Board of Directors
Kindra was born in Auburn, but raised in Rough & Ready. After graduating from Nevada Union, she attended California State University Chico, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from California State University, Long Beach where she also served as an adjunct professor for two years in the same program that she graduated from. She worked in the sports & entertainment industry for several years at organizations such as Leigh Steinberg’s sports agency, STAPLES Center sports & entertainment venue, and for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, legendary NBA player and author. In addition to many sporting events and concerts, she has also worked events such as The Grammys, ESPN X Games, Special Olympics, and the Amgen Tour of California, In 2007, she relocated back to her hometown in Northern California and entered the educational field teaching “Sports & Entertainment Marketing” to high school students at both Oakmont & Rocklin High Schools. She also coached cheerleading at her alma mater, Nevada Union High School. Kindra is currently the Community Affairs Director for the Placer County Office of Education. A former teacher and coach, she now enjoys working with all aspects of K-12 education in Placer County through her current role, under the elected County Superintendent of Schools.
Aside from her day job, Kindra has a passion for giving back to the community in which she works and lives. This mindset was instilled in her at a young age by her mother, and her family continues giving back to the communities in which they live. Kindra has served on the outreach committee for the Big Day of Giving, and is currently on the board for the Placer Community Foundation, which serves over 100 nonprofits. She is also on the board for a community effort to promote literacy, One Book, One Community and sits on a statewide board for California’s School Public Relations officials. In her spare time, she enjoys event & wedding planning.
“I am passionate about NEO because it supports and empowers youth, the future of Nevada County. Opportunities, resources and support are provided for the youth of Nevada County through NEO that might not otherwise be available to them, and it’s provided in a safe and healthy way. If we want to maintain a flourishing community, we have to engage and inspire our youth, so they continue this when they become productive adults in our local workforce and want to give back to the very community that helped raise them. NEO, along with its powerhouse of volunteers and amazing staff, makes this happen for Nevada County youth.”
Cliff Brown is celebrating 20 years since graduating from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working in the Silicon Valley as an engineer for several years, Cliff became a management consultant upon completing a graduate degree in Management Science & Engineering, also from Stanford. Cliff has provided strategic advice to clients including Credit Suisse, Nestle, and Clorox. A proud Grass Valley local since 2003, Cliff now advises a select group of corporate and private equity clients on issues of strategy and sustainability.
Cliff has always balanced work, play, and community involvement. Starting in high school, Cliff worked as a peer counselor, tutor, babysitter, and caregiver to a blind man and an Alzheimer’s patient (while also a stock boy at the drugstore and clerk at the video store). Since moving to Nevada County he has coached youth soccer and softball and volunteers for local schools. In addition to his role with NEO, he volunteers with the Nevada County Sheriff Search and Rescue team, serves on the board of the Sacramento Stanford Association and in several other roles related to education and youth. Cliff enjoys an active lifestyle with his wife and 14 year-old daughter, in particular travel and outdoor recreation in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.
“I dedicate my time to NEO because I admire NEO’s success over the past seven years in providing a safe and positive environment for youth to thrive. NEO has a uniquely effective approach that is “of the youth, by the youth, for the youth” and therefore empowers youth to develop into independent, productive citizens. I am inspired to do my part to rally this community behind a united effort to develop a comprehensive youth and community center.”
Tina was born and raised in Anaheim, California. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from Chris Business College. Wanting to raise their 2 daughters in a safer environment Tina and her husband Mark moved to Penn Valley in 1991. Together, Tina and Mark owned and operated MTS Enterprises for over 20 years before they both entered real estate. Tina is celebrating 10 years as a Mortgage Advisor and currently acts as the branch manager for Verger Mortgage. Tina has served on the Penn Valley Elementary Union School Board for 15 years where she is currently the President of the Board. She also dedicates her time as the Chairperson for Nevada Union High School’s Grad Night. Her youngest daughter, Lynn, co-founded NEO, and Tina has been involved since the organization’s start, providing advice or lending a hand wherever she can.
“I’m passionate about NEO because I had an adult mentor who changed my life when I was younger and I have seen firsthand how NEO does the same for so many kids and young adults. NEO gives youth a place to belong to that is safe and supportive.”
Annie Keeling, Secretary – Music & Movement Teacher for Music Together and JamAlong Music, Parent Educator and Creator of Start Small Parenting, and Writer for the Union Newspaper
Annie has lived with her husband and son in Nevada County since 2002. She teaches an international, parent-child music class called Music Together as well as her own Orff-based group music education program called JamAlong Music. Her experience includes over 30 years of teaching music and dance to all ages as well as a background in early childhood education with degrees from UCLA and UW-Madison.
