Our Team

You have to be a little unusual/ridiculous/passionate to work at Schoolhouse. The hours are long, the sun is hot, and the salary isn’t going to build a big bankroll. But the privilege of introducing kids to nature, helping them discover how capable they are, and watching them grow in confidence every day is absolutely worth it. And the hugs don’t hurt either. Here’s our team who is dedicated to nurturing curiosity, celebrating courage, and most of all, caring for the whole of every child.


Wendy Tonker (2011) 

Chief Executive Officer

Email: wendy@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Wendy has 25 years of experience as a nonprofit director and organizational development consultant. She joined the Schoolhouse staff in August 2011, after one year of service on the Board of Directors and three years as a camp parent. Wendy earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Appalachian State University and a Masters of Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. Wendy finds joy in spending time with her family or seeking out hunting and fishing adventures. “My hope for kids that join us at Schoolhouse is for them to feel loved and supported to discover, fully embrace, and express who they are.”

 


Marty Jorgensen (2016) 

Chief Operating Officer

Email: marty@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Marty grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and spent her childhood rambling around, snowshoeing, and climbing trees on her family’s land on Casper Mountain. Inspired by her time outdoors, she decided to follow her passion for being outside and graduated from Green Mountain College with a degree in Adventure Recreation. Marty worked for a number of summer camps and outdoor organizations before bringing that experience to Schoolhouse of Wonder. She began her time at Schoolhouse helping start our Orange County location and managed that location for several years before becoming our Program Director, and now our COO. In her free time, she likes to grow food, play ukulele, make inventions, and generally goof around.

 


Nick Bavin (2022)

Chief Information Officer

Email: nick@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Nick joins us from a 20 year career in the sports and entertainment industry in the UK and locally here in the Triangle, having most recently been Director of Corporate Partnerships for the NC Courage and previously the same role for the Durham Bulls. Nick grew up in the UK and got his degree in Marketing from Bournemouth University. Nick loves the outdoors, whether competing in triathlons, biking, running, or playing with his two energetic kids who love bikes, swimming and gymnastics.

 


Rebeca Franca (2022)CBF3899F-3366-453F-8974-28FBF9395D63.jpeg

Program Director

Email: rebeca@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Rebeca is new to North Carolina and the beauty that it offers. She is originally from Brazil and has lived around the US working for multiple camps and organizations. She has earned her B.A. in Human Development from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg FL, and after college decided to pursue camp as a career. She loves creating environments where people can learn and grow, especially in the outdoors. She enjoys making art, traveling and laughing until her stomach hurts.

 


Jimmy Herrighty (2022) IMG_6058.JPG

Durham Site Manager

Email: jimmy@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Born and raised in New Jersey for over 10 summers, Jimmy called the Pine Barrens his home. He began working at Summer Camps in 2007 and never left! Since then, he’s worked in a number of different camps across the country. He believe nature is the great equalizer and we all have things to learn and share with one another.

 


Joe Pirani (2014)

Durham Lead Camp Counselor

Joe hails from Seattle, Washington but he moved to North Carolina early in his childhood. His favorite activities include backpacking, skiing, canoeing, and playing video games with his friends. He graduated from UNC Asheville with a bachelor’s in earth environmental science. He is excited to make a difference in the world by working to protect our natural resources.

 


Aly Topscher (2022) AlyClimbing.jpg

Durham Lead Camp Counselor

Aly studied marine science in school but loves teaching about all environmental topics. She has completed several cross-country road trips to teach kids and adults about the natural world. She participates in many outdoor sports from climbing to skateboarding to scuba-diving. When she’s not exploring, you’ll find her drawing, painting, and reading.

 


Jamie Salemi (2021)

Durham Lead Camp Counselor

Jamie is a North Carolina native and lifetime woodsman. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021 with a double major in Human Development and Family Studies and English and Comparative Literature. He is currently pursuing a Teaching Licensure at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. When he is not busy building forts with campers or telling campfire stories, Jamie can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends, writing short fiction, or cuddling with his many, many pets.

 


Kailey Palazzi (2019) 

Wake Lead Camp Counselor

Kailey has called a few states home throughout her life, spending 14 years of it in western Massachusetts where she is from. The mountains and the outdoors are always calling her and have led her to seek many opportunities to make nature her office. The hills of the Berkshires, the North and South islands of New Zealand, and now the parks of North Carolina are some of these places. Kailey loves to talk about her family, her cat, and her favorite TV shows. She is looking forward to making even more memories at Schoolhouse.

 


Zach Goldrich (2022)IMG_6615.JPG

Wake Lead Camp Counselor

Zach is originally from California but has lived in many places before landing here in Durham! He has a ton of different camp experiences, from teaching campfire culinary to goat yoga! In his free time you can find him throwing pottery, playing DnD or outside hiking and paddling with his two dogs. He can’t wait to explore and learn with everyone!

 


Eileen Tan (2021)1750D286-6EDC-471E-BA5D-DCC908C0A0C6.jpeg

Wake Lead Camp Counselor

Eileen is an recent NC State University graduate, with a major in Zoology and a minor in Wildlife Science. This is their second summer back at Schoolhouse of Wonder and could not be more excited for what adventures await this time around! Eileen is an avid skier and lover of action (and racquet) sports, as well as an artist. Kind of a jack of all trades type beat but enjoys exploring new things!

 


Bill Stahura (2022)

Wake Lead Camp Counselor


Linda Cate Collins (2022)6311861_6.jpeg

Wake Camp Counselor

Linda Cate Collins grew up moving through several states along the east coast, gaining experience with a variety of camps and volunteer organizations working with animals, inspiring a love of nature. She graduated from Longleaf School of the Arts and is now pursuing an Associates degree in Science at Wake Tech. She’s always looking for something new to learn and share with others, be it snail facts or just a cool spot in the woods. She has a love for music and plays a few different instruments. She is an entertainer at heart and can find something in common with just about anyone.

 


Maya Reed (2017)maya baby watersnake.jpg

Orange Site Manager

Email: maya@schoolhouseofwonder.org

Maya grew up in Chapel Hill playing in creeks and selling Girl Scout Cookies. She studied Science Education at NC State, but instead of going back to a traditional classroom, she continued working at camps and outdoor schools where could catch snakes and play in the mud. When Maya is not working she is either looking for salamanders, crocheting, or playing with her dogs.

 


We also count on our wonderful board of directors to help round out the team. We’re grateful for the dedication our staff and board demonstrate every day. It shows up in big and small ways, and we couldn’t do it without them. 

Want to join this amazing team? Check out our Employment page.