Board of Directors

With a shared vision, a committed group of community volunteers pooled their resources, knowledge, expertise, time and connections to launch the Homer Folk School in 2016.   An independent non-profit as of September 2017, our Board of Directors commit to making sure the Homer Folk School stays true to its mission.

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Nancy Lee-Evan's work in the folk arts tradition began in Oregon as staff for Rain Magazine:  A Journal of Appropriate Technology and continued with founding the Alaska Alternative Energy Resource Center at the Alaska Center for the Environment. Years of spiritual study shifted Nancy’s work to holistic healing, herbal medicine and the spiritual relationship with nature that had been a touchstone since childhood. She is certified in permaculture design and offers classes in Alaska plants as food and medicine, holistic healing, and indigenous Celtic tradition. Nancy feels that learning the wisdom of our ancestral traditions roots us more firmly with the Earth and in the fullness of our lives.

Robin McAllistar is passionate about folk schools, community empowerment and inter-generational learning.  She has been a private practice counselor for 25 years. Her history includes several years commercial fishing in Prince William Sound on the Valiant Maid, an infamous old wooden seiner. Robin also worked as a biologist in PWS from trail crew in late 70s to mapping the herbarium and Trumpeter Swan habitat in the early 80's.  She is a mom of 2 and grandma of 5, a passionate permaculturist, organic farmer, and herbalist and looks forward to both teaching, learning and growing the Homer Folk School family. 

Neil Wagner has a love of traditional crafts and learning new skills. Some of his past lives & experiences include building a log cabin, pottery, photography, maritime captain & engineer, solar installations, distance hiking, and making wood fired pizzas.  He's a retired Entrepreneur.

 

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Nancy Schrag first moved to Fairbanks in the mid-70’s.  Always a fan of the Foxfire book's back to the earth philosophy, she began pursuing a more simple life there before moving to Kenai a few years later.  After working 22 years as an Alaska Public Health Nurse, providing young families education in Early Childhood Development, Nancy and her husband retired to Homer two years ago. She is the mother of 2 and “Nanny” to two grandchildren.  

Nancy has always been an avid gardener and loves sharing her knowledge of cooking, preserving and fermenting.  She works part time at the Little Fireweed Academy, raises chickens and began keeping bees this past summer after taking the Homer Folk School’s “Beginning Beekeeping”.   She’s loving living in the beautiful community of Homer and looks forward to continuing her lifelong pursuit of living a healthy, natural way of life while encouraging everyone’s knowledge in traditional skills.

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Lasse Holmes is a passionate lifelong learner and maker that enjoys discovering, creating and sharing with others. Tuning to seasonal rhythms and cycles and working with the abundance of natural resources in the area, he focuses on wildcrafting, fermentation, designing and building living and working spaces that foster physical, mental and spiritual health.  

  Catkin Kilcher Burton  retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps after serving 31 years in numerous countries, including combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. She currently lives in both Anchorage and also Homer, where she was raised and continues to be actively involved in the Kilcher Family Trust that helps maintain her family homestead and museum. 

Catkin Kilcher Burton retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps after serving 31 years in numerous countries, including combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. She currently lives in both Anchorage and also Homer, where she was raised and continues to be actively involved in the Kilcher Family Trust that helps maintain her family homestead and museum. 

 

Executive Director

 Saskia Esslinger grew up in Anchorage but after returning recently from a 2-year travel with her family, decided to sink her roots down in Homer. Her husband, Matt, and boys Graysen, 5, and Rylan, 3, agree that Homer is a great place to be!  Saskia brings a diverse background to the Homer Folk School, with a BS in Environmental Science, a Master's in Regenerative Entrepreneurship, as well as a certified permaculture designer and teacher. She was one of the organizers and teachers for the first Alaskan Permaculture Course in Homer in 2010.   Saskia has been an Americorps*VISTA volunteer with the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, Texas, worked on farms in upstate New York, started a cafe in Guatemala, and helped manage a lodge in remote Alaska. She organized and participated in the Alaska Food Challenge, eating only local food for an entire year.  In Anchorage, Saskia taught food gardening classes at her urban homestead, the Williams Street Farmhouse. She is now bringing her successful course curriculum to other passionate gardeners through her website, teachgardening.com. Her mission is to make ecological gardening classes as common as yoga classes and inspire a food gardening revolution.

Jennifer Tarnacki grew up in the midwest but, like many who arrive with a gleam in their eye, fell hook, line and sinker for Homer and decided to sink down roots. 

Jennifer brings a diverse background to the Homer Folk School, with a BS in Behavioral Neuroscience, and current work towards a Master's in Literary Nonfiction. 

Jennifer has worked as a research assistant in a genetics lab at Harvard Medical School, been a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, volunteered with Tibetan Buddhist refugees in Nepal, taught English in Poland and Hungary, and worked on farms throughout the U.S, Canada, and Australia. She served as the Alaska Ambassador for Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF).

Prior to landing in Homer, Jennifer worked for the National Park Service with interpretive park rangers, where she demonstrated spinning, weaving, and flax processing on an Appalachian homestead in North Carolina. This experience inspired a love of folk skills. Passionate about living gently on the Earth, she is now bringing her range of experiences to work for community outreach. Her mission is to make ecological connections fun and inspire a folk skill revival.