My family and I moved to the Valley in 2004 and have enjoyed a great sense of connection to the land and residents. We have always marveled at the heartfelt mission of the Community Center and the work accomplished by its staff and wondered how we could best contribute.
My 1st opportunity came 3 years ago when I began working at the Lagunitas Middle School with the Emotional Literacy program. I was able to contribute by both facilitating the curriculum as well as helping it to evolve. Witnessing the direct impact of one of the SGVCC’s programs was very satisfying. It was also a way to underscore my family’s belief that one way that our lives can improve is by helping the lives of others.
I am very excited about the future of the SGVCC. The Center has matured through many phases and is now beginning its latest. I am proud to be leading the Center’s Deepening Roots Campaign (DRC) which will focus all of our energies on ensuring that the vitality of the Center is sustainable well into the future. Over the next couple of months you will be learning much more about the DRC and how you can best support it. By becoming involved in the DRC you will directly impact the lives of your fellow resident and I’m sure, improve your own life in the process.
Carol Rebscher grew up in San Francisco. She moved to the San Geronimo Valley in 1988 while, at the time, teaching first grade in Larkspur, CA. Carol has a BA in Environmental Studies and a teaching credential from Sonoma State University. After marrying Steve Rebscher (presently a Lagunitas School Board member) in 1992, they bought their home in Woodacre, where they presently. They knew this was the place, with its natural beauty and community mindedness to plant roots and raise a family.Carol has two daughters: Molly, 24, a graduate of Colorado State University, now married, living and running her own photography business in Colorado. And Anna, 20, a junior at Baylor University and in the nursing school. Both girls are Open Classroom and Lagunitas Middle School alumni. While her daughters were in the Lagunitas School District, Carol was an active volunteer for both programs and was a member of various school committees. Carol was also a board member for the Woodacre Improvement Club for a few years. She and Steve were the catalysts and fundraisers for the building of the Woodacre playground 20 years ago.
Presently, Carol is a substitute teacher, but mostly retired and enjoying a lot of traveling with Steve. She is also a long time volunteer at the Community Center’s very successful weekly Senior Lunch. There she sees, firsthand, the kind and helpful outreach the Center provides to the community. She is grateful to have the opportunity to support the San Geronimo Community Center as a board member.
I move to the San Geronimo Valley in 1976. My wife and I raised three sons here. Each attending and graduating from our truly spectacular School District. I have been involved throughout the years in soccer, little league and have run the CYO program for 35 years. I retired from the San Francisco Fire Department after 30 years of service.
I can’t express how much the Valley and its community means to me and my family. It is a truly wonderful place to live and raise children. The thing that makes the Valley so special is the wonderful, caring and loving adults and children that live here. I am watching a third generation of children grow and mature to the adults we all hope our children will be. The thing that has always impressed me the most is nurtured by our caring and loving school staff, Zoila and the truly great staff at the Community Center.
Having expressed my feelings, I have been on the Board of the Community Center for the past 5 years. I say to myself and all of you, “Who does more for the community than the Community Center?”
The Center is there for everyone no matter who. There are so many programs the Center supports and offers is something to be emulated by all community centers. I can site the various programs but hopefully most people know them and appreciate what is being done on a day-to-day basis by the volunteers and staff of the Center. I would simply ask the members of the community to support and do whatever the can to be part of our wonderful community.
David Bernard grew up in Lafayette CA and lived in Mill Valley and San Francisco before moving to San Geronimo in 2008. David has a BS in Information Systems from Golden Gate University. More recently he earned a Certificate in Sustainability from Dominican College and is a graduate of the Marin Environmental Forum.
David spent his professional career building large scale business computer systems as a consultant and employee for major corporations. He ended his corporate career as an officer at Charles Schwab where he was in charge of Brokerage Accounting and Trading systems.
As part of his Environmental Forum cohort he helped launch the FairBuck local currency in Fairfax. David spent a number of years on the San Geronimo Valley Planning Group as the San Geronimo rep and currently serves on the board of the San Geronimo Valley Land Trust.
David is married to Julie Bernard, a native of San Francisco, and rarely misses one of her band’s gigs.
He is excited to be joining the talented and dedicated staff and board of the San Geronimo Valley Community Center.
