Jane P. Gannaway, Board Chair, is currently the Principal for JPG Consulting, LLC, based in Kansas and working with clients in food service and retail worldwide with a focus on the Americas and Asia. Jane has recently moved to Kansas from Shanghai, China to be closer to family and to enjoy the United States once again. Jane has always been engaged with community service in the communities she has lived in around the world. She is the mother of two adult sons, and is the Nai Nai (paternal grandmother) of four grandchildren.
“I believe that play is a learned behavior through interaction and experimentation. KCDC provides a fantastic indoor and outdoor experience for children to play, interact, explore and learn. Children can move at their own pace and with their interests. But beyond that, the creative and talented KCDC staff reach out into the community, with science and math programs in community centers and parks, through kindergarten preparedness classes, and with the Medical Warriors program that provides opportunities for children with health issues to play with their families. My grandchildren think KCDC 'is the best children’s museum in the world.' I have to agree!”
Dr. Kent Palmberg, Board Treasurer, enjoyed two careers in the medical field. Returning to his hometown of Topeka in 1978, he joined a group of physicians that grew to become Cotton O'Neil Clinic and practiced Internal Medicine until 1995. With the merger of Cotton O'Neil and Stormont Vail, Dr. Palmberg had the opportunity to become part of the administrative team and served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer from 1995 to 2016. He continues to enjoy supporting local health care providers and serves in volunteer capacities with Stormont-Vail Health and Midland Care.
In my role of recruiting new physicians and other healthcare providers to our community, the KCDC proved to be a tremendous asset that helped convince new providers that Topeka would not only be a great place to practice but also a great place to raise a family. The positive impact on recruiting was immediate and showing off the Discovery Center was an integral part of our strategies.
Amber Housholder, Board Secretary, is the manager of insurance and claims for Evergy. Since 2006, she has served in various positions including regulatory affairs manager, investor relations manager, budget analyst and internal auditor. Beyond her official positions at Evergy, Amber serves as secretary of the Women’s Energy Network. She has an accounting degree from Washburn University and earned her MBA from Baker University. Amber is a member of the Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2019.
"The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is a tremendous asset to our community. Kids love the opportunity to play (and learn). My nephew and niece love to spend time exploring the outdoors and especially enjoy riding the trikes. However, you will notice that it is not just the kids having fun. The activities and exhibits allow for the entire family to spend quality time together. KCDC provides the opportunity for ALL kids to learn and grow through play."
Melody Devlin, Past Board Chair, was born and raised in Colorado and found her way to Kansas State University. She moved to Topeka in 2002 and earned bachelor's and master’s degrees in nursing. She currently works at Oasis Family Medicine. Melody has a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter who fill her life with love and joy. She also enjoys running, crafting, camping and boating.
"KCDC is a vital part of the community of Topeka. From the moment you walk into the doors of KCDC you feel the energy and spirit of childhood. Parents, grandparents and kids of all ages can be seen playing together. The environment provides the structure for families to learn in the best possible way, play. This passion for fun and learning is not limited to the brick and mortar of the center, it extends its arms into the community. Specifically parts of the community that may not have the opportunity to pay for admission. Through its outreach programs it provides priceless opportunities to those underserved populations. KCDC also adds another reason for families to move to or visit Topeka. It enriches the community in many ways, and makes Topeka a fun place to play and grow."
Jesse Borjon owns and operates a property management company and local retail store. Prior to becoming a small business owner, Jesse worked in leadership positions for the Kansas Corporation Commission and Secretary of State’s Office. He graduated from Washburn University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and served as student body president. He has been involved in Topeka South Rotary, United Way, Topeka Active 20-30 Club, Friends of the Topeka Zoo Past Board President, and the Washburn University Alumni Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Kansas and a member of the Topeka Chamber of Commerce. In 2020, he was elected to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives representing the 52nd House District.
Kathy Damron has spent more than 30 years working in public policy. Her initial civic interests were shaped by politically engaged parents who built a successful farm and livestock operation in Western Kansas. Following staff work for numerous elected officials, she began a governmental relations consulting career in Topeka focused primarily on health, education and economic development projects. Most recently, her professional focus has shifted away from advocacy but remains one aligned with health and wellness. She is a National Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor, teaching private and group yoga in Topeka and Lawrence. She is also a certified children’s yoga instructor and is currently studying for her advanced teaching certification through Yoga Medicine. Service to her community continues to be a priority and Kathy has served on the boards of Topeka Collegiate Independent School, Topeka Performing Arts Center, Kappa Alpha Theta alumni, Community National Bank, Friends of Cedar Crest, Topeka Public Schools Foundation and numerous public school parent organizations where her children, Kyle and Erica Peterson attended. She and her husband, Whitney Damron, reside in Topeka, Kansas.
"Children love learning and there is no better way than for them to learn than to do it through play. As a yoga instructor, It’s been an amazing experience to teach kids yoga at the museum, watching the joy that comes from kids learning various poses and then proudly showing them to their parents or other caregivers. As a board member for the Discovery Center, I have witnessed their extensive work addressing inequities and working toward ensuring all children have access to high quality play experiences."
Kevin Dobski is the owner and operator of McDonald’s of Lawrence and Topeka. Kevin moved back to Lawrence, Kansas recently from Los Angeles, where he had spent nearly a decade working in the entertainment industry as a music and talent manager. Kevin managed the careers of several bands, actors, stand-up comedians and musicians before returning to McDonald’s system. Kevin lives in Lawrence with his wife Mary Kate and their children, Kendall Mae and Hadley and Easton. They enjoy spending time together outdoors, playing and watching sports (especially cheering on the Jayhawks and Horned Frogs), school and church activities.
