Board & Staff
Board of Trustees
President – Beth Schmitt is the Vice President of Marketing for a Digital Marketing agency based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She brings over 15 years of sales and marketing experience with a strong focus on business development and strategic partnerships. After relocating to Traverse City in 2010 and having 2 children, she has uncovered a passion for child development and learning, and wants to help children become life-long learners through creativity and discovery. After serving on numerous board committees, and as board Vice President, Beth has gratefully accepted the appointment of President where she can use her experience to positively impact the Museum’s future path.
VP – Gretchen MacArthur is a banker at Huntington Bank in beautiful downtown Traverse City. She brings a passion to help people, a love for business and marketing, and a desire to have playful learning experiences for our children and their families. Gretchen and her husband, Curt, moved to Traverse City in 2008 and haven’t looked back. They have 3 children of their own and love to explore all that the beautiful North has to offer.
Secretary – Melinda Zacher Ronayne is the Director of Visual Arts at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and her Master of Arts in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She has taught art at the high school level for ten years. Before moving to Traverse City in 2010, she taught at a visual arts magnet school in Miami, FL. Melinda’s background in visual arts, education and management will help to improve many aspects of the Children’s Museum.
Diane Arnold relocated to Traverse City in 2016 for her husband’s position in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Munson. Prior to the move, Diane had been a prosecuting attorney focusing on crimes against children for over 6 years. Diane and her husband feel extremely lucky to be able to raise their two young daughters in such a beautiful and friendly place.
Blake Bernard works in recreational real estate. Through childhood, his family travelled to Traverse City often and Blake grew up appreciating all the area has to offer. His work skill sets include marketing, retail and management. His volunteer experience has given him insights into membership and fund-raising. Blake is an avid recreation enthusiast and high school varsity tennis team coach.
Brianne Geetings has a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Michigan State University, with several years of experience working as a Project Manager at a marketing agency downtown Traverse City. After having kids, Brianne decided that staying home to raise her two boys was best for her family. She currently offers part-time daycare services and is also a member of the TC Mom’s Club. Brianne strongly believes in the importance of fun and positive learning experiences for young children.
Megan Hildebrandt received her BFA from the Stamps School of Art & Design in 2006, and her MFA in Studio Art from the University of South Florida in 2012. Hildebrandt has exhibited nationally and internationally, including: The Painting Center, New American Paintings, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Craft, Arlington Arts Center, Detroit Contemporary, HEREarts Center, Latitude 53, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and the Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art.
An artist, educator, cancer survivor and arts-in-health advocate, Hildebrandt currently lives and works in Interlochen, Michigan, where she teaches Painting and Digital Media at Interlochen Fine Arts Boarding Academy. Previously to Interlochen, Hildebrandt worked at the Thinkery Children’s Museum in Austin, TX and The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD.
Courtney Kane is the Director of Child Development for the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. She brings her knowledge of early childhood education specializing in ages birth through 6, and has been in the field of Child Development for 10 years. She is passionate about educating the community of the importance and need for early childhood education. “Birth to 5 are the most crucial years of a child’s life- we must make sure they have the proper skills and tools to set them up for lifelong success.” Courtney enjoys spending her free time reading and researching..
Caroline Maier joined The Pathfinder School as the Admissions Director and Head of Marketing/PR in July of 2011. Prior to her move north, she was an Account Executive at Leo Burnett (Chicago) managing TV, Radio, Print and Web campaigns for national brands and subsequently worked as a Brand Consultant for the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago during their rebranding in 2009. In addition to her corporate pursuits, Caroline was a nationally touring multi-instrumentalist/songwriter and taught children’s guitar and voice lessons. With a passion for children, their creativity and boundless energy, she is thrilled to help broaden the reach of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. Caroline graduated from Dartmouth College in 2001 and is happily living in TC with her twin boys and husband Ben.
Sara Wycoff McCauley is the founder and president of Strategic Policy Consultants. A public servant for much of her career, Sara Wycoff is committed to bettering the lives of those around her. Prior to launching her firm, Sara spent more than four years working for Gov. Rick Snyder as a senior policy advisor. A native of Metro-Detroit, she holds a B.A. in political science from Albion College and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She is excited to put her experience to work for the museum and area children. Sara and her husband, Matt, live in Traverse City with their infant son, Emmett.
Executive Director – Michael Long
Michael comes to Great Lakes Children’s Museum with over 20 years of non-profit leadership experience. His experience includes 5 years serving on the board of directors for a startup rural children’s museum in Northern Wisconsin followed by 9 years as the Executive Director for that children’s museum. His most recent position was in a membership association supporting administrators in Colorado’s largest school district.
Development & Events Director – Lisa Pointe
Originally from Traverse City, Lisa’s most recent experience is with Soles4Souls out of Tennessee. Lisa was hired specifically to tell the community about the great things happening at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum – and she has the personality, ambition and attention to detail needed to do that well.
Museum Educator– Anne Drake
Anne has twenty years experience delivering children’s hands-on programming in nature centers. Her enthusiasm for inquiry-based learning and her talent for inspiring curiosity in young minds make her uniquely qualified to assist in the design and delivery of the Museum’s special programs and activities.
Museum Store Manager— Diane Hubert
Unique, inventive, educational toys fill the Museum Store thanks to Diane’s imaginative, inspired management of the Museum’s retail store. A former instructor of metalsmithing at NMC and a longtime participant in the local art community, she gathers items with a variety of exceptionally creative themes in the store.
Guest Services Assistants – Caroline Davy & Mindy Halbert
Caroline taught math, science and language arts and has a secondary teaching certificate. Mindy is mom to two teen boys and is studying in college. Mindy is also the Volunteer & Events Coordinator which makes her primarily responsibility for helping guests feel welcome while organizing events, scheduling volunteers, strengthening the volunteer base and training new Guest Services Assistants.