Barbara arrived in Marin in 1995 while working for a small consulting company located in Ross. After many afternoons spent mountain biking and hiking across the Marin landscape, she and her partner, Debra Amerson, made a permanent move to Forest Knolls. Barbara was quickly pulled into understanding what it means to be a part of this community. Honoring our natural surroundings, valuing community, and volunteering have been the foundation of finding our “forever home.”
Barbara’s work background involves leadership positions at United Parcel Service, Coleman Consulting Group, small high tech companies, and as a founder of a software company. Currently Barbara works for Cisco Systems driving transformational efforts in the Cloud Solutions team.
My wife, Stephanie Fein, and I lived 30 years in San Anselmo, where our two daughters went to Wade Thomas and White Hill schools. It was only after they were in college that we began to fantasize about living in beautiful San Geronimo Valley, which we had traversed so many times en route to ”somewhere else.” My friend Suzanne Sadowsky was always touting the Valley. Stephanie and I happened upon a remarkable piece of land at the base of Mt. Barnabe in 2003, and the rest is history. We moved into our new house in 2009, soon after I retired from my career at Kaiser Medical Center, San Rafael. Suzanne and others welcomed us here. I’ve enjoyed retirement, though sometimes it seems I am busier than when I worked as a physician. I am a passionate amateur cellist (now in two orchestras, a quartet and trio), a wood worker, and, with my wife and dog, an active West Marin explorer. At Suzanne and Dave Cort’s invitation I joined the Board in 2012.
Although I could readily appreciate the natural beauty of the Valley before moving here, I absolutely could not know the community until actually living here. My wife and I feel a stronger sense of community here than we did after living in Ross Valley for 30 years! People are deeply connected to the Valley. They look out for each other. The Valley exemplifies the advantages of living in a small community. At the heart of the Valley, finger always on the pulse, is the Community Center. The Center coordinates human services, extra-curricular youth programs, and cultural events. The place is always buzzing with activity; every day is different. I am amazed how responsive the Center is to the needs of the Valley.
I never imagined I would find such a dynamic environment. It is a privilege to assist on the Board. I have been involved in various discussions related to health matters, and I look forward to more such work. The entire Board is excited about the Deepening Roots Campaign. Its goal is to enhance our programs, nourish our staff, make needed improvements to our venerable building, and at the same time promote the financial security of the Community Center so that it can sustain well into the 21st Century. This modest Center is the envy of Marin County, because of its commitment to service and its generosity of spirit. It is the Valley’s gift that keeps on giving.
Alexander McQuilkin and his family moved to Woodacre in 1992 when Alexander was just 1 year old. Alexander attended Lagunitas School from Kindergarten through 8th Grade, then attending Drake High School and College of Marin. He has been an active volunteer for the SGVCC for the last 7 years. Written by Alexander: Assisting at numerous events, Holiday Faire and Talent Show I am still Assistant MC with Jasper Thelin also helping out at the Food Bank, Senior Lunch as well as participating in the SGVCC’s Summer Camp first as a camper and then as a Counselor. I am still running family music hour with my dad we 3 times year I also regularly attends SGV Healthy Community Collaborative and St. Cecilia’s CYO Basketball with Mike Davidson we will be retire this year we have been working together I was a part of the Teen Advisory Committee and Gym/Teen Loft Programs were in development. I was recently made a member of the San Geronimo Valley Lion’s Club. Alexander is committed to participating and serving this community. If there is an opportunity to help out he is always there.
Liora moved to the San Geronimo valley in 1993 after meeting her husband, Jay, while both were traveling in India. Liora grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and graduated from the university of Cape Town with a degree in industrial sociology before leaving to travel the world. Jay and Liora own Jayli Clothing, which designs, manufactures and imports a bohemian clothing line. They also own the Point Reyes Surf Shop in Point Reyes Station.
Liora has two daughters, Tai, 18, who will be attending Tulane University in the fall and Molly, 15, who is a sophomore at Sir Francis Drake high school.
Liora has been involved in the community center for several years, including running the annual SGVCC Golf Tournament and Oyster Feed that raises money for the Gym and Community Center.
I spontaneously moved to Marin County from New York in 1989 after driving across the country and visiting a friend in San Anselmo. I was immediately struck by the the differences: natural beauty everywhere, people who were actually friendly, cars that stopped for you in the crosswalk, and the weather was superb . . . I was hooked.
