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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.

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RHIANNON CRAIN, 
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Rhiannon received her Ph.D from the University of California, Santa Cruz Center for Informal Learning and Schools where she was an NSF fellow and her B.S. from the University of Arizona in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology. She has worked with the Exploratorium, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Citizen Science Department conducting research on scientific language, the importance of objects in science learning settings, the emergent potential of online social networks in science learning, citizen science, and on innovation in science education.

Ready to get involved in your community? We are on a Treasure(r) Hunt. Learn more about the position to see if you are a good fit! 

MOD's Administrative Team

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Paige Roberts
Museum Manager

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Rachel Higgins
Director of Operations

Favorite Color:  Hawai’i ocean blues & blue-greens | Favorite Food:  Spam musubi | Where Can You Find Me Outside MOD:  I love traveling, camping & other outdoor adventures with my family, and I also work as a psychotherapist in Santa Cruz County.

Favorite Thing About MOD:  I joined MOD in 2013, before we even launched Mobile MOD, and have loved every day of seeing MOD grow and strengthen our commitment to providing discovery experiences to children & families in our County. I love the sense of place MOD has become for our members & visitors and am so proud of the many ways we continue to work hard to meet the needs of our wonderful community.

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Jeanette Bent
Membership Coordinator & Community Outreach

Jeanette is the mother of two squirrely boys and initially got involved with MOD as a loyal member. Her background is in print journalism, business and performing arts, which she is thrilled to bring to MOD! Jeanette practices Permission Marketing techniques (as a student of Seth Godin) all while working to invent her own category of experiential guerrilla marketing. If you read the enews, follow MOD on social media platforms, interact with our website and/or participate in other forms of communication with the Museum, chances are you've chatted with Jeanette!

MOD's Administrative Team

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Paige Roberts
Museum Manager

Paige is a mother of two energetic boys. She has a background  in Early Childhood Education and management. Paige manages the museum and if you're interested in booking any parties, field trips or group events she would love to assist you. 

Paige found the museum as a safe, fun and educational space when coming into motherhood. She is so happy to be part of the MOD team.

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Rachel Higgins
Director of Operations

Favorite Color:  Hawai’i ocean blues & blue-greens | Favorite Food:  Spam musubi | Where Can You Find Me Outside MOD:  I love traveling, camping & other outdoor adventures with my family, and I also work as a psychotherapist in Santa Cruz County.

Favorite Thing About MOD:  I joined MOD in 2013, before we even launched Mobile MOD, and have loved every day of seeing MOD grow and strengthen our commitment to providing discovery experiences to children & families in our County. I love the sense of place MOD has become for our members & visitors and am so proud of the many ways we continue to work hard to meet the needs of our wonderful community.

MOD's Board of Directors

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 Lisa Olson at ContactUs@sccmod.org.

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ELIZABETH OLSON,
BOARD CHAIR

Driven and dedicated sales professional with extensive experience developing and executing on territory goals and driving full sales cycle. Outside of the box thinker who thrives in a fast paced environment where hard work is recognized. Strengths include transforming vendor/customer relationships to that of a valued business partnership, executing on Channel programs, and a “get it done” attitude.

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JIM FELICH,

BOARD VICE-CHAIR

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.

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VICKI BORIACK
BOARD SECRETARY

A graduate from Iowa State University, Vicki is a proud grandmother and has been the Senior Program Officer with First 5 of Santa Cruz County for nearly 20 years. She is a passionate advocate for underserved communities and families, and is an avid outdoorswoman. She has been with the MOD since 2016 and is excited to continue serving the Santa Cruz community and grow with the museum.

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DR. SETH REDER
TREASURER

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 daughters.

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

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MARGARET CARINO-CONDON

Co-Founder of Salud y Cariño, Margaret has been a member of the Institute for Women Surfers since 2015 and is currently a part-time surf instructor with the Wahine Project, an organization that strives to reduce barriers and increase access to the ocean and surfing for all girls.  

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BRIAN SCHOLZ

I am a widower, father of two wonderful daughters and 3 incredible grandchildren. Raised the family in Santa Cruz County since 1987. I’ve been retired for over 8 years, most recently working as a Program Manager for Plantronics. Circumstances allowed me the privilege of taking care of my granddaughter at birth, 2 or more days a week, until Covid ended our time together. We always spent at least 1 day a week at the MOD, and interacting with her there, it was easy for me to see the true value of a place of discovery. I’m happy to say even at the ripe old age of 7, she still enjoys spending time with me at the MOD, and only the scope of her imaginative use of the various activities has changed. This is what has driven me to become involved here, to help ensure this endeavor continues and grows, available for all children. Our children matter!

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Cassie Blom

Cassie Blom is a marketing communications consultant with nearly 20 years of experience working in small business marketing, complex project management, nonprofit communications, and business development. She has experience in a variety of industries, from nonprofits and large cooperatives to healthcare and social services, to small local businesses and international service providers.

Cassie currently runs her own Aptos-based marketing strategy consultancy. Her passion is helping small businesses and nonprofits lean into the importance of community and connection and build their brands authentically and strategically. She is the mother of two tiny humans, and loves watching their curiosity blossom.

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Emily Jacobson

Emily graduated from UCSC in 2011 with a double major in Intensive Psychology and Economics. After 10 years at Driscoll's, Emily now works as the Director of Operations at Ohalo Genetics. She resides in Aptos and is one of the MOD's most recent board member recruits! 

MOD's Founder

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PATRICE KEET, 
Co-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.

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