as Executive Director for the U.S. Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter as a leading advocate and educator for sustainable communities, green jobs and green building. Other experience includes National Field Marketing Director for Wild Oats Markets (a $1 billion natural & organic retailer bought by Whole Foods in 2007), production and special events for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG), and over a decade of nonprofit arts management. She graduated with the 2012 Class of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership. Leesa serves on the Steering Committees for Atlanta Recycles, Atlanta Community Foundation’s Grants to Green, FIRST Lego League’s 2015 Challenge Advisory Team, and on the Advisory Board for This American Land on PBS.

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KATHY LIVELY
Programs and Grants Manager
kathy@captainplanetfdn.org
Kathy Lively has served as the Programs and Grants Manager since 2011, working with grants and grantees to support youth-led environmental projects around the world. Kathy was formerly the Education and Program Director with the U.S. Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter, where she managed education events and membership for five branches in Athens, Atlanta, Savannah, Central Georgia, and Augusta She also served on the Diversity Committee and the Education Committee with the USGBC-GA. Kathy’s other experience includes serving as a Senior Auditor with UCR, Inc.; 12 years as Operations Manager for Diversified Mortgage and Realty and other smaller corporations owned by the same entity; and working with the King Tut, America I Am, and Princess Diana exhibits at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. As a lifelong hippie, Kathy has always been passionate about the environment. She enjoys creating stained glass, working in her organic gardening, and raising chickens.

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KYLA VAN DEUSEN
Program Manager, Project Learning Garden
kyla@captainplanetfdn.org
Kyla Van Deusen serves as the Program Manager for CPF’s Project Learning Garden. Since joining the CPF team in 2012, she has been instrumental in designing, building, and implementing PLG in 200 schools across the US (and counting). Kyla’s dedication to growing food in the city has its roots in a childhood spent in the heart of Atlanta punctuated by summers at farm camp. Since receiving a Master’s in Agriculture from the University of Minnesota, Kyla has been exploring ways to bring agriculture alive in the city. She is a frequent presenter on school gardens and farm to school topics at local and national conferences, including the National Farm to Cafeteria conference, the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium, and the Georgia Farm to School summit. Kyla has worked in the Atlanta educational agriculture community since 2005, providing garden-based youth programming and program development for the Wylde Center, the Southeastern Horticultural Society and Sustenance Design, LLC. From running garden-based youth programs to managing school and community gardens to raising backyard chickens, Kyla is passionate about creating opportunities for people to actively connect to their food system.

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KARAN WOOD
Director, Leadership Center & Education Programs
karan@captainplanetfdn.org
Karan Wood is the Director of the CPF’s Education Leadership Center, where she works to empower teachers to engage their students in the sort of outdoor learning experiences that that inspire a lifelong love of nature and motivate children to take care of the Earth. With a rich knowledge in STEM and Environmental education theory and practice, Karan is leading CPF’s effort to develop SAGES (Science for All Generations through Environmental Stewardship), a comprehensive, project-based, cutting-edge curriculum and framework that employs the principles of three-dimensional science to teach STEM concepts using the environment as context for learning. To provide teachers with the most useful tools and strategies, Karan draws as much on lessons learned from inspirational educators as her own experience. She has also taught AP Environmental Science; advised, written, and edited exemplary K-12 STEM and environmental science lessons for the Georgia Dept. of Education and several non-profit organizations; presented professional development workshops; and written articles on best practices in environmental education for journals, newsletters, and websites. She currently coordinates the Council Of Outdoor Learning’s mini-grant program and reviews/edits STEM lesson submissions for an engineering education web site.

Before joining CPF, Karan was Executive Director of Greater Atlanta Community Corps (GACC), which she founded and grew to a $1 million non-profit organization over ten years. GACC gave young adults a chance to contribute a year of their lives to community service, by accomplishing highly-needed environmental stewardship projects. Prior to starting GACC, Karan helped launch and manage the Texas Conservation Corps; acquired land and developed parks for the City of Houston, garnering and managing grants as well as bond funds; studied Natural Resource Management at University of Michigan; and taught profoundly disabled youth. Karan has collaborated with teachers to create field study kits for hands-on inquiry science; coordinated corporate and parent volunteers to build 14 outdoor learning spaces; generated community support to create a Discovery Lab, and provided technical assistance to more than 40 schools.

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COURTNEY KIMMEL
Director of Strategic Partnerships
courtney@captainplanetfdn.org
Courtney Kimmel joined the Captain Planet Foundation team in 2015 to lend a broad systems thinking perspective to the organization’s program development strategy. Courtney comes to CPF following an academic position at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, where she developed graduate and professional programs focused on cross-boundary interventions to direct more sustainable forms of development, with a particular emphasis on institutional systems change in rapidly urbanizing regions of the world. She has done research on sustainability systems across the US as well as in places such as India, South Africa, Brazil, and China. 

