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Leadership

Founder

Lynn Elling (1921-2016)
Lynn graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis, attended the University of Minnesota, and went on to Columbia University for Navy Officer Training. He married his college sweetheart, Donna Moen, and then went off to the war in the South Pacific. Lynn and Donna have five children, ten grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. After the war, Lynn joined Lincoln Life and did very well as an agent. With success in business they were able to travel extensively including to Hiroshima Japan in 1954. This was an experience that changed Lynn’s life. He vowed he would devote as much time and resources as he could to promote a peaceful and healthy world for future generations. It is from this commitment that World Citizen, Inc. (WCI) became a reality. Through WCI Lynn introduced the International Peace Sites, co-founded the Nobel Peace Prize Festival at Augsburg College, and supported the new Peace Education program added in 2001. Lynn is also co-author of the Minnesota Declaration of World Citizenship (signed 1971) and co-founder of the Annual World Law Day Dinners/Programs. Lynn Elling knows that the three programs of World Citizen, Inc. effectively reach thousands of students each year in promoting a just and peaceful world. 
Lynn Elling passed away February 14, 2016 at the age of 94. Click here to read a tribute dedicated to his memory.

More about Lynn...


Executive Committee


Marta Goldenman
President
Marta is an Associate Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at St. Michael's Lutheran Church.  Previously she has had extensive experience working with Educational Preschool programs as a lead teacher and in Early Childhood Family Education.  Marta has a BA degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth.  She is very committed to World Citizen activities and comes to our board with a vast number of skills and gifts as well as a passion for creating a Peaceful and Just World.


Martha Roberts
Past President

Martha is a retired educator of 36 years, fourteen of those years as an elementary classroom teacher and 22 years as an elementary school counselor. During these years Martha also taught a variety of adult education classes.  In 1995 her elementary school became an International Peace Site. Yearly events to renew the school's commitment to peace became the focus and standard for behavior (including parents, staff, and students.) Martha became a board member of World Citizen in 1997.  Along with others, Martha worked to create World Citizen's Peace Education Program which provides support to keep focused on the Five Peace Actions which leads to a peaceful community. Martha received the Outstanding World Citizenship Award in 2000 for her commitment to promoting peace and justice.


Catherine Manning
Treasurer & Co-President Elect
Catherine is a graduate of the Minnesota School of Business and the University of Minnesota with a two year Accounting degree and a B.S. in Merchandising. Her most recent position was as accountant for a private school in Saint Paul. In transitioning towards retirement, she became a LifeSAGEr, certified and trained by Celebrations of Life. She enjoys helping people tell their stories through one-on-one counseling and legacy workshops. A life-long learner, Catherine is passionate about successful aging and sharing wisdom with future generations. Her plan is to participate in the World Citizen Peace Education program in order to share that learning with families, faith communities, and local schools. 


Caren Stelson
Co-President Elect
Caren is an Author and Freelance Writer who has developed integrated language arts instructional materials as well as written a large number of articles, stories, and books.  She is the Founder and Lead Workshop Teacher  for Pen in Hand Writing Workshops.  Caren has designed software, has been as Associate Editor for Houghton Mifflin Company.  She was also an Elementary Classroom Teacher and Reading Specialist.  Caren received her BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked with Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and the Hirohsima City University in Hiroshima, Japan.  Caren has served on a number of boards, has been involved in a number of peace activities, and has an extensive publication list.  She truly embraces the meaning of the words, "World Citizen".  Caren looks forward to working for World Citizen's hopes and ideals to "empower communities to educate for a just and peaceful world."


Flora Tsukayama

Secretary

Flora is a loyal member of WCI and has served as our secretary for a number of years. She is a dedicated volunteer parent for the Bloomington School District. Flora has chaired and organized the Annual Diversity Fair and Peace Site Dedications for the Bloomington School District. She is well known in this school district for her many years of dedication in supporting a peaceful school environment for all children. Flora has been the recipient of the Outstanding World Citizenship Award.


Board of Directors


Lowell Erdahl

Lowell is a graduate of a one room country school in Blue Earth, MN. He then went on to graduate from St. Olaf college, attended the Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as a parish pastor in Farmington, MN and at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Minneapolis. Lowell served as a professor at Luther Seminary and as a Bishop for southeast Minnesota and St. Paul. He has authored six books still in print: The Lonely House:Strength for Times of Loss, Joyful Living, 10 Habits for Effective Ministry, Be Good to Each Other (An Open Letter on Marriage (co-authored with his spouse, Carol Erdahl), and Sexual Fulfillment for Single & Married, Straight & Gay, Young & Old (co-authored with Herbert Chilstrom), and Winsome Wisdom. His wife Carol was co-owner of the Red Balloon Bookshop. They have three children and four grandchildren.



Karen Johnson
Karen is a retired teacher from the Centennial School District in Circle Pines, MN.  She lived in NE Minneapolis, graduated from Edison High School and received her degreee in Elementary Education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN.  She received her Masters in Education from Saint Mary's University in 1998.  Karen taught 4th-6th grades for 35 years and has enjoyed retirement for the past 11 years.  She is excited to join the Board od Directors or World Citizen to help promote peace projects, and educate adults and youth in the art of getting along as well as serving one's community and state.


Kevin McGee
Kevin is an educator. As a teacher, he has had the opportunity to work in a variety of roles and geographic locations.  He began his teaching career in Liberia, serving in the Peace Corps.  After teaching in Liberia, he moved to Morocco and taught fourth grade at the Casablanca International School.   He returned home for a few years before moving to Ecuador where he taught Kindergarten in Quito at the American School of Quito.  Most recently he spent a few years teaching in India. He served as the Reading Specialist for the American School of Bombay in Mumbai.  Currently he works for Eden Prairie Schools as an instructional coach and he is an adjunct professor at Hamline University in St. Paul.


Holly Circle-Steffen

Holly has been singing professionally for 30 years, recording two CD’s with her husband and musical partner, Jimmy.  She has performed for countless special events including weddings, corporate gatherings, church services, fundraisers and even a performance at Orchestra Hall. This is her 25th year working as a PT paraprofessional for the Bloomington Schools. Currently, she serves as a Job Coach, working with high school students with special needs, helping them volunteer as they gain job skills and experience working with others in their community.  Holly has been an active member of Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center since 1995, and over the years has worn many hats including:  Music Director, Prayer Chaplain, Teen Sponsor, Sunday School Teacher, Guest Soloist and Guest Speaker. She recently accepted the position of Youth Ed Director.  Holly recently purchased a Peace Pole along with the Peace Curriculum for her son’s elementary school in Savage. She did so to honor the wide diversity of the students, and the dedicated teachers and staff there.

Here are the lyrics to one of her all-time favorite songs: May all children – May all people everywhere live in peace. Peaceful minds, peaceful hearts, peace on Earth! Sweet Peace On Earth!


Staff & Consultants

Kathy Millington
Executive Director

Kathy retired from 36 years in Education as of June 2002. She assumed the position of Executive Director in 2003. Twenty-five years in education were as a classroom teacher and the last eleven years as an Elementary Principal in the Centennial School District in Circle Pines, MN.  Kathy received her BA degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA, her MS degree from the University of Minnesota in Mankato, MN., and her Ed. Specialist degree in Administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Kathy was also trained as a trainer for PeaceWorks Curriculum (Miami, Florida based) and received the Outstanding World Citizenship Award in 2004 for her leadership in Peace Education. Kathy's passion for working with children and promoting peaceful problem solving matched the vision and mission of World Citizen, Inc., which led her to her present position.


Jill Mason
Administrative Assistant

Jill Mason has a passion for kids.  She loves being involved with children and helping them learn and grow. While being a stay at home mom of her three children for 14 years, she also provided daycare to many others. Jill most recently worked as an Education Assistant at Cowern Elementary, an International Peace Site, before joining World Citizen in 2015.


Dan Thiede

Communications Consultant

Dan is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with degrees in English Writing and Geography, and a minor in Environmental Studies. Dan is dedicated to making the world a more peaceful place, especially through working on clean energy issues. Dan spends most of his time managing communications activities for a project called the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), and is excited to be expanding his dedication to a more peaceful planet working with World Citizen on their website and other communications-related endeavors. When not on his computer, you'll find Dan riding his bike, digging in the garden, and playing kickball!


Laura Seidel
Newsletter Editor

Laura graduated from the University of St. Thomas in December 2007. She double majored in print journalism and English, and minored in justice and peace studies. Laura worked on the St. Thomas newspaper, The Aquin, for 3 ½ years and was Editor-in-Chief in 2006. In addition to her position at World Citizen, Laura is a full-time teaching assistant in the autism program at Battle Creek Elementary. Laura currently attends St. Catherine University, where she will receive her master’s in education.


Lonnie Strand

Peace Education Coordinator

Lonnie has a backround in business management.  As Nana to her six grandchildren, she is strongly committed to anti bullying, and her passion is peace and kindness.  She believes that we all have a responsibility to leave this world a better place for future generations than it was when we came into it.  Lonnie loves her role as Peace Education Coordinator and enjoys the relationships of all the facilitators, educators, and parents she has come into contact with through World Citizen and Peace Education!

Mike Klein
Peace Education Consultant

Mike Klein, Ed.D. holds the Clinical Faculty position in Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, USA. His work combines classroom teaching, community-based education, and leadership development. His research interests and published writing include: Freireian pedagogy, effective and ethical leadership for social change, and the intersection of art, ritual and democratic practice. Awarded a Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2007, he completed his doctoral dissertation on ritualizing leadership for democratic decision-making and action. He is a frequent speaker and consultant to educational, nonprofit, and peace-building organizations.

Kevin McGee
Peace Education Facilitator
Kevin recently completed the doctoral program at the University of St. Thomas (ED.d. Critical Pedagogy Program). He also completed the Reading Specialists program at Hamline University. Kevin currently is the Educational Coordinator at Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion School in the Eden Prairie School District, Eden Prairie, MN. He is the Peace Committee Facilitator as well as Facilitator and Coordinator for the school district's S.E.E.D. Program (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity.) He is also serves on the Board of Directors of World Citizen. Kevin has also been a teacher in Ecuador, Morocco, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa


Rhonda Vopava Geyette
Peace Education Facilitator
Rhonda received her BA from Augsburg College and her Masters from St. Mary's University. She is an elementary teacher in Minneapolis at Marcy Open School. Marcy Open School is an International Peace Site. In the classroom, Rhonda focuses on peace activities and literature with her students. Building a strong community and collaboration are important in her classroom
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Katherine Utter
Peace Education Facilitator
Katherine Utter, LICSW, currently serves as one of Intermediate District 287’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coordinators. She has worked with children with challenging behaviors for over 20 years.  Katherine received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Wisconsin Madison and her Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a certified Advanced Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach.


Maddy Wagner
Peace Education Facilitator
Maddy Wegner serves at the Director of Training and Innovation at youthrive, a youth development intermediary in Minneapolis known for inspiring young people to action through the lives and work of Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Previously a middle and high school English teacher, she was NYLC's director of communications for more than a decade, developing resources for service-learning practitioners that bring research to practice. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she received a B.A. in American Studies; the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a secondary teaching credential in English/Language Arts through the Bay Area Writing Project; and Northwestern University, where she received a master's in journalism. She serves on the Board of SWAA Liberia, an organization that fights the spread of AIDS in west Africa, and is active in the Shannon Leadership Institute through the St. Paul-based Wilder Foundation.