I moved to the Valley in 1995, and eventually met my husband, Jeff. We traversed the hills endlessly, exploring the vast amount of open space available to us. We bought our land in Lagunitas and began farming while simultaneously raising a family. Our 2 boys attended Lagunitas School K-8. These were wonderful years of being involved in the school and participating on all sorts of happenings at the Community Center, from music festivals to holiday fairs to art shows and community forums. I could never have dreamed of a more supportive, loving, and tight knit community in which to raise my children. I worked at the school for 5 years as the garden coordinator, which enabled me to get to know many of the kids along with their families. I saw first hand how the Community Center is an integral resource for many Valley families. It serves the people in this community by providing programs for everyone from pre-schoolers to the elderly, and always with love and compassion. I am joining the Board in 2017 as a way to stay connected to the Valley residents and to give back to an institution that gives so much. I am honored to sit among so many dedicated individuals.
Kelly Rose Mason
Kelly earned her undergraduate degree from Emory University, her law degree from Tulane University and a Masters Degree in Women’s Spirituality at New College of California. She is a member of the Trusts & Estates section of the Marin County Bar Association. She is also a trained mediator and brings a holistic and innovative approach to family conflict resolution. She views the practice of law as a healing art and strives to integrate that belief in all levels of her practice.
Before starting her own practice, Kelly worked in litigation for Charles Schwab and also served as a women’s health educator. She is on the advisory board and is a founder of The Red Web Foundation, an international educational women’s health nonprofit organization.
Kelly is a wife and mother to a 15-year old son, an 11-year-old rescue dog and a very senior cat. She also loves playing games with her family and friends, scuba diving, hiking, dancing, and puttering around in her vegetable garden.
María Cristina Criollo
María Cristina Criollo, was born and grew up in Quito, Ecuador. Cristina has a Bachelor´s Degree in Sustainable Development, a Master´s Degree in Environmental and Social Studies, and a certification in climate change. She is also a specialist in participatory planning and management of social indicators.
She has worked with indigenous and farmer communities, along with international public and private organizations on environmental and human rights issues. She is a founder of ClimAmbiente, a non-profit organization in Ecuador that works to address climate change and develop local alternatives for mitigation and risk reduction of the greenhouse effect in Ecuador.
She is a founding member of La Cuchara, Cultural and Gastronomic Center, a family initiative that promotes Ecuadorian plant based cuisine, traditional knowledge, and indigenous recipes and wisdom. La Cuchara also has a fair trade store with artisanal crafts, and conducts community workshops on sustainable, traditional Ecuadorian cuisine in order to improve the overall health of people and the planet.
She arrived with her family to the United States in July of 2016, and to San Geronimo Valley in July of 2018. Her husband is an advocate for indigenous and environmental rights at the Oakland based no profit organization Amazon Watch. They met 20 years ago as activists in Quito. Together they have two children, Camilo 8, and Leo 5, who attend Lagunitas School.
Owen was born in New York City, but moved to the Woodacre in 1994 as a three year old with his family, first attending the Montessori Program at Lagunitas School then later San Domenico School in San Anselmo.
After attending the former Sir Francis Drake High School, Owen lived in Los Angeles, receiving a BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Performance at University of California Los Angeles, and working as a professional musician.
Owen returned to Woodacre in late 2016 and began getting involved in community projects. In the 2019-2020 school year he began working for the Lagunitas School District as lower campus School Secretary. In 2020 he began a Master’s in Library Science program at San Jose State and entered the University of Southern California’s School Business Management Certificate Program, both with Spring 2021 completion dates.
In addition to being a NextGen representative on the Community Center board, Owen leads the San Geronimo Valley Historical Society, serves on the board of the San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association, and is a member of West Marin Housing Action and the Community Center’s NextGen initiative.
A deep love of the landscapes, people, and history of the San Geronimo Valley motivates his work here. He is honored to serve the Community Center alongside so many dedicated and hardworking people, and to support this organization that gives so much to the community.
Sarah Brewster spent one day in San Geronimo Valley in 1960 and fell in love with the place! Good fortune, and a few good choices, enabled her to make her home in Woodacre 25 years later. She feels privileged to have lived in this special community now for 35 years.
Sarah came to California for college after growing up in Laramie, Wyoming. She got her BA in psychology from Whittier College and an MA in Clinical psychology from UCB. She lived in Berkeley, where her two children were born, for ten years. She then moved to Marin to begin her career as a professor in the Behavioral Science Department at the College of Marin where she was employed (as Sarah Cirese) for 32 years.