In addition to her work with CPF, Courtney remains engaged in projects relating to affecting institutional change to strengthen regional food systems, urban forestry and green infrastructure programs, water resource management, and climate adaptation programs. Courtney has a BA in Economics and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland; a MA in Political Science, and a PhD in Forestry and Environmental Conservation both from Virginia Tech. Courtney grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and just moved to Atlanta in 2015; she has fallen in love with the city for its vibrant energy and sense of place.

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AVERY CARTER
Creative Team Leader
avery@captainplanetfdn.org
Avery Carter joined the CPF team in 2011, where she leads the organization’s communications and creative team. Avery graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009, with a Bachelor of Art degree in Advertising Design. After graduating, she completed freelance work for Atlanta business owners and entrepreneurs. She later worked as a graphic design consultant for the National Black Arts Festival, completing promotional material for their summer festivals and community outreach projects. Avery enjoys decaf green tea, meditation, and a leisurely walk as a great way to start her day.

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CHRIS PARKER
Graphic Designer
chris@captainplanetfdn.org
Chris Parker has been a member of the CPF creative team since 2013, where his responsibilities include designing communications materials, updating the website, creating marketing material, brand development, web design and development, and a plethora of other projects. He is a recent BFA Graduate from the Savannah College of Art & Design, majoring in Graphic Design and Minoring in Drawing, with a background in fine art. He has 3-4 years of experience working as a designer, focusing on designing for start-up companies and non-profits. He has worked with various companies in Atlanta, including Great Wraps, Site+Sound Gallery, and Fox Theater. Chris has a passion for doing good and helping others. He worked as a Fulton County Youth Commissioner from 2006-2008, advocating for youth policy change regarding the issues of school nutrition and teen driving. He volunteers at the West End Community Garden as well as the Food Oasis, Mobile Food Market whenever he gets the chance.

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SUZANNE BURNS
Special Projects Consultant
suzanne@captainplanetfdn.org
Suzanne Burnes is working with CPF to take Project Hero from concept to reality. She brings two decades of leadership in conservation education and sustainability to the collaborative effort of more than a dozen conservation organizations activating children as heroes for biodiversity. Suzanne has built a career upon the pursuit of a new, inclusive economy in balance with our natural systems. Using education, positive incentives and community support as tools, she has created many successful, cross-sector partnerships among government, business, industry, NGO and community partners, leveraging resources for greater impact. She brings this core competency to Project Hero, as well as her expertise in program development, project management, communications and funds development. Prior to her work with CPF, Suzanne served as the Executive Director of Sustainable Atlanta, manager of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Partnership for a Sustainable Georgia, and was the Assistant Director for DNR’s Sustainability Division. Her career began as a consultant with the U.S. EPA and with the U.S. Department of Defense. She is a 2012 graduate of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, and was recognized in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2013 listing of top sustainability leaders. Suzanne is the proud mother of two, and is an active member of the Board of Directors for Atlanta Public Charter School, Wesley International Academy. In addition to her work with Captain Planet, Suzanne is also the founding principal of the Collective Wisdom Group, a consultancy focused on helping businesses and communities maximize their sustainability opportunities through strategic partnerships.

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KIM BAILEY
Leadership Center Consultant
kimebai@gmail.com
Kim Bailey joined CPF in 2015 as Curriculum Editor to write and edit curriculum designed to engage students in learning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through environmental stewardship projects; and to assist with presenting professional learning workshops for teachers. Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Prior to working with CPF, she developed comprehensive curricula for a variety of educational organizations and published environmental education lesson plans with the Georgia Dept. of Education, Green Teacher Magazine, and the National Gardening Association Kids Gardening website. Working in the field of environmental education for over 20 years, Kim has had the pleasure of teaching life science in a middle school classroom, leading wilderness adventure trips for adults and students, conducting outreach programs for an ecology lab, directing a residential learning program at a camp, and serving as lead naturalist at a nature center. While employed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, she created “The Online Guide to Environmental Education in Georgia” website, which inspired partner websites in nine other states. Throughout her career, she has served on the leadership teams for the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia, Georgia Council Of Outdoor Learning, and Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, Kim enjoys gardening for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. She currently serves on her city’s Environmental Sustainability Board and works with the Tree Board to coordinate the Hendersonville, NC Bee City USA program.

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DAVID WHITE
Project Learning Garden,
Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties California

david@captainplanetfdn.org
David White works with CPF’s Project Learning Garden in Ventura County, California. David has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has been involved in numerous environmental groups in Ventura County California for the past twenty five years, including the Keep the Sespe Wild committee, Food for Thought Ojai, the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and the Center for Regenerative Agriculture. He currently works as the Executive Director of Ojai’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture and also as the Director of the Oak Grove School’s Once upon a Watershed program, active at eleven schools in the Ventura River Watershed. David is the Environmental Education Director for Food for Thought’s Ojai Healthy Schools program, managing and coordinating the garden based learning programs at the five OUSD elementary schools and is the Captain Planet Learning Gardens Program coordinator for Ventura. He is a board member and the watershed council liaison for the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. One of his favorite things to do is to plant trees with kids.

