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.


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.

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.



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!



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.



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.  



John lives happily in retirement near his grandchildren, in Santa Cruz.  He believes passionately that everyone – and, most importantly, children – learn best by doing.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oxford University and began his career teaching elementary school in Yorkshire, England, where he was born and raised.  After moving to Hong Kong in 1972, he taught high-school physics and trained physics teachers at Hong Kong University for almost a decade.  He moved to the USA in 1980, and after earning a doctorate in applied statistics at Stanford University went on to teach research methods and data analysis to graduate students in the social sciences, at Harvard University.  He has published many books and scientific papers and is a member of the National Academy of Education.  At different times in his life, he has been a professional musician and a TV science journalist.

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.