Jennifer Jovanovic spent seven years as the Director of Science Beyond the Boundaries, a network in which science centers and museums share best practices in hands-on education with their colleagues around the world. Jennifer was the original and only network director, growing it from 12 museums when it was founded to 249 museums reaching over 81 million visitors. Most recently she created and directed the Early Learners Collaborative, funded by a federal grant to help museums develop programs that support preschoolers’ readiness for school. The Saint Louis Science Center was just one of Jennifer’s many clients. She has extensive background in hands-on science programming for underserved audiences. She specializes in assisting nonprofits in creating education programs, including related written materials, grant proposals and publications. She is the former Executive Director of the Children’s Museum at La Habra, where, under her leadership, they won the national Association of Children’s Museums’ Promising Practice Award. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University.
Director of Education
Jill Coons comes to GrowingGreat with a background in sustainable gardens, youth nutrition, and volunteer and business coordination. A graduate of The University of Arizona in Agriculture with an emphasis in Landscape Architecture, Jill has pursued many aspects of her educational background. Since 2003, she has been the GrowingGreat garden coordinator for Pacific Elementary, developing and implementing hands on curriculum.
Jill expanded her passion for garden education to include teaching GrowingGreat nutrition lessons. During her time as Program Director for GrowingGreat, Jill has developed a strong understanding of coordinating long-term relationships with administrators, teachers, and volunteers. Outside of GrowingGreat, Jill currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Warren Neely Foundation, a philanthropic organization that grants money to deserving youth, clubs, and communities throughout California. Jill lives in Manhattan Beach where she loves spending her free time with her husband, David, and her three sons.
Nutrition & Garden Education Specialist
Grace Sanchez comes to GrowingGreat with 14 years of experience as an Educator in San Diego providing Early Intervention services to children with developmental delays. She has an extensive backgound working with parents and caregivers to develop strategies, that center around a family’s daily routines and activities, to promote their child’s growth and development. As an Educator she has held a variety of roles where she had the opportunity to work with children of various age groups, families of diverse demographics, multifaceted teams of therapists, and various partner organizations providing tailored early intervention services that ensure children have a solid foundation for the future. She has a M.A. degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University, Orange CA.
Grace also has been active as a volunteer supporting events throughout San Diego that were geared towards promoting STEM in low income communities. She is a passionate advocate of instilling good nutritional habits in children at a young age and encourages the pursuit of STEM fields. Grace lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband, Rich, and her Siberian Husky, Jarvis. She enjoys reading, running, cooking, hiking, and traveling.
Sally Alder has a B.S. degree in Operations Management from Cal Poly, Pomona. She worked in commercial banking for Union Bank and Comerica. While raising her two children she was active as a volunteer with several organizations in our community including the Girl Scouts, her children’s schools, MBEF, Odyssey of the Mind, and is still active with NCL, Inc. Manhattan-Hermosa.
Sally lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband Jeff, their two children Bradley and Rachel. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, skiing and taking long walks with her dog Sasha.
Shannon is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and holds a bachelors degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology. During her time in St. Louis, she developed a passion to serve her communities through medicine and education. In August of 2015, she co-founded a program called Healthy Humans to teach health and nutrition classes at local homeless shelters and after school programs in North St. Louis. The program focused on empowering underserved populations with knowledge, skills, and resources to make informed decisions about their diet in the face of systemic health barriers. She hopes to continue this mission as she pursues a career in the medical field as a physician and an educator. Shannon is originally from Colorado, and loves the outdoors, hiking, skiing, music, and art!