Woolman People

Staff

Marty Coleman-Hunt, Interim Executive Director

Marty Coleman-Hunt is a leader in land and water conservation in Northern California and nationally, with experience that spans executive management, strategic planning, advocacy and community relations. After graduate school, Marty had the extraordinary opportunity to work for Dianne Feinstein for two years on a campaign about exposure to toxics, which led to a 20-year career in Silicon Valley.

During a short sabbatical she became enchanted by the Sierra Nevada landscape, and mid-career she emigrated from the Bay Area to Nevada City. Marty became the local land trust’s executive director, a position she held for nearly a dozen years before becoming an organizational consultant. In her time there she significantly grew the organization’s conservation footprint, resources and assets. Marty is currently serving as a Commissioner representing District 1 on the Nevada County Planning Commission.  She has held board positions with South Yuba River Citizens League, Sierra Harvest and the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.  She has spoken in public venues and written for publications on conservation topics – in particular on how communities can protect their important and beloved natural resources, agriculture, habitat and water – all while remaining passionate about the Sierra Nevada watershed in which she lives.

Chris Benfield, Maintenance Supervisor

Chris Benfield grew up in the north of England. His interest in art led him to move to New York in the 90s after completing a B.A. in Fine Art (Painting) at Wimbledon Art School. After moving to San Francisco during the Dot Com Boom he became involved in activism via Art & Revolution’s street theater and prop making for demonstrations. Burning Man was a main focus for him for many years with its large art building through collectivism and wild, edgy possibilities, until a spiritual hunger that couldn’t be satisfied in the desert, demanded a grounding in earth-based traditions which he has been devoted to for the last 10 years.

Abby Cerino, Rental Operations Manager

Abby is a lover of the wild, gardener, herbalist, energy worker and advocate for decolonization through subtle shifts in how we live our lives. She grew up in Pennsylvania and made her way West after completing a Bachelors in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. She initially landed in Humboldt County, where she spent 2 years as an Academic Mentor with YouthServe Americorps before earning her Teaching Credentials from Humboldt State University in Social Sciences and Multiple Subjects (Elementary). From here, Abby moved to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to follow her passion for snowboarding and mountain life. She lived in Truckee for 4 years before moving to Grass Valley to be of greater service through teaching and mentoring youth.  She fell in love with the Foothill community, while deepening her relationship to the land, plants, and earth-based traditions and practices. Ever since, Abby has been supporting others in deepening their relationship to themselves and nature.

Board of Trustees

Sandra Schwartz, Clerk

Sandra became interested in CPFEA during the Woolman Semester School.  She saw youth blossom from the experience and knows that it made a real difference in their lives.  Sandra started attending a Friends Meeting in 1983 with her family while living in Bloomsburg, PA and was active with all the Quaker Meetings that she attended or been a member.  In 1997 she and her family settled in the Bay Area where she attends SF Friends Meeting.  She graduated from the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research in 1985 with a Masters in Social Policy and Program Development.   She earned a second Master’s in Law and Social Policy.  She has worked with Palestinian activist, Mubarak Awad, and Nonviolence International as well as Bread for the World.

Among many positions, she served on Hospitality, Children’s Religious Education, and Peace and Social Concerns Committee in San Francisco.  She has also served on the Latin America Concerns Committee of Yearly Meeting.  She worked for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) as the Peace Education Coordinator since 1999.  She has served on the Steering Committee for some of the large pre-war demonstrations that took place in San Francisco before the Iraq War started to small work committees that keep programs alive and growing.  She supervises the work of Pablo Paredes who started a youth program that is focused on migrant youth.

Heidi Pidcoke, Trustee

Heidi received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1988 from Bryn Mawr College, and Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Somatic Family Therapy in 1995 at the California Institute of Integral Studies.  She is a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Currently she works for the UN Institute for Training and Research, developing a cross-cutting program to address stress, trauma and increase resilience and well-being for those working in conflict and post-conflict settings.  She also has a private practice as a Tri-lingual Psychologist, with an international practice in English, Spanish and Portuguese focusing on a range of issues from trauma to depression, attachment issues and marital conflict.  She lived in Africa for 11 years working as a psychotherapist and Quaker Missionary. During her time in Kenya, she provided counseling as an income generating project for Watoto wa Lwanga whose activities focused on providing skills and schooling for orphans and vulnerable children.  Later she worked supporting the Alternatives to Violence Project  Kenya Trust in their work in refugee camps, slums and prisons. Previously in South Africa, she helped establish and direct the Mahube AIDS Project at the Wesley Methodist City Mission in Pretoria.  She also worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marin & Napa as Associate Executive Director, and the Marin YMCA as Director of Youth & Family Services. She began worshipping with Quakers during her college years, and became a member of San Francisco Monthly Meeting in 2001. She currently lives in Pasadena, California.

Phyllis Jewell, Trustee

Phyllis (Flip) Jewell is the parent of a Fall 2013 graduate of The Woolman Semester, who still maintains ties with his Woolman cabin-mates as they each are following their own path to useful and fulfilling work.  Her son’s pivotal experience at Woolman, and her own Quaker heritage, have inspired Flip to remain committed to the organization.  She served on the Woolman board initially from 2015 to 2018, during which time she clerked the board’s Personnel Committee.  She rejoined the board in September 2020, and is assisting with board governance matters as they relate to the wide variety of projects the organization is considering and implementing.  She holds a B.A. in Modern European Languages & Literature from Pomona College and a J.D. from Tulane University School of Law.  She has practiced immigration law full-time in San Francisco since 1985, and founded her current firm 20+ years ago.  Her organizational management experience includes serving as her firm’s managing partner and overseeing its growth from four to thirty employees.  Her nonprofit governance experience includes past appointed and elected roles in the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Dan Shoemaker, Trustee

Dan brings with him to the board more than twenty years of experience in higher education, and a passion for values-driven institutions. Dan holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, a Master’s degree in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University, and a BA in Communications and Media Arts from Antioch College. Dan is also a 1990 alumnus of the Scholar Intern Program at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta, where he studied the history of the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. While a student at Antioch, Dan worked in several different capacities for their Admissions Office, and was involved in alumni efforts to save the school from closure in 2008. Dan is delighted to be back in his native California, and to be amidst the natural beauty and calm of the Woolman campus.

Sarah Tyrrell, Treasurer

Sarah’s first connection to Quakers was at Sierra Friends Center. From 1976 to 1978, she attended John Woolman School, a four-year boarding high school that the Board operated on the property from 1963 until 2016. She drifted away from Woolman somewhat during her early adult years, but then became involved in the JWS Alumni Association and later joined the Board in the mid 1990’s and again in 2015. Since then her involvement and support has been continuous – if not Board service, then service on some Board committee. As part of this journey, she finally formally joined the Religious Society of Friends on July 13th, 2008, when her application for membership in Berkeley Monthly Meeting was accepted. She has held many different roles in the Society of Friends at the Yearly, Quarterly, and Monthly Meeting levels.

Patricia Phillips, Recording Clerk

Pat is a nurse for Home Health and Hospice.   She was raised mostly in New York State and moved to California in 1972 to attend college in Oakland.  She graduated from Merritt College with an A.A. in Early Childhood Education.  Then she attended Holy Names College and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and Recreation and co-owned and operated a nursery school.  She moved to Nevada County looking for a spiritual home and to introduce her children to an organized spiritual group.  She discovered the Quakers in the Grass Valley Friends Meeting and has been a member for the last 40 years.  She was on staff at the John Woolman School from 1985 to 1992, serving in a variety of positions including running the farm and Health Care Coordinator.  In 1994 she graduated from American River College with a A.S. in Nursing.  As a Board member her interest stems from a deep love of the school and years there.  In many ways she felt transformed in my Woolman experience by working with the extraordinary staff, students and the mission of this type of education.  She believes that in these difficult times the world really needs education with the emphasis on sustainability, ecology, peace and Quaker values.