History & Leadership

In 2012, a group of educators, parents and grandparents, scientists, business people and community leaders came together with the vision of creating a children’s museum in Santa Cruz County: A museum of discovery, enrichment, and education for the children of the area, a museum unique to Santa Cruz that would showcase the wonders of our environment, from the ocean to the forests, agriculture to entrepreneurship, and scholarship to tourism.

Since then, our work has unfolded. We established a committed Board of Directors, drew experts for our enthusiastic Advisory Board and exhibit committee, and achieved 501(c)(3) status. Most importantly, we nailed down our vision.

We want the museum to be an interactive space where children can explore, question and investigate at their own pace. Leveraging children’s natural curiosity, the museum will complement more formal education in an environment full of laughter, enjoyment and sharing. Parents and caregivers can explore with their children as well as observe their children’s learning process.

The Children’s Museum of Discovery has an amazing Board of Directors to guide it. Board members have shown their support of our children, parents, and mission by volunteering their services. If you are interested in serving on our board or becoming a volunteer, please contact Patrice Keet.

MOD's Board of Directors



Dr. Seth, a Pediatric Dentist in Capitola, loved a museum much like the Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery as a child. He was born and raised in San Diego, and graduated from UC Santa Barbara. He earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at University of the Pacific. Dr. Reder, when not taking care of his patients at his Capitola Kids Dentistry, can be found surfing at Pleasure Point or riding bicycles with his wife Andrea and daughter Norah.

Dr. Reder is passionate about giving back to his community and looks forward to being part of a group creating positive changes.



Sue is a dedicated MOD program volunteer who lent her considerable energies and talent to launching MOD in it’s current location. Sue brings over 30 years of elementary school teaching experience to the MOD Board. One of her passions is educating children about the natural world.



Mary Beth holds an MD and a PhD from Duke University completed as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Her medical electives focused on developmental and behavioral pediatrics and her graduate work on neurodevelopment and plasticity, with dissertation work specific to neuronal receptor trafficking. Except for Antarctica, Dr. Ficklin has traveled to all the continents. Dr. Ficklin has a special interest in bringing science enrichment to under-served children.

MOD's Founder


Patrice Keet is a parent and a grandparent of four youngsters. After working as a Marriage and Family Therapist for 30 years, she realized that families need exciting, interesting and affordable places to take their children. That led to the idea of establishing a children’s museum in Santa Cruz County. Patrice has Masters Degrees in Marriage and Family Counseling and in Education. She served as Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Montessori School and on the boards of the Mid-county Children’s Center, the Santa Cruz Child Abuse Prevention Council, Planned Parenthood of Santa Cruz County, and on the CASA Board for the past 12 years.




Biography coming soon!




Jim, a former Silicon Valley software engineer and entrepreneur, is a founding Board member of MOD who contributes his time, talents, resources, and creative mind to all aspects of MOD.



Vicki is a Senior Program Officer with First 5 of Santa Cruz County.
Biography coming soon!

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Jason Horner

Jason is a human resources analyst back in his hometown Watsonville, after working in the Silicon Valley for the past 15 years. As a San Jose State University and Aptos High School hall of fame athlete, he brings a wealth of knowledge around coaching and athletic development and hopes to further promote the concept of learning through physical play at the MOD. He lives in Aptos with his wife Jenni, and two daughters Teagan and Makenna.