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AIN CHIKE
Operations Manager, Project Learning Garden
ain@captainplanetfdn.org
Ain Chike is the Operations Manager for CPF’s Project Learning Garden. Ain was born in Atlanta and graduated from Tri-Cities High School of Performing Arts. Following high school, Ain attended North Georgia College and State University for two years before joining the Army following the events of 9/11. While in the Army, Ain became a certified EMT and transferred those skills into her civilian life. As an EMT, Ain became concerned about the amount of medication prescribed to patients, and began studying herbal remedies for common ailments. Ain quickly realized that the best way to heal the community was through prevention, and that food was medicine. In Fall 2012, Ain applied for the Truly Living Well Urban Gardeners’ Program where she learned how to grow food and communities. Coming out of TLW, Ain became a school garden intern for CPF, excited to fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a Planeteer. She joined the CPF team full time in 2015, giving her the opportunity to expand her gardening, carpentry, and teaching skills. Ain loves the works she does not only because she gets to be outdoors, but because she gets to help change the communities in which she grew up.

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JULIA KESLER
Development & Events Manager
julia@captainplanetfdn.org
Julia brings a diverse background of experiences in event production where she recently worked for Added Touch Catering and in development where she served on the ground in Cape Town for the UN Association of South Africa in 2014. Julia is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up here in Atlanta. She graduated from New York University in January of 2016 where she concentrated on how to bring local, sustainable, whole foods to all people in urban environments through social business practices and technology. During her time at NYU she curated her own degree which allowed her to gain on the ground experience in urban garden’s across the globe including Berlin, South Africa, and Israel. From a young age, Julia has had a passion for healthy foods and serving others. Julia loves being back in Atlanta where she can use her global perspective on a local level. You can find her riding her bike, practicing yoga, or in her garden in Atlanta during her free time.

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ALYSA MOORE
Program Coordinator, Project Learning Garden
alysa@captainplanetfdn.org
Alysa Moore is the program coordinator for CPF’s Project Learning Garden, coordinating day-to-day activities to ensure seamless implementation and optimize the program’s scalability. While pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Emory University, Alysa focused on the intersection of urban development and food systems, seeking to understand the myriad ways that integrating urban agriculture into a city’s fabric can improve people’s health and quality of life. Before discovering her interest in urban development, she studied at Auburn University, performing microbiology research investigating biological alternatives to chemical pesticides, all the while focusing her studies on sustainability. Alysa loves living in Atlanta, especially at a time when the city’s potential seems limitless. When not coordinating, she loves to read, play with her dogs, watch Auburn football, sit on her porch, and visit local farmers markets with her partner.

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DASIA HARMON
FoodCorps Service Member, Project Learning Garden
dasia.harmon@foodcorps.org
Dasia learned the importance of safe, quality, and affordable food at an early age. She worked on a small two acre farm called Growing Power in her hometown Milwaukee, WI at just nine years old. At 18 Dasia received an agricultural scholarship to attend The Fort Valley State University in middle Georgia. Here she received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Science. Blossoming further, Dasia received her master’s degree in Entomology at Florida A&M University. Dasia is passionate about changing food desert areas, and finds it most fulfilling to be fully engaged with her hands in the soil.

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GREGORY LAFORTUNE
FoodCorps Service Member, Project Learning Garden
greg.lafortune@foodcorps.org
Gregory is an enthusiastic and zealous leader. A recent graduate of Georgia State University, he wants to use his Nutrition degree to impact communities and influence individuals who feel as if eating healthier is impossible. As an 11 year old child, Greg was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. With maturity and God’s grace, he now uses his condition as a catalyst in his commitment to be more health conscious. In life’s race, kids often feel like it is impossible to hurdle personal battles and situations outside of their control. Greg wants reverse that mindset and feels that service through FoodCorps is the stage to project his platform.

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SUZIE POPE
FoodCorps Service Member, Project Learning Garden
suzie.pope@foodcorps.org
Suzie’s interest in agriculture began at Acorn Community Farm, an intentional community in the hills of VA that grows organic food and earns income by selling seeds. Farm work helped her find a peace and balance that she wanted to share with others. She worked as a farm-aid in Austin, TX as well as in Puerto Rico. She cared for ducks and ducklings, maintained vegetable gardens, and helped with sustainable construction projects. In Atlanta she helped tend school gardens as an apprentice with Captain Planet Foundation for two summers and interned at the Wylde Center. She has also taught school-age children as a garden educator with Truly Living Well Center for Urban Agriculture. These experiences have taught her to effectively communicate in differing communities, care for the environment in a successful and deliberate way, and share the joy of growing food. She is strongly committed to helping communities grow their own food and to learn the benefits of living more sustainable. She believes confidence, patience, compassion — all of these things are nurtured as we nurture our gardens. She is convinced that growing food and being in nature makes more joyful people.