Kelli Lennon-Lane at 2023 Maple Syrup Festival

Education Leadership Transition

Kelli Kennon-Lane is serving her final day as the Director of Education on September 1.

Sarah Botkin

Sarah Botkin, the Amazing Space Manager, will serve as the Interim Director of Education.

Marcy Fratzke, who served as Preschool Specialist during the 2022-2023 school year, will serve as Interim Creekside Forest School Director.

Indian Creek Nature Center is grateful to have had Kelli Kennon-Lane serve as Director of Education during the past six years – and wish her the best on her next adventure.

A message from Kelli Kennon-Lane

Members, supporters, volunteers, and friends of Indian Creek Nature Center: 

I am writing today with both sadness and excitement to share that, after careful consideration, I am resigning as Director of Education in order to take a position with another organization. This decision is the right choice, providing me with the professional advancement and personal opportunities in which I seek while still working with people who love adventuring in the outdoors. 

It’s obvious: Indian Creek Nature Center is a special place. For this reason, I am not leaving the Nature Center as a supporter, guest, and volunteer – only as an employee. The position I accepted is fully remote and does not require relocation, meaning I am still able to send my son to Creekside Forest School (the best preschool in the state!), facilitate programs, participate in special events as a guest or volunteer, and lend my support in a multitude of other ways. You and I will see each other often, just as we have over the last six years while I served as Director of Education. 

While at the Nature Center I’ve had the pleasure of leading the education team as we grew our school field trip attendance to record numbers, provided robust and diverse public programs to people of all ages, developed strategic plans that allowed our team to provide more immersive outdoor education experiences, and launched Fresh Air Academy and Creekside Forest School. I was able to accomplish these things in just six years largely because of the collaboration with the education, land, and marketing and development teams at Indian Creek Nature Center. My colleagues and their incredible dedication to ICNC’s mission are what I will miss most.

Yes, it is hard to think about leaving, but I remind myself that I am actually not going anywhere! The people of ICNC are my friends, neighbors, and community members. I am forever a Champion of Nature and believe in this mission entirely. I am invested in the success of the Nature Center and whomever fills my role. Let’s cheer them on and support them while they take the Nature Center to the next level! 

A message from Executive Director John Myers

I’d like to express my gratitude to Kelli for her six years of hard work as Director of Education. As a critical thought leader, Kelli’s work has been tremendously impactful and I’m grateful for her service and dedication, especially leading the development of a new preschool out of the challenges of the pandemic and derecho. I’m even more grateful that we will see Kelli every day as her son attends Creekside Forest School! 

ICNC has come a long way and continues to be a nationwide leader in the work to create Champions of Nature. As we look to the future, this is a natural time to reflect on our education and focus on how we can continue to build the best team to support our guests, volunteers, and families. We will not immediately hire a new Director of Education, but spend some thoughtful time over the next several months reviewing our strategic plan and vision for the future.

To help us ensure continued quality and depth of programming during this reflection, I’m pleased to announce the following two interim staff assignments.

Sarah Botkin will serve as Interim Director of Education. In addition to her role as Amazing Space Manager, Sarah will help ensure continuity in our education programs and that the quality and breadth of programming continues. Along with Andria Cossolotto and Emily Roediger, she will continue to deliver on our immersive environmental education programs. She also will provide leadership and guidance to the Women in Nature planning committee and continue to support the Friends of the Nature Center in their work.

Marcy Fratzke will serve as Interim Creekside Forest School Director. Together with Nicole Upchurch and Morgan Bryant, Marcy will ensure that the children and families attending CFS have an immersive, experiential, and academically successful experience.

Change can be productive, but not always easy. We are committed to ensure the quality and breadth of programming continues into the future. Kelli, along with her predecessor Jan Aiels, have each left a significant mark on thousands of children, families, and adults that have attended our education programs. Their leadership remains long after they leave employment and will continue to drive us as we look to the future.

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