Before coming to GrowingGreat in 2014, Jennifer 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. She created and directed the Early Learners Collaborative, funded by a federal grant to help museums develop programs that support preschoolers’ readiness for school. She has extensive background in hands-on science programming for underserved audiences. 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. Jennifer has greatly expanded GrowingGreat programming in low-income Los Angeles communities and assured that all activities are taught in both Spanish and English with a focus on hands-on STEM education for grades PreK-12. She created and leads GrowingGreat’s national early childhood initiative, now expanded to grades PreK-5, at museums, libraries and zoos through GrowingGreat Veggies & Fruits and the GrowingGreat STEAM Collaborative. Jennifer serves on the Conference Program Planning Committee for the Association of Science and Technology Centers and has presented at their conferences, as well as at the National Association for the Education of Young Children and National Science Teachers Association. Jennifer holds a B.A. from Harvard University.
Director of Education
Jill has worked with GrowingGreat since 2012 and has 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 was a GrowingGreat elementary school garden coordinator for nine years, developing and implementing hands-on activities in the South Bay. She oversees nutrition and garden curriculum development and designs and implements GrowingGreat school programs. Jill supervises a staff of four, coordinates long-term relationships with administrators, teachers, parents and volunteers throughout Greater Los Angeles, and is always looking for innovative ways to serve our Los Angeles partners. Jill developed and implemented GrowingGreat’s programming to meet student, family and teacher needs during distance learning through GrowingGreat-led Zoom classes, Webinars and Virtual Garden Clubs. Jill oversees the development of the GrowingGreat PenPal and Reading Clubs which provide weekly STEM activities, and culturally-relevant stories for children and their families to explore from home. She has presented at annual conferences for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
STEM Program Director
Meghan joined GrowingGreat in 2019 and develops and leads teen programs as well as the Pen Pal Club which includes 280 partners spanning 18 states. She develops and writes GrowingGreat’s hands-on STEM, nutrition and garden activities for PreK-12 students, teachers and caregivers. She is a representative with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council’s “Farm to School” Working Group and Co-Leads the School Garden Support Organization (SGSO)’s Middle/High School Peer Learning Community. She has presented at annual conferences for the Association of Science and Technology Centers, National Science Teachers Association, California Association for the Education of Young Children and SGSO. She is passionate about promoting educational equity through innovative garden and nutrition education. Meghan holds a B.F.A degree in Theater Arts and a minor in French from Southern Oregon University.
Early Childhood Program Manager
Adriana joined the GrowingGreat team in 2022. “I love teaching young minds and witnessing them have that Aha! moment,” she explains. Adriana develops and teaches hands-on activities about eating and growing fruits and vegetables for Early Education Centers and preschools. Prior to coming to GrowingGreat, she worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for over two decades, teaching preschoolers, including students with special needs. Adriana is the lead representative for the NIH “Seeds to STEM” national partnership, and one of three GrowingGreat senior staff. She is a California native and first-generation college graduate in her family. Adriana is fluent in Spanish and English and holds an Associates Degree from East Los Angeles College. She has presented at annual conferences for the National Association for the Education of Young Children and School Garden Support Organization.
Lead STEM Educator
Maxwell’s love of cooking and enthusiasm for supporting nonprofits brought him to GrowingGreat in 2019. Maxwell leads GrowingGreat’s education programs at Variety Boys & Girls Clubs in Boyle Heights, Maple Primary Center in South Los Angeles and Linwood Howe Elementary in Culver City. He has also co-taught the teen cooking program, GrowingGreat Chefs, and written, produced and starred in a wide array of educational STEM and cooking videos, as well as live virtual presentations for LAUSD parents. His “All About Apples” video was chosen by PBS for their CampTV program. Maxwell is a student in Early Childhood Education at West LA City College with an expected graduation date in 2025. Maxwell has found a home at GrowingGreat where he can help accomplish the mission of spreading good nutritional values to our future generations. He has presented at annual conferences for the Association of Science and Technology Centers and California Association for the Education of Young Children.
Early Childhood Garden Educator
Vermonica joined the GrowingGreat in 2023 as part of the educator mentorship program. She leads hands-on programs at preschools throughout Los Angeles. She has two years’ experience as a Behavioral Therapist doing Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy with children with Autism in the South Bay, Long Beach and Orange County, and two years as a Preschool Teacher. She holds an A.A. in Early Childhood Education from El Camino College and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from California State University, Fullerton. She is currently working towards her credential in Early Childhood Special Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills, with the end goal of getting her Masters. She was born and raised in Southern California, and is fluent in English and Spanish.