After her son and daughter finished high school at Redwood High, Sarah and her second husband, Al Brewster, moved to the Valley. Soon thereafter she went back to school to earn her Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy and, subsequently, maintained a part-time private psychotherapy practice in San Rafael and Corte Madera for 16 years. Upon retiring from her practice, she took Al’s last name (with his permission).
Leaving the world of work has given Sarah many opportunities. She has grown with her five grandchildren (Colton who now lives in Nevada, Dylan, who is in Idaho, Kali who is finishing up at Sonoma State, and brothers Luca, age 12, and Cosimo, age 9, who live in San Anselmo). She studies Italian, has traveled in several dozen countries, created and cares for a garden, taken up the games of bocce and mah jongg, volunteered as a Senior Peer Counselor and facilitator for the Valley’s “Growing Old Gracefully” senior’s group, and is a faithful member of Broom Service, a group dedicated to curbing the spread of this invasive plant. From time to time she works out at the WIC. Above all she appreciates the opportunity to connect with the vibrant and exceptional community in this Valley.
Claudia Salgado came to the USA about 32 years ago. She lived at Mendoza Ranch with her two siblings, dad and step mother. She went to West Marin School and then to Tomales High School. After high school she went to Santa Rosa Junior College where she earned a certificate in culinary training. Claudia was a chef until she became a single mom. She has done a lot of community work throughout her life. She also worked with Ernesto at Point Reyes. She writes poetry and does some painting as hobbies. Two years ago Claudia moved to Woodacre and is loving this new change.
Bonny moved to Marin County in the early ‘70s, shortly after graduating from UCLA with a BA in Developmental Psychology. Bonny discovered the Valley while searching for just the right school for her sons, Justin and Matt White. An early admirer of the “Summerhill” model of education, Bonny felt like her dreams came true when she met Judy Voets and Sandy Dorward, Founders of the Lagunitas Open Classroom. It was here also that Bonny met her partner of 30 years, Anita Collison, a teacher at Open.
Bonny’s career with the Marin County Free Library began in 1996 as a library assistant at the Fairfax Library. After earning a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science at San Jose State, Bonny managed the West Marin branches of the Library for ten years before being appointed Deputy Director of MCFL. In 2016, Bonny was invited to join a year-long training cohort with other Marin County staff at the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). Wanting to share what she had learned, Bonny agreed to be a racial equity instructor for the County and co-led dozens of trainings for County employees.
Now in the process of retiring, Bonny looks forward to giving back to her beloved Valley community by serving on the Board of the San Geronimo Valley Community Center.
Buddy Faure was born in San Francisco and moved to West Marin in 2010 when he was 8 years old. Having grown up in West Marin he has taken an interest in many community projects in the last two years such as working at the community center’s food bank as well as the next gen youth program at the community center. He has also worked with local environmental activist group West Marin Climate Action which hosts monthly webinars on local environmental issues for the community as well as connecting local environmental groups together.
One of Buddy’s other biggest passions outside of working with the local community is music making and performing. He has released two albums under the name Clock Watchers and enjoys making and performing songs about his personal life and the world around him. He is also very interested in local politics especially when it comes to themes of equality and social justice. Both of these themes also heavily influence his music. All of these matter to him because he has seen how much communities can do when working together and he is thankful to be apart of something that has positively impacted his life in so many ways.
Jean Berensmeiser, Founder
Professor of Physical Education at the College of San Mateo (1956 – 1993) coached fencing and founded programs in modern dance, massage, physical fitness and womens weight training; Founding member of the San Geronimo Valley Community Center – Board member (1969 – present), Editor of Stone Soup; Founding member of the San Geronimo Valley Planning Group – Steering Committee member (1981-1996), Chairperson of Community Plan Update 1996, Chairperson of Community Plan Amendment Committee 2003 – present; Marin County Parks & Community Commission (1977 -1996), Trails & Bikeways Committee Chairperson 1977 – 1996; Marin Conversation League Board of Directors (1979 – 2003), President 1990 – 1992; Marconi Conference Center State Historical Park, Board Member 1990 – 2002, President 1992 – 1995 and 1998 – 2002; Co-founding member of Wilderness Way – President 2001 – present; Lagunitas homeowner since 1963.