Meet the Team
Building a team of exceptional people is key to our success and we take pride in the enthusiasm, motivation and focus of our staff, our vision and our values. Our team delivers first class exhibits, events and experiences with a personal approach.
James began serving as the Executive Director in early 2018. He has made a career out of leading nonprofit organizations. He has worked at other county historical societies across southern Minnesota. James graduated from the University of Minnesota with a double major of American History and American Indian Studies and later received a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Administration from Regis University, Denver, CO.
James also volunteers with numerous historic sites across the Midwest and Southeastern States to plan and implement events related to the War of 1812 and early American history. He has a passion for non-profit management.
Rachel graduated from the University of South Dakota in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. She has worked with nonprofits in Haiti for the last three years as a marketing and communications coordinator and freelance photographer/marketing and strategic communications consultant.
Archives & Technology Manager
Dan graduated from Iowa State University in 2004 with a Double Degree in Philosophy and History. Dan interned at the Owatonna Arts Center with Silvan Durben. He established their collection management systems and worked on exhibit fabrication and installation. In 2007, Dan was contracted by both the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum as an Administrative Assistant and the Steele County Historical Society as a casual contract archivist. In 2012 he left the orphanage museum to accept full time employment at the SCHS.
Archives Assistant & Customer Service
Robyn joined SCHS staff as Archives Assistant in January of 2016 with seven years of museum experience. Her focus is on collection storage and artifact preservation, particularly photographs and documents. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Music History from Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, MN. Robyn looks forward to working with the residents of Steele County in preserving and sharing history today for tomorrow.
Board of Directors
Ryan Gillespie, President
Jerry Ganfield, Treasurer
Janet Mealey, Secretary
Mike Jensen, Member At Large
Paul Swenson, Member At Large
M. Vicki Olivo
County Commissioner Liaison
Volunteer & Tours Manager
MaryAnne has spent her career working in the recreation field where she gained experience working with children and adults. She attended Winona State University and has a B.A. in Recreation and Leisure Studies. MaryAnne has been an active member in the Owatonna community volunteering in numerous organizations, mentoring YSL students and was on the planning committee to help with the development of Owatonna High School Options program. Through these various experiences, she has honed her skills working with others and leading by example. She was nominated for the Owatonna Business Women 2015 Woman of Achievement Award.