Meet Our Team
Meet our dedicated staff and board of directors, who work tirelessly to ensure that our project leaders and students are equipped with the knowledge and tools to preserve our planet.
Amy Higgs, she/her, Executive Director
As a kid, Amy developed a love for nature from her woodsy dad on a lake in Maine. From her mom, a teacher, Amy saw how educators can shape lives. In college, Amy put these passions together co-teaching environmental education in elementary schools with her now-husband. At the University of Michigan, Amy got Masters Degrees in Education Leadership and in Natural Resource Management. She lived in Latin America for a while, then managed an international network of environmental educators at Conservation International. Later, Amy co-founded the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network and became Vice-President of LCA Community Engagement. Ten years ago, she became an Eco-School Network parent volunteer, where she was motivated to make change by an inspiring community. Now she gets to care for that community each day. Amy plans and oversees programs, raises funds, and builds relationships for the Network. After work, she is a sometimes-successful handy-person, a scrappy crafter, mediocre pianist, and with her husband and teen kids, a weekend chaser of water, snowflakes, and sunsets.
Sasha Rose, she/her, Program Coordinator
Sasha grew up in South San Francisco, steeped in the diversity of her large extended family in the Bay Area. In 2013, Sasha moved to Portland and found a community volunteering. She co-led a green team at her children’s school for 6 years, shifting the school culture towards sustainability with programs like bike and walk challenges, reusable party packs, Bottle Drop recycling, cafeteria waste reduction and many other ESN projects. Curious and creative, Sasha is a versatile leader with a diverse background in both technical and interpersonal roles. She started her career in clinical research at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine after earning a BS in biochemistry with focus on medicinal chemistry. In college, Sasha trained in grassroots organizing with Students for Arizona PIRG. As her career in healthcare shifted from research to biotech to software development, Sasha always championed sustainability and making change in every aspect of life. She believes every child deserves a clean, healthy world and loves empowering them to lead the fight against climate change. With a sunny and energetic spirit, Sasha’s enthusiasm for the Network is infectious.
Celeste Lewis, she/her, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Celeste grew up in an Air force family, living in six states and two foreign countries. In high school, she had the good fortune to work with the Youth Conservation Corps in the Oakanogan National Forest, creating hiking trails and reconstructing a “log-cabin” county courthouse. This experience, along with family camping trips, would leave an indelible love of the out-of-doors. After receiving her Bachelor of Architecture from Washington State University, she settled in Portland and started her own architecture firm, which she led for 20 years. With the birth of her daughter, she reconnected with her passion for living closer to nature. She completed the Center for Earth Leadership’s Agent of Change training, and joined the Eco-School Network, leading the Green Team at her daughter’s school. As a Master Recycler and a LEED accredited professional, Celeste continues to advocate for sustainable solutions everywhere.
Jennifer Anderson, she/her, Community Coordinator
Jen Anderson grew up in Hawaii, holds a BA in English from Whitman College and a MA in Public Affairs Reporting from University of Illinois-Springfield. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years, a former journalist and now content manager for Travel Oregon. Jen got her start with Eco-School Network when her sons were at Oak Hills Elementary in Beaverton and she started the school green team. She led efforts like field trips to local farms, switching to durable silverware, creating no-idling zones, installing water bottle filling stations and more. She gained valuable resources and connections through the Network, serving on the steering committee of the Beaverton Eco-School Network. Jen is now a mentor and community coordinator, planning events that keep our network going strong, from beach cleanups to fundraisers and retreats. She is also part of the ESN band, the Disruptors, who formed out of a shared passion for ’70s music and eco activism. In her free time Jen loves to craft, hike, paddle, backpack, cook, camp, play ukulele and cycle – all with other ESN leaders of course. She’s currently training for a bucket-list item: riding the weeklong Cycle Oregon ride in September.
Jeanne Roy, Co-founder
Jeanne is a life-long Oregonian who became passionate about the environment in 1970 after seeing a photo of Earth from space. She worked several years on air quality issues and then on waste reduction, founding Recycling Advocates and writing a reduce, reuse, recycle column. In the 1990s, she and her husband Dick founded the Northwest Earth Institute, which offered discussion courses to motivate citizens to be leaders in forging a sustainable future, and The Oregon Natural Step Network, which had a similar mission for businesses. In the 2000s, they founded the Center for Earth Leadership, which developed the Agent of Change training and spawned the Eco-School Network. Understanding the importance of children spending time in nature, Jeanne worked with co-board members Celeste Lewis and Briggy Thomas to keep making Outdoor School available to all Portland sixth-graders. Her favorite activity of all time is backpacking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Alan Scott, he/him, Board Chair
Alan is a registered architect and sustainability enthusiast with over 33 years of professional experience. After spending the early part of his career in traditional design practice, for the past 20 years he has served as a sustainability and building performance consultant for built environment projects throughout the Americas. As a teacher and facilitator, he has presented at workshops and conferences on three continents and served on the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Faculty. Alan is currently Director of Sustainability with the Intertek Building Science Solutions team: he explores the intersections of sustainability, wellness, and resilience in the design and operation of buildings and communities. In addition to the Eco-School Network, Alan also serves on the board of the Design Museum Portland and previously was on the board of Solar Oregon. He volunteered on Winterhaven School’s Parent Teacher and Student Association board for 12 years. And although it never seems to happen often enough, he enjoys hiking and biking with his two daughters.
Dharshini Pillai, she/her, Board Treasurer
Dharshini spent her childhood in Africa where she feasted on the outdoors and the books of the naturalist, Gerald Durrell. This early love of all things nature-related led to a resolve to protect the environment in all its forms. Her family has invested in a solar roof, drive electric cars, and strive to live a plastic-free lifestyle. While a parent at Forest Park elementary, she helped set up the school’s first lunch recycling and composting program and when her son moved on to the French American School, she co-led the school’s Green Team and became involved with the Eco-School Network, where she currently serves as Board Treasurer. Her education in finance and previous career in corporate banking make this position a natural fit. Her interests include gardening, hiking, and traveling the world with her family.
Briggy Thomas, she/her
Briggy grew up in rural Wisconsin in a log house surrounded by corn fields, lakes, prairies, and forests. A biology degree from Lewis and Clark led her to fascinating jobs including inventorying cloud forest birds in Ecuador and teaching science at Outdoor School. Her next job at the Portland Water Bureau, leading tours and doing field work in the Bull Run Watershed, turned into a multiple-decade career, sharing Portland’s amazing drinking water story with school kids and adults. When Outdoor School was cut from Portland schools’ budget, she and Jeanne Roy spent hours of quality time together fundraising for the program. She is proud to serve on the Network board and support school communities in changing the world, one school at a time. What she loves: birds, swimming in lakes, old things, road trips, and spending time with friends and family, especially her home full of boys—her husband and two sons.
Jeremy Thomas, he/him
Jeremy grew up outside of Tacoma, Washington, in a biracial/bicultural (Black and German) family. He spent his childhood fishing, camping, hiking, and biking around Puget Sound and the surrounding forests and mountains. He is currently a 4th grade teacher at Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland. His biggest goal as an educator is to show children connections to their environment and to provide them with the skills to create healthy and happy communities. He is a big believer in the power of community, collaboration, and education. He lives in Northeast Portland with his wife, two teenage daughters, and a special needs cat. When not teaching, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, paddle boarding, and listening to eclectic music.
Ann McQuesten, she/her, Board Secretary
Ann hails from the Pacific Northwest, and our region’s natural resources and schools have each played instrumental roles in her life. Although she has always loved being in nature and learning, Ann looks back at the opportunity to attend outdoor school in sixth grade as an experience that cemented her understanding of how schools can contribute to a lifelong appreciation for the environment. Now a corporate attorney with Perkins Coie, Ann was serving on the executive committee of the Oregon State Bar’s Sustainable Future Section when she first learned about the Eco-School Network. In serving on the Eco-School Network Board of Directors, Ann helps create opportunities similar to the one she had – for younger generations to learn about sustainability and the environment. In her spare time, Ann can be found exploring the region’s trails, whether in the rain, snow, or sunshine like a true Oregonian!
Sarah Brody Webb, she/her
Sarah grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and moved west to attend Stanford University. She worked in the tech industry in Silicon Valley for more than a decade before stepping out of the corporate world to focus on raising three children (now 22, 20, and 17.) During that time her family relocated to Portland (more trees, less traffic) and she has had a love affair with the PNW ever since. She soon took the “Agent of Change” class and got involved with the Center for Earth Leadership, starting a green team at Bridlemile and then co-teaching Eco-School Network classes and mentoring parent leaders. Sarah is a violinist with the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra, where she has also served on the board, and has recently started acting and modeling. She is an avid hiker and is learning to ride horses (English) alongside her daughter who is a show jumper.
Mary Lynn O’Brien, she/her
Mary Lynn grew up on the East Coast, calling Boston home but moved to Portland in 1974. She was a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente for over 20 years, and considered it an honor to be a part of so many children’s and families’ lives. When she semi-retired in the early 2000s she became the first Chair of Stand for Children and worked important issues like school nutrition. This passion to enhance children’s health by improving nutrition that led her to the Eco-School Network. She has 13 grandchildren (including step grandkids), who keep her active! Mary Lynn’s activities with them include hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, and cheering them on from the sidelines at their sporting events.
Karina Hershberg Mershon, she/her
Karina moved to Oregon as a baby when her parents decided to head west towards the trees, mountains and coast of the Northwest. She’s couldn’t imagine calling any other place home. Karina is an electrical engineer at PAE whose work focuses on advancing sustainable design practices in the building industry. She took the Agent of Change class and has been involved with the Center for Earth Leadership and now the Eco-School Network ever since. As a parent of three young children, Karina enjoys helping them discover and appreciate the beauty, power and wisdom of the natural world. During the occasional moments when she isn’t designing innovative Living Buildings or wiping schmutz off little faces, she loves to read books about permaculture, women environmental leaders and hopeful visions of the future.