The Kansas Children's Discovery Center is run by a staff of experienced professionals who know how to have serious fun at work. From building exhibits, to running programs, to keeping our facility clean and safe, visitors can count on our staff to provide a memorable, educational experience.
Dené Mosier, President/CEO
(785) 783-8300, ext 102
Dené has led the museum since 2015. As a former preschool and elementary school teacher and administrator, she brings extensive experience in child development and managing educators to her role overseeing exhibits and programs. Under her leadership, the Discovery Center has grown and thrived as the premier children's museum in Kansas. Read more about Dené.
Laura Burton, Director Marketing and Development
Laura is a nonprofit marketing, communications and fundraising professional responsible for educating the public about the Discovery Center's work. In her role, she develops partnerships to help build the museum as a regional tourist attraction and educational resource for all families. She is a mother of two young children and a big LEGO fan.
Draque Carver, Exhibit and Facilities Maintenance Manager
Draque has been with the Discovery Center since 2014 and is responsible for facility and exhibit construction and maintenance. He came to the museum with 35 years of experience in construction. The Discovery Center puts his expertise to work in a wide range of unconventional projects, from a realistic life-size pizza oven, to welded butterfly chairs, to giant ruby red slippers.
Megan Domnanish, Manager of Business and Visitor Services
Megan started as a Gallery Assistant before being promoted to Manager of Business and Visitor Services. In that role, she manages day-to-day finances and supports membership services. Megan holds a B.A. in Psychology from Benedictine College in addition to a a J.D. and M.B.A from KU. Her diverse interests include board games, power lifting, rugby and Avengers movie marathons.
Karen Estrada, Engagement Coordinator
Karen joined the team in 2021 following over a decade as a nonprofit administrative professional. At the Discovery Center, Karen is the primary team member at the front desk, greeting families from all over the world who visit the museum. Her favorite childhood toy was her Lite Brite, and she loves the oversized version in the museum!
Carina Garcia, Guest Experience Coordinator
Carina joined the team in 2021 with six years of experience as a paraprofessional, working specifically with English Language Learners. Her role at the Discovery Center includes working on the museum floor to create moments of discovery and joy for visitors. Carina has a knack for organization and enjoys rooting on the team at her son's soccer games.
Caitlin Luttjohann, Vice President of Play and Learning
(785) 783-8300, ext 110
Caitlin creates and implements educational programs. She has a degree in industrial engineering and came to KCDC from the Flint Hills Discovery Center, where she was the Education Specialist for Science. She is passionate about teaching kids how to solve problems with science and is a favorite of teachers and students for her ability to make field trips fun and engaging.
Lesley Hayward, Education Coordinator
Lesley Hayward is a born and raised Topekan. A ‘98 Trojan! She received a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies from Emporia State University with an emphasis in Biology and Spanish Language. As a lifelong learner and staunch naturalist, Lesley enjoys volunteering her time as a Shawnee County Extension Master Gardener and as a River Guide for the Friends of the Kaw. Growing up, she made "soups" and "potions" in her dad’s garden. Now, Lesley and her daughter explore their Certified Wildlife Habitat in their own backyard. Lesley is excited to share her love of children and enthusiasm for the natural world!
Josh Rouse, Communications Coordinator
Josh Rouse comes to the museum following a decade working as a copy editor, designer and writer for The Topeka Capital-Journal. At the Discovery Center, Josh serves as the Communications Coordinator, creating the museum's social media and blog posts, writing press releases and working on other projects that involve communicating with the public. His favorite childhood toys were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, and he enjoys fishing, grilling/smoking tasty food and playing the occasional video game.
Special guest educators
Farai Harreld is a post-partum doula, folk herbalist, urban homesteader, writer and caregiver. She was born in Zimbabwe, raised in Botswana, and currently living and loving in Kaw and Osage land in so-called Kansas. Her passions include empowering people to build community and reclaim simple herbal medicine as their birthright.
Farai derives joy and connection to her ancestors through handwork. She is a freelance writer and educator on topics ranging from plants, motherhood, food, race, fashion, gardening and much more. Find her over at @thehillbillyafrican on Instagram or at Faraiharreld.com.
Kathy Damron has been a long-time yoga student and teacher in the Topeka area. She received specialized children's yoga teacher training from Yoki Yoga in Miami, Fla., a program designed to foster optimal health, social and emotional development and learning, utilizing yoga techniques for children, teachers, parents and caregivers. In addition, she is a Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, having successfully completed her 200-hour teacher training from Om Tree Shala in Lawrence, Kan. Most recently, she's begun studying for advanced 500-hour certification with Yoga Medicine, a world-renowned program focused on understanding the body from the western viewpoint and applying the principles of traditional yoga. In addition to bringing yoga to families at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center, Kathy serves children, families and other small groups at various locations in Topeka and Lawrence.
Kansas Ballet is an equal-opportunity, nonprofit organization committed to serving a diverse population. With hundreds of free performances and site-specific Ballet Stars programs promoting academic readiness and soft skills, we help turn big dreams into reality for youth across Topeka. Research shows that classical ballet supports and enhances academic performance in all students. It also has been found to improve balance, posture, self-esteem, memory capacity, the sense of self in space and the skills needed to be more aware of others. Classical ballet brings out and underscores any child’s best qualities and it is our privilege to share the joy of dance with friends of all ages at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center. Meet our teachers at Faculty - Kansas Ballet.