Meet our Amazing GPSEN Team!

 

We are committed to creating a progressive, egalitarian governance model that reflects our values, supports collaboration among our partners, identifies committee structures and pathways that facilitate engagement and implementation of our strategic goals, distributes authority and decision-making across the network, and honors the efforts of our Executive Director, Board Members, staff, and volunteers.

 

Jonathan Ostar

Jonathan Ostar

Executive Director

Jonathan is an attorney and environmental justice advocate with over a decade of non-profit management experience. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar and used to practice plaintiff’s employment and Civil Rights law. Jonathan co-founded OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, where he served as the founding board chair and then as executive director, and he taught courses on environmental justice and sustainability as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School and other local institutions. Jon has experience in public administration, operations, and consulting, and is passionate about cooperative economies and sustainability education centered in equity. 

 
Owen Rudloff

Owen Rudloff

Board President

Owen Rudloff has extensive research experience in climatology, geology, environmental remediation and environmental justice. He has worked extensively on Portland Harbor Superfund remediation projects, stormwater and groundwater monitoring.

Serena Dressel

Serena Dressel

Vice President

Serena Dressel is the Portland State University (PSU) Student Sustainability Center’s Interim Coordinator and former Board President of GPSEN. Serena is pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in Global Leadership and Management, as well as a certificate in Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education at PSU. Serena support’s GPSEN’s College Network. 

Justin Barrieault

Justin Barrieault

Treasurer

Justin is a graduate student at Portland State University, studying Public Administration, specializing in Natural Resource Policy and Administration and pursuing a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems. Currently, Justin works as the SNAP Education and Training Case Manager at PSU, assisting SNAP eligible students obtain employment. Justin is passionate about climate justice, particularly its relationship to housing equity and racial equality. 

Giang Nguyen

Giang Nguyen

Secretary

Giang is an international student from Vietnam. She is pursuing a Master Degree in Economics at Portland State University. Giang is inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals suggested and plans to develop her professional career for the achievement of these goals in developing countries. 

Tahira Abbas

Tahira Abbas

Board Member

Tahira grew up in Quebec and has a Master of International Relations with a focus on ESD. Her work focuses on strengthening and amplifying multi-stakeholder transformative processes towards the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda; including processes to mainstream values-based ESD in K-12 learning systems. She helps support GPSEN’s Research & Curriculum Committee.

Monica Fleisher

Monica Fleisher

Board Member

Monica landed in the Northwest after accepting an AmeriCorps position in sustainability. She is passionate about sustainability education because of its interconnectedness; weaving together the social, ecological, and economic aspects of our everyday lives. Monica’s career path was sparked by a high school field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters, the world’s first LEED Platinum building, and she has held roles with Clark County, Multnomah County, Port of Portland, and now with Portland Public Schools.  She helps support GPSEN’s Youth Network.

Cameo Konfrst

Cameo Konfrst

Board Member

Cameo is the Director of Development and Communications for the Community Energy Project.  Marketing, operations and fundraising background with extensive experience in product development, brand awareness and marketing/sales management.  She helps support GPSEN’s Outreach & Communications Committee.

Michelle Larkins

Michelle Larkins

Board Member

Michelle is the Director for a Sustainable Society at Pacific University. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersection of society and the environment, particularly food and environmental justice. She works with faculty to bring a sustainability lens to a diverse array of courses at Pacific, with students and staff to dream big on sustainability and social justice, and engages with community members and partners for collective impact.  She helps support GPSEN’s Programs & Events Committee.

 

Jade Menchaca

Jade Menchaca

Board Member

Jade is the Recycling Program Coordinator at Portland Community College.  She created food security initiatives at the University of Oregon, coordinated events revolving around sustainability, studied sustainable development in Ecuador, and taught children about environmental education.  She helps support GPSEN’s Programs & Events Committee.

Kim Smith

Kim Smith

Co-Founder/Liaison

Kim received her Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University, specializing in environmental sociology and social movements. She has taught sociology at Portland Community College (PCC) since 1996 and is Co-Founder of GPSEN. She represented the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) at the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit and the UNESCO World Summit on ESD.  She is committed to working with non-profits in our communities to increase our collective impact and serves as a community liaison for GPSEN.

 
Dave Weaver

Dave Weaver

Webmaster, Webaissance

Dave is committed to building communities, within neighborhood associations and networks, and online, through his Webaissance Web and Database Development Services.

Addie Robison

Addie Robison

Communications Intern

Addie is currently a student at Portland Community College interested in doing anything she can to help create a more sustainable and simultaneously equitable future to live in. She has submitted many contributions to our GPSEN Regional Hub and social media efforts as our Communications Intern.

Senior Advisors

Frank Granshaw, PSU Geology Professor

Lin Harmon-Walker, Georgetown Law School

Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair

LeRoy Patton, PSU, Elders in Action

Roger Petry, RCE Saskatchewan, RCE Americas Advisor

Debra Rowe, President, US Partnership for ESD

Heather SpaldingCWU College of Education and Professional Studie

Judy Walton, Co-Founder of AASHE

Active Committees

Governance
Policy and Planning, Diversity and Equity, Grant Development, and Assessment

Outreach + Communications
Community Outreach, Partnerships, Advocacy, Social Media, Newsletter, and Website

Programs + Events
Symposium, Events, Workshops, Youth and College Networks, Civic Engagement, International Committee, and Networking Socials

Research + Curriculum
Research Projects, Think Tank, GPSEN Fellows Program, Curriculum Development, and Community Database

Years in Operation

SDGs

Global RCEs

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does GPSEN define sustainability?
We define sustainability to include social, economic, and environmental dimensions that promote healthy, just, and thriving communities where education for sustainable development (ESD) is prioritized and integrated across sectors and where everyone has opportunities to shape a more sustainable future.
What is Sustainable Development?
One of the most widely cited definitions of sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition was first provided by the World Commission on Environment and Development in its 1987 report to the United Nations General Assembly. The report was called “Our Common Future [pdf]” and is also known as the Brundtland Report.
What are Regional Centers of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development?
An RCE is a network of organizations within a region that facilitate and deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) to local communities. The education may be formal (e.g., classroom), nonformal (e.g., educational arms of organizations), or informal (e.g., the media). The RCE program is a global initiative of United Nations University, designed originally to support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). As of August 2018, there were 165 RCEs worldwide.

Each RCE has four core elements:

  • Governance: addressing issues of RCE management and leadership
  • Collaboration: addressing the engagement of actors from all levels of formal, non-formal and informal education
  • Research and development: addressing the role of research and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for collaborative activities, including those with other
  • Transformative education: contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to satisfy ambitions of the region regarding sustainable living and livelihood.

Receive the latest opportunities and resources in sustainability education.

Our bi-monthly newsletter contains the latest updates to the Regional Hub and GPSEN programs.