Director of Charter School Authorizing
Erin has been with the Audubon Center of the North Woods since 2012, and in her current role since 2019. She was drawn to the work through her passion for environmental education and is personally committed to the Audubon Center’s mission and vision. Erin holds a Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her work experience includes exhibition, program, and evaluation work for the Audubon Center of the North Woods, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History, International Spy Museum, Carver County Historical Society, Carver County Parks, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Mill City Museum. She is a passionate advocate for audience accessibility, environmental stewardship in PreK-12 education, and was named a 2012 Smithsonian EdLab Education Innovator. Erin is originally from South Dakota, where she reigned as the 2004 State Oratory Champion, and enjoys photographing her cats, grilling, fishing, and Mel Brooks.
Associate Director of Charter School Authorizing
Nalani McCutcheon started with the Charter School Division in 2018. Nalani comes to ACNW from Cannon River STEM School, an ACNW authorized charter school where she was the Founding Executive Director for nine years. Prior to starting Cannon River STEM School, Nalani served for eight years as the Executive Director for River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, MN. She has a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and prior to leading River Bend Nature Center she worked for the School Nature Area Project at St. Olaf College, which helped 211 Minnesota schools set up and use nature areas within walking distance of the classroom. Nalani has been involved in environmental stewardship and education throughout Minnesota by serving in the past on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the boards of Eco Education, the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education, the Cannon River Watershed Partnership, and the Faribault Rotary Club. Currently Nalani contributes to her local community by serving on the Faribault Foundation Board as well as the Faribault Youth Investment Board. Nalani grew up in floodplain forest and prairie on the banks of the Platte River south of Omaha, NE. Nalani is thankful now to live with her wife on the shores of Circle Lake, near Faribault. Working for ACNW in the Charter School Division allows Nalani to pursue her passion for providing all children with quality educational options that use the environment as an integrating context for learning.
Authorizing Specialist, Operations and Governance
James comes to Audubon with a variety of experiences spanning K-12 education, non-profit development, entrepreneurship, and consulting. He was born in the Twin Cities, grew up in Oklahoma City, but after living in Minnesota for the past 15 years, Minnesota is his home. His passions revolve around work rooted in instilling and inspiring economic empowerment for our most disadvantaged and marginalized groups of people. He studied at the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University before graduating with his master’s from Harvard University. When James isn’t working, he loves spending time with his amazing wife, traveling the world, experiencing new types of food (literally anything), and trying to conjure up the “next big thing” while watching Shark Tank with his son. What intrigues him the most about his work within the Charter School Division is the opportunity to continually question whether the work we are doing in our schools is beneficial to our most critical experts: students and families.
MN GreenCorps Member
Addie Washington is serving with us through the MN GreenCorps – a professional development program in which Americorps members serve in the fields of environmental science and sustainability. Addie worked most recently at Academy of Whole Learning, a private, non-profit school for students with autism and related learning differences. While working as a Teacher Associate and Communications Coordinator there, she became most interested in the structural processes and development of an organization. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Sociology and Comparative Literature from Beloit College. In this role, Addie is excited to explore the intersections present in environmental education, particularly those with environmental justice, waste reduction, and public health. She will be supporting schools with their waste reduction plans and collaborating to bring some new programming into schools as well.
Jolene joined the Charter School Division in a part-time role in 2018 and has worked at the Audubon Center in Sandstone as Finance Manager since 2015. Jolene grew up in the berry fields and orchards of Bayfield, WI and on the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior where her grandparents were fishermen and farmers. At the age of five she was given her first camera and has been photographing nature and people ever since. Jolene eventually moved to Superior, WI and earned degrees in Accounting and Computers. Life always seems to have a way of leading her to work with nonprofits with strong missions focused on helping people, children, or the environment, typically in roles related to finance and accounting. Ultimately she ended up in Sandstone on a beautiful 160-acre hobby farm in the “middle of nowhere” with her husband. In her free time Jolene loves to bake, four-wheel, garden, and be a photographer.
Chief Barketing Officer
Foster is the newest member of the Charter School Division team! He first joined us as a short-term employee in 2017 and returned full-time in 2018. Foster is originally from Rice and moved to Minneapolis in 2016, hoping to enjoy his retirement as a city dog. Foster’s role includes security, janitorial services, and emotional support, and although he spends most of his time on the clock snoozing, he’s always at the ready to perform his duties. His past experience as a wannabe cow dog (not an actual cow dog) prepared him well to wrangle stray schools and keep them on the right path. In his free time, he enjoys pets, snacks, chasing squirrels, and dreaming of catching squirrels.