Environmental city planner, Sharon Danks, MLA-MCP, is the founder and director of Green Schoolyards America. Since 1999, Sharon’s professional work and passion have focused on transforming school grounds into vibrant public spaces that reflect and enhance local ecology, nurture children, and engage the community. Her work is now focused on scaling up the green schoolyard movement and integrating school ground design and management with green urban infrastructure planning. An accomplished schoolyard researcher and speaker, Sharon has traveled the world to study hundreds of school grounds and share best practices. She applies this international experience to her work and celebrates it in her book, Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation (New Village Press, 2010). An experienced leader in the green schoolyard movement, Sharon has facilitated green schoolyard master planning processes for more than three-dozen schools and has shaped school districts’ approaches to schoolyard greening. Prior to starting Green Schoolyards America, Sharon co-founded the International School Grounds Alliance (2011) and the design firm, Bay Tree Design (2007). In 2015, Sharon was honored to become an Ashoka Affiliate. She has served on California’s statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force, and is now a member of the editorial board for Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly. Sharon holds master’s degrees in landscape architecture and city planning from UC Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.
Dr. Raymond Isola, EdD, is Program Director of the Green Schoolyards America Principals' Institute. He has thirty-five years of experience working in California public schools as a teacher and principal. Raymond has served and collaborated with diverse communities and educational levels, from preschool to the university levels. These experiences have included working with orphanages in Mexico, indigenous communities in Guatemala, and migrant farmworker children and families in eastern Washington and Monterey County. He has also held principalships in rural, suburban and urban neighborhoods. Raymond received The Golden Bell Award from The California School Board Association for outstanding leadership to significantly increase high school graduation and university entrance rates for migrant farmworker students. In June 2012, he completed a 13-year tenure as principal at Sanchez School with San Francisco Unified School District. In addition to his work with Green Schoolyards America, Raymond is currently writing and conducting research in the field of education. He received his doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education.
Cam Collyer is the Executive Director, Programs at Evergreen, a Canadian charity that is “Inspiring action to green cities”. He oversees Evergreen’s national suite of programs that focus on the design, stewardship and animation of public lands. This includes the award winning national school ground greening program – Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds – along with the summer camp, visiting schools and weekend programs at Evergreen Brick Works. Cam has directed the establishment of a national network of school ground design professionals, the creation of a large suite of print and web-based publications, the development of pioneering partnerships with schools boards across Canada and the distribution of over $2.5 million in grants to schools. Cam is a co-founder of the International School Ground Alliance and sits on the board of directors of Green Teacher magazine.
Mike Gamson joined LinkedIn in August 2007 and is Senior Vice President, Global Solutions. He currently leads LinkedIn's Global Solutions Organization across the company's 30 offices worldwide. The GSO includes various functions ranging from field sales and professional services representatives, to research analysts, account managers and operational experts. There are three primary business groups within the GSO focused on servicing corporate customers – Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Sales Solutions. Previously, Mike was Director of Product Marketing at Advent Software, a provider of enterprise software for investment managers, where he led the Trading and Order Management business. Mike began his career as an entrepreneur in Costa Rica, founding a restaurant and boutique hotel in 1996. He sold the business to American investors and joined Bank of America as a financial analyst in Chicago the following year. Mike holds a BA from Amherst College.
Mary Michaud has spent more than two decades working in public health and community development, most recently as Policy, Planning & Evaluation Director for Public Health Madison & Dane County, Wisconsin. She now runs her own consulting firm, Health & Social Impact Strategies, LLC, focusing on ways to boost the impact of community initiatives through strategy, measurement, and community engagement.
For the past eight years, Mary has promoted outdoor learning in her community through collaborative work with schools, local government, and the nonprofit sector. She led Madison’s Connecting Children to Nature initiative, funded through the Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities.
Mary has a Master’s in Public Policy Studies and Health Administration from the University of Chicago. She also completed a Certificate in Horticultural Therapy at the Chicago Botanic Garden, focusing on design of green spaces for children with special needs.