Annie teaches local parenting classes, coaches families privately, and runs a parenting blog at startsmallparenting.com. Her parenting program is a collaboration between her father’s work from 45 years as a marriage and family therapist and her child development background and teaching experience.
With an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Annie shares her joy of writing with young people. She has taught at Forest Charter School, Center for the Arts Summer Camp, and with private writing groups. Her writing has been featured in Soul’s Road: A Fiction Collection, Mothering, Momtastic, Dance Magazine, The Union Newspaper, and in family history books which she published through a company she ran called Grandparent Gift Book.
Annie’s work has revolved around children of all ages and in many creative, fulfilling capacities. She is inspired by families and has a passion to help parents and kids grow in healthy, respectful ways. One of these ways is through her volunteer support of such organizations as the NU Parent Club, Friendship Club, Center for the Arts, local theater groups, and NEO.
“NEO is an organization whose mission and actions resonate with my personal values of health and respect. Not only are youth able to be with peers in an enriching environment, they are also encouraged to increase their capacity for self-awareness, uncover and improve upon their talents, and realize their dreams and aspirations. NEO’s impact ripples beyond each individual. The incredible mentors, positive influences, and variety of experiences the kids encounter will inform their future actions. NEO encourages a thriving, healthy future for these soon-to-be adults of our community, which powerfully affects us all.”
Joey Bratton was born and raised in Nevada County. He earned his degree in Applied Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In 2012 he founded Fit Culture Studio. Joey and his team of coaches passionately work with a very diverse clientele ranging from individuals desiring to improve strength and bone density, reduce pain and injury, lose-weight, increase energy and people wanting the highest standard from their fitness programming. He lives in Grass Valley, CA with his wife Amanda and 1-year-old son James. He loves playing team sports, spending time with family and friends, and traveling to new places.
“I’m passionate about NEO because we need to invest in our youth if we care about the future of our wonderful community.”
Greg moved to Nevada County from Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2015 and quickly immersed himself in helping our local community. In addition to NEO, Greg is a board member for PFLAG and the Unitarian Universalist Church. He also volunteers with Hospitality House and Citizens for Choice.
Greg has a Bachelor’s of Science in Management from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas. Before retiring, Greg was a Sales Executive with IBM and Price Watherhouse Coopers.
Greg has two adult sons, one a recent college graduate and the other is currently attending college. In his free time, Greg loves to swim, hike, travel, read, attend theater, and volunteer.
“I’m passionate about NEO because our youth deserve all the support they can get. A healthy, safe place for ALL youth is important to me. We need to make sure no young person is left behind or without a supportive place filled with supportive people.”
Jesse Locks was born and raised in Nevada City, CA. She is a communications specialist with fifteen years of experience in publishing, film, radio, and multimedia. Currently, Jesse is the Festival Director of the award-winning Nevada City Film Festival, editor of Folk Trails Magazine, and owner of Locks Media Group, a creative marketing, communications and multimedia firm.
Her writing has been featured in publications such as Thrasher, Heckler, Venus Zine, Alternative Press, Tape Op, Seattle Weekly, Arthur Magazine and ESPN. She was named one of the top 25 “New Creatives” in Northern California by Sacramento News & Review, one of 50 “Emerging Sages” by the Center for Non-Profit Leadership, and is an alumni of the National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture Leadership Institute.
Jesse graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature and Journalism.
“There is nothing more important than supporting our local youth by providing them a safe and healthy place where they can learn, grow, explore, and create. The NEO Youth Center is just that place.”
I am a senior at Nevada Union High School and I have invested my whole heart into helping NEO grow for the last 7 years. NEO has truly been the reason for me to be who I am and to concur so many of my insecurities and fears. I love to perform music, dance, act, and technical theater. I am very honored to be NEO’s student representative on their board of directors because giving back to them and my community is the most rewarding thing I do.
Sonia Britt – Charis Youth Center
Charles Durrett – McCamant & Durrett Architects
Heidi Hall – Nevada County Board of Supervisor
Rich Keene – President at Minor & Keene Law Offices
Zack LaFerriere – Grass Valley Police Department
Hon. Julie McManus – Retired Nevada County Superior Court Judge
Stan Meckler – Founder of the Nevada County Tea Party
Cliff Newell – Nevada County District Attorney
Jeff Pettitt – Captain with the Nevada County Sheriffs Office
Reinette Senum – Former Mayor of Nevada City, Owner at Los Mineros
Karen Suenram – Nevada Joint Union High School District Assistant Superintendent
Dena Valin – Associate Director of the Friendship Club
Karen Wallack-Eisen – Grass Valley Family Resource Center
Lenda Welz – Retired Teacher, Founder Welz Family Children’s Foundation