Mary Etzel, Community Volunteer
Joe Fazio has worked for U.S. Bank for 19 years and currently serves as vice president, branch manager of the Pioneer Square location in North Topeka. He was born in Topeka, Kansas, where he attended Topeka Technical College. He has been married to his wife, Sarah, for 30 years as of April 2022. They have one daughter, KyLea, age 22, who lives in Alabama and two dogs, Roxi and Noodle. Along with the Discovery Center, he also serves on the board for North Topeka Business Alliance as part of their membership committee, as well as the boards for North Topeka Rotary as both president and treasurer and The Ronald McDonald House. Joe enjoys working out, golfing and spending time with family.
Kristina Figuerres joins the KCDC Board with over ten years of experience working in education. She worked in the Chicago area as an Elementary School Assistant Principal, Middle School Dean of Students and an Orchestra Teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University and her Masters Degree in School Administration from Loyola University. She is a graduate of Topeka West High School. She is currently a stay-at-home mom who enjoys being involved in the community. When she is not busy running after her two young children, Kristina works as a member of the Topeka Symphony Board and she volunteers her time on the committee for the American Cancer Society’s Couture for Cancer. In addition, Kristina is Treasurer for the Prince of Peace Preschool Board and spends various days helping the teachers at her son’s elementary school.
"KCDC has been a wonderful learning space for the Figuerres family. With two young children, we have spent many hours of play at KCDC! It is a place to go as a family or to meet other friends for playdates. The kids love the interactive activities and the chance to explore, build and experiment in a safe environment. Our community is lucky to have a facility of this caliber where kids get excited about learning. As part of the KCDC Board, I hope to continue to explore new opportunities while building on the great KCDC foundation the has already been established for Topeka."
Rachel Marsh Rachel serves as CEO of the Children's Alliance of Kansas, where she collaborates with child welfare experts to lead public policy advocacy efforts to strengthen the child and family wellbeing system, Rachel received her law degree and masters in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. She enjoys hanging out with her two teenage daughters. She spends her free time in her garden and on local trails.
"The Kansas Children's Discovery Center creates a safe and welcoming space that fosters children's healthy play - and a space where parents can take a moment to breathe. The Center makes consistent, creative efforts to meet the unique needs of all children, especially those who might need a little extra support. The Center plays an important community leadership role in building opportunities for children and families to learn and play together."
Dr. Mallory McIntosh is a general pediatrician at Stormont Vail-Cotton O’Neil. She received her medical degree from The University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed her pediatrics residency training at Indiana University. She joined Stormont Vail in 2018 after returning home to Topeka to practice and to give back to the community in which she was raised. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as well as the Kansas chapter of the AAP. She is married with one young daughter. She enjoys DIY projects, taking the family dogs for walks and gardening.
"The Kansas Children's Discovery Center is a gem in our community. The team works hard to ensure that access exists for all and they don't shy away from the challenge to reach even more children and families in creative ways. We are lucky to have such an incredible space to play and explore for our children right here in our backyard!"
Marta Marina Morales-Kennedy is a nurse and advocate for equality and justice. Marta was born in Guatemala and moved to Topeka in 1981. She attended Washburn University and later graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing degree. She has worked at Stormont-Vail Health for 29 years, serving families and babies where she says there is an immense opportunity to "grow and give." Marta has been married to Brandan Paul Kennedy for thirty years and is the mother of four children.
"A community is defined by the commitment it shows to each and every one of its members. KCDC is a clear example of this commitment. In its mission KCDC reflects the importance of providing tools for discovery and healthy learning for all children and their families. The vision is to contribute in the formation of great minds with the belief that the future will bring greatness. Every family can find a safe and encouraging environment at KCDC. It is important for the community to grow and KCDC is where many of the seeds are kept. KCDC provides the opportunity for our community to show pride, joy, and love of who we are."
Kim Patton is an elementary school librarian in the Seaman Unified School District where she started in 2009. She is a lifelong resident of Topeka where she graduated from Seaman High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Washburn University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Library Science from Emporia State University. She and her husband, Fred, have 3 children: Zach, Andrew & Emily. Kim is passionate about serving the community where she lives to make it a place others will love to call home. In addition to the time she spends volunteering for her kids’ schools and the Topeka Zoo, Kim also serves as chair of the Library Foundation Trustees for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and on the Ballet Midwest Board of Directors.
"When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do." — Walt Disney
Debra Ricks, Community Volunteer
Judge Cheryl Rios was appointed to the 3rd Judicial District Court in 2008 and previously served as an Associate Judge for the City of Topeka. After practicing critical care nursing in Topeka she graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1993. She serves on the Kansas District Judges Association and Valeo Behavioral Health Center Foundation. She enjoys reading, hiking with friends and spending time with her adult daughters and extended family in Topeka.
"Building healthy community begins with raising vibrant, healthy, happy children. If we believe this, then every moment we invest in educating children is an investment in a brighter future."
Cora Spencer is a community volunteer. She has previously worked as board president for the Mulvane Art Museum and Childcare Aware of Eastern Kansas. Spencer has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Kansas State University. She moved to Topeka in fifth grade and considers this her hometown. She is married to Neal Spencer, president of Ernest-Spencer Companies. They have three children: Elsie (16), Layla (15) and Emmet (12) and host an exchange student from Spain, Auxi (15).
"It is a core value of our family that we use our talents to impact our community in a positive way."
Founding Board Leadership
B. Kent Garlinghouse, Board Chair
Bill Anderson, D.M.A., Vice-Chair
Michael Orozco, Treasurer
Stewart Entz, Secretary
Lambert Wu, M.D.
Craig Yorke, M.D.