Monty J. Thornburg PhD, President
Dr. Thornburg assumes the Presidency for a year of challenges to expand the vision and successes of the JMGC. He has lived and worked in Mariposa County since 2002. After earning his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of New Orleans in 2001 he moved back to California to be near elder family members and he took a teaching and administrative position with the Mariposa County Unified School District (MCUSD). He currently teaches at Coulterville High School and has engaged in educational and historical research including publications of his work since stepping down as an administrator with the MCUSD in 2010. In connection with his publishing interests he has become active with the John Muir Geo-tourism Center, the Northern Mariposa History Center, and he has served as an adviser on education matters locally. One of his interests is environmental education.
Dr. Thornburg is married to Susan E. Thornburg, also an educator. Susan was a teacher for many years at the public elementary school in Greeley Hill, CA. Monty and Susan have been active with youth from Greeley Hill and Lake Don Pedro for many years. He will be focused on creating comprehensive educational programs and connect the Center with complementary institutions.
Teri Graf-Pulvino, Vice President:
Teri is a California native who grew up back packing and hiking the natural environment of the Sierra Nevada, or better said by John Muir, The Range of Light, including the John Muir Trail. As a ranch owner and partner in the effort to name the John Muir Highway, she and her husband, Ken, founded and funded the launch of the JMGC. She brings a passion for education of common sense in preserving and supporting the local rural environment and using John Muir’s amazing intellectual example as the template for accomplishing that goal.
Her background includes 27 years in sales and marketing in the computer and software industry. She has served on the board of Bayshore Christian Ministries and participated in international mission trips to help underprivileged communities. In Greeley Hill Teri started an after school tutoring program with Community Connections and also served on the Northside Community Development committee. She holds a BA in Inter-American Studies and International Studies from University of the Pacific and an MBA in Marketing from Santa Clara University. She and her husband are currently expanding Geotourism Journeys to Chiloe Island, Chile.
Karen M. Wilson
Center Curator and Board Scribe: Karen has been a John Muir “groupie” since she was old enough to read. On her many camping trips one of the first things that went along was a dog-eared, well thumbed, treasured 1980 paperback copy of Muir’s “Wilderness Essays”. Born and raised in Southern California, she graduated with a BS degree from Cal Poly Pomona, and went on to a career as a research chemist in immunodiagnostics with Beckman Coulter, Inc. She retired in 2004 and realized she could move anywhere she wanted….so she decided to move where she could go to Yosemite anytime she desired: Hence her residence in Greeley Hill – John Muir’s “second bench”. Two weeks into retirement she joined Mariposa County Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT. She is now an instructor for Mariposa County Fire, Mariposa County Sheriff, the National Forest Service; Stanislaus National Forest, and many other agencies in the surrounding counties. She teaches all aspects of fire response, hazardous materials, continuing education in emergency medicine, CPR and related courses in emergency medicine and response.
She is a certified instructor with the American Heart Association, California State Fire Marshal, California Specialized Training Institute, Mountain Valley EMS Agency, and Tuolumne County EMS Agency and will soon be certified to teach the Leave No Trace Program of wilderness ethics. She is a National Registry EMT, California State EMT, Wilderness EMT, Search and Rescue Technician Level II, Hazardous Materials Specialist, and California Registered Veterinary Technician.
Ray Winter PhD, Director
Ray is a lifelong Central Valley resident that now lives in Fresno and teaches literature at UC Merced. His area of expertise is environmental literature, with John Muir as the centerpiece of much of his research. Ray also teaches a number of courses at Fresno Pacific University such as The Cultural Geography of the Central Valley, Environment and Humanity, and California History and Politics. Ray has a great passion for the outdoors beyond environmental scholarship– an avid hiker and backpacker throughout the Central Sierras, some of his favorite areas are Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Ansel Adams Wilderness, “the foothills,” and anywhere above treeline. You also might see him on the paved roads in these High Sierra regions– he’s the crazy guy on the bike. Ray can’t think of a better place in the world to be an endurance sport addict, or a better place to raise his family. His wife Kelly is the volleyball coach at Fresno Pacific University, and shares his passion for the outdoors. Together they are brainwashing their three young children into becoming the next generation of environmental advocates.
Ray feels very honored to serve the JMGC in the areas of educational outreach, academic partnerships, and developing creative avenues for tourists to learn about, love, and preserve the land and its history.