Meet the Schoolyard Roots Staff

We are fortunate at Schoolyard Roots to have a dedicated, committed, and passionate group of individuals who thrive on their work. Their passion for garden-based education makes our great state healthier and more sustainable, one child at a time.


Stephanie Reinhart


Stephanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from Ohio University and her Master’s in Health Promotion from The University of Alabama. Prior