Board of Directors
Our volunteer board provides leadership, governance, and support to The Alaska Center Education Fund. We are currently developing a multi-year strategic plan to achieve our vision of a thriving and sustainable Alaska for future generations. We need thoughtful individuals to join us in this work. Our board meets monthly in Anchorage with a Skype/teleconference option. In addition, board members participate in committee work. Alternatively, if you are interested in participating in a more focused way, contact us to become part of one of our committees. For more information and to apply (attach cover letter and resume or CV), please download the job description here and send your application to Bernice Nisbett at [email protected]
Griffin Plush, Chair, Juneau*
Griffin first joined the Alaska Center Education Fund in 2015, his senior year of high school. From Seward, he spent his childhood on the trails of Exit Glacier and the waters of Resurrection Bay with family, where he later worked for eight seasons as a naturalist and park ranger in Kenai Fjords National Park. Inspired by activists with the Resurrection Bay Conservation Society, Griffin attended his first AYEA Civics and Conservation Summit at 15, where he found a passion for activism as a tool to build communities and protect their clean air and water. Throughout high school, he organized Seward’s chapter of AYEA and worked with other young people across the state to lead AYEA’s statewide campaigns on local foods, Pebble Mine, and climate change. He was one of the fifteen young plaintiffs demanding the State of Alaska acknowledge and address climate change in Alaska’s climate trust lawsuit, Sagoonick v. Alaska.
Griffin graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2019. His studies focused on the history of Alaska and the social aspects of resource management. During college, he served in the first cohort of the U.S. Arctic Youth Ambassadors where he learned about and advocated for the health of Alaska’s Arctic communities, economies, and cultures. Recently, he worked several sessions in the Alaska Capitol; the same building where he first found his voice as an AYEA teen. He brings his experience as a coastal Alaskan, naturalist, and youth activist to the board.
Griffin is honored to serve as president of The Alaska Center Education Fund’s board while we work towards a thriving, just, and sustainable Alaska for future generations.
Becky Judd, Vice Chair, Anchorage
Becky joined the Alaska Center’s Education Fund board in 2021 to further her commitment to increasing opportunities for Alaska’s youth. Her environmental roots go back to the 1970s as an outdoor program instructor for 6th graders. She believes it is critical to provide outdoor experiences for all children and youth so they can develop an appreciation of nature and public lands. She’s been an active supporter of AYEA since its beginnings because of its youth-led principles and passionate advocacy efforts. Her enthusiasm for the Education Fund stems from its ladder of engagement for school-age to young adults to become the next generation of public land stewards and environmental justice advocates.
While Becky’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees were in education, most of her 40 years in Alaska have been devoted to adolescent health, the prevention/health promotion, and youth development fields. She began as a health educator and started a youth coalition that grew to over 100 chapters statewide. She has been working with youth in schools, outdoor challenge programs, after-school programs, and 20 years with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, as their Adolescent and Resiliency Specialist.
Becky has served on several youth-serving boards, co-founded the Spirit of Youth organization and the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition. She also co-authored the book, Helping Kids Succeed~ Alaskan Style. She provided leadership to the statewide Developmental Assets initiative, with the Association of Alaska School Boards, and launched the Youth Friendly Business Recognition Program and the Youth in Governance statewide initiative with AYEA.
In 2013 Becky started her own business, Strength-Based Strategies to provide training and assistance on best-practice approaches and evaluation in prevention programming and youth development. More recently, she developed an online, self-care course for frontline service providers at risk of burnout.
When Becky isn’t volunteering you will probably find her gardening, hiking, biking or paddling in Prince William Sound.
GAVIN DIXON, Treasurer, Anchorage*
Gavin’s time with the organization has its roots as a member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, where he worked on air quality campaigns and fundraising efforts to support the recovery of the community of Banda Aceh after a devastating Tsunami.
Gavin has worked for over ten years fighting the impacts of climate change and developing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for rural Alaska Native communities. Most recently his time has been spent as a Project Manager overseeing the relocation of the Yup’ik community of Newtok, which must move to a new location due to the accelerating impacts of climate change.
