Staff & Board
Northern Susitna Institute Staff
Betsy Smith, Executive Director
Betsy brings diverse experience working with non-profits, nonformal education, and partnerships throughout the country, primarily within the field of environmental education. Her experience is supported by an M.Ed. in Environmental Education and she also serves as an Adjunct with the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Diane Ziegner, Alaska Folk School Director
Diane made her home in Talkeetna in 1997. She weaves rag rugs and is the owner/operator of Studio Z Yoga. She and her husband Jim Graupmann visited the North House Folk School in Minnesota and were inspired so much that they got involved with starting the Alaska Folk School in Talkeetna.
Katy Odneal, Classroom with a View Internship Program Coordinator
Katy has been an educator in Alaska since 1982 and for the past three years, she has been an Alaskan Statewide Mentor working with teachers in rural districts on the Bering Sea coast, along the Yukon River, and the Northwest Arctic. She is an advocate of real learning in the real world, and focused much of her professional career on working with others to create curriculum and programs to support an experiential, hands-on learning.
Tia Shoemaker, Classroom with a View Field Adventure Coordinator
Tia has been a part of Classroom With A View since 2008, leading trips through Denali State Park, Denali National Park, Lake Clark Pass, Baja, California, and summer camps in Talkeetna, Alaska. Her background is in therapeutic recreation and she believes strongly in getting youth outside to experience leadership and learn to be stewards of the land. Tia is also a fishing and hunting guide in remote Alaska, and enjoys traveling the globe.
Board of Directors
Joe Page, President
For the past 30 years, Joe has been one of our community’s most active visionaries. He has a long and proven track record of making things happen. He is a retired teacher, founder of Northern Susitna Institute and the Denali Arts Council, founding chair of the Talkeetna Community Council, served as chairman of the Talkeetna Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the CEAL Academy.
Barb Mannix, Secretary
Barb has been an active member of the Talkeetna community for more than 30 years, specializing in natural history outdoor adventure, gardening, books, and theater. She works as a medical assistant at the Sunshine Community Health Center.
Jim Graupmann, Treasurer
In his capacity as a captain for Atlas Airlines, Jim has flown freight and passengers around the world. When home in Talkeetna, Jim grooms ski trails, hockey rinks, and has been the catalyst and inspiration for the creation of the Alaska Folk School.
Billy FitzGerald, Board Member
Billy is the owner/operator of Denali Trekking Company, as well as a licensed commercial pilot with over 3000 hours of flying time in the northern Susitna Valley. He was the long time chairman of the Talkeetna Community Council, a member of the Talkeetna Airman’s Association, and a member of the Alaska State Parks Citizens Advisory Board.
Rose Jenne, Board Member
Rose’s many community service activities include serving as president of the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of Denali Arts Council, and as a member of the Matanuska-Susitna Planning Commission. As implied by her name, she grows lovely gardens.
Mark Wildermuth, Board Member
Mark Wildermuth has been enjoying the Alaska outdoors for more than 30 years, as a wilderness guide for rafting, fishing and dog mushing. Mark culminated his dog mushing career by finishing 22nd as a rookie in the 1995 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. More recently, he has enjoyed the challenge of business development with a strong commitment to renewable and environmentally-conscience land development, including Denali Zipline Tours, Talkeetna Camper Park, and the Wildflower Café/Main Street Suites.
Nonprofit Organization Status
The Northern Susitna Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information, please contact us. Please use the links below to view the NSI’s public documents.