Board of Directors

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Christopher M. Amidon

Board President

Chris wants to empower kids of all ages to learn in their own way—have adventures, solve mysteries, and follow projects that capture their imagination. Kaleidoscope is an opportunity to encourage these nontraditional learning opportunities through financial backing, resource sharing, and family support. Chris works as a park ranger for Isle Royale National Park.

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Art Pontynen

Board Treasurer

Art Pontynen is Professor Emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. After having vacationed for thirty-five years in the Keweenaw, he and his wife Alison (a retired teacher and IRKPA employee) now live happily in Copper Country. No longer facing professional necessities in life (books are written, our three children raised),  we are now committed to contributing to the community that we have come to cherish. Given our educational backgrounds, it is appropriate to do so within an educational context. It is a pleasure to be part of Kaleidoscope.

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Henrique A. de Melo e Silva (Kiko)

Board Member

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Kiko first arrived in the United States at age 15 in 1987 and the Copper Country in 1990 to attend Michigan Technological University… twice.  Since then, the Copper Country has been home to this research engineer working for the department of civil & environmental engineering at his Alma mater.

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Emma Dorst

Board Member

Emma is new to the Keweenaw, having relocated to Houghton from Washington, DC in the summer of 2020. She serves as the Director of Career Services at Finlandia University and believes wholeheartedly in the value of co-curricular education and programming for students of all ages. Emma has worked in the nonprofit sector for several years, primarily in the fields of refugee resettlement and international policy.

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Christy Wilson

Staff Representative

Christy teaches Art and Tinker Lab at Kaleidoscope L’Anse. She has worked with kids all of her life! When she was 20, she starting working with Youth Programs in the Air Force. She worked in the Youth Programs for over 15 years, working with children ages between 5 and 18. She has 3 children and has been married for over 20 years.

Christy  has wanted to teach and work with kids since she was a kid herself! Christy has been going to college on and off for years and hopes to soon finish her degree. Until then, she’ll stay creative and have fun teaching kids for as long as she’s allowed!

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Tim Reitz

Board Secretary

Tim moved to the Keweenaw in 2017, seeking a more simple, back to the land lifestyle.Tim and his wife Lisa homestead, homeschool their two children and own and operate a small business with a farm stay vacation rental along with selling produce and handmade food at their farmstand. Tim takes pride in caring for and stewarding the land he lives on. He enjoys roles that actively involve him in the community, hiking, kayaking, building projects and eating ice cream.

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Erin Barnett

Board Member

Erin has spent her career in education with 14 years in the classroom and in administrative roles on university campuses before transitioning to a remote role in the K-12 educational technology field. She is passionate about the value of a liberal arts education and the learning that happens outside the traditional classroom. Erin moved to the Keweenaw in 2013 with her husband, Brad, and daughter, Eleanor. Favorite things: dachshunds, lattes, the color purple, and travel.

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Victoria Walters

Board Member

Victoria has a middle school age daughter who is taking elective courses for UPVA through Kaleidoscope. She works remotely for the Merative (used to be IBM Watson Health) and is an Adjunct Instructor at MTU for Cybersecurity. She and her family moved here in December 2019 (the Friday before Christmas) because her spouse was hired by Tech full time. They are still meeting their neighbors due to the pandemic effect. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cybersecurity from MTU where her focus is on Cybersecurity Policy and Law. Outside of that, she has six kids and two very large dogs. Her family is active in the music community and is looking forward to spending more time on the water once they are done refinishing their little sailboat.