In his free time, you can find him sharing his passions for biking, skiing, paddling and running with friends and loved ones through the unique and irreplaceable wilderness of Alaska.
Dr. Gail Cheney is a member of the Tlingit and the Haida Nations. Her Tlingit name is Aan Shaa Wat Gee, she is Raven, Kaach.adi, her crest is the Fresh Water Marked Sockeye. Gail’s Haida name is Yahl kii wahl daang and is Eagle, Tiits Gitee Nei, and the Hummingbird is her crest. She was born and raised in Kake, Alaska. She holds a PhD in Leadership and Change and a Master of Arts in Business Management from Antioch University. Gail received her Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Studies and Planning/Environmental Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1994.
Dr. Cheney has 20 years of progressive professional experience in multiple industries, including academia, non-profit, environmental, Alaska Native for-profit regional, village, subsidiary businesses, and social enterprise corporations, along with other consulting experience. Currently, Dr. Cheney is the Sr. Director of Organizational Development at Tlingit and Haida Central Council has held this position since 2020. In addition, Gail is a committee member on CBJ’s Systemic Racism Review Committee. She believes that we, collectively, have the power to create a sustainable future for Alaska.
Olivia Garrett, Anchorage
Olivia grew up mostly in southcentral Alaska where she spent most of her time outside with her family or reading. After spending some time living in Ecuador, she moved to Fairbanks to start a teaching degree at UAF. Instead, she got into politics by accident and hasn’t looked back. Olivia worked on political campaigns in the Interior and briefly for the State Legislature in Juneau as a legislative aide. After 7 happy years of living in Fairbanks, she moved to Anchorage to work at a local women’s non profit running financial literacy and advocacy programs. Olivia is passionate about Alaska, Alaska politics, building community, public transit, local libraries, and voting. In her spare time she can be found hiking, knitting, eating fish, and petting dogs. She joined The Alaska Center Education Fund board last December and is very excited to do her small part in helping children and youth develop a love for for the land and understand the importance of civic engagement.
Camilla HUssein, Eagle River
Camilla was born in a little German town in the Bavarian Alps to a German mom and a Syrian college student. When her dad graduated college, her family moved back to Syria, and she grew up on the outskirts of Damascus in her family’s compound within an internally relocated refugee camp of people who had to leave their villages in 1967, of what is now known as the Syrian Golan Heights. After immigrating to the U.S, Camilla has lived in Oregon, New Mexico, and South Florida, where she learned about the rich history of the indigenous population in the United States.
While Camilla was raising her three daughters in the Boca Raton, Florida area, she came to Alaska for a visit and never left; the mountains and evergreens, its clean air, water, and above all, the kindness and diversity of its people made her feel at home and welcomed to finish raising her family here. Camilla earned her degree in Justice and Legal Studies and earned her Master’s in Public Administration with Policy Analysis emphasis at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has worked in nonprofit management and on the executive level at the Municipality of Anchorage. She has also worked in the language access realm and consults local agencies and organizations on translating from and into Arabic, German and English. She currently works as operations manager for a state-wide nonprofit.
Camilla lives in Eagle River with her domestic partner Steve and their two black Labradors, Soraya and Sibylla. She spends her free time volunteering, serving on civic councils and boards, knitting, beading, and cooking.
David Song, Juneau
David is a new member of the Alaska Center Education Fund and joined the board in March 2022. His family hails from Seoul, South Korea, but he was born in Dallas, TX and raised in Baltimore, MD. He moved to Juneau, AK in 2019 to work for the Association of Alaska School Boards through the Alaska Fellows Program.
He is currently a legislative aide for Representative Geran Tarr of Anchorage, where he is focusing on bills addressing education policy, criminal justice reform, and racial equity.
Prior to his current role in the House, David was employed as an Economic Justice Organizer with the Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) and Native Movement, where he helped advocate for consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In another life, he was an educator in the Boston Public School system, where he taught biology and physics at the English High School in Jamaica Plain.
David received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wake Forest University in 2015, and received a Master’s in Public Administration from Brown University in 2019. Outside of work, David enjoys attending local theater at Perseverance Theater in Douglas, cooking, baking, and following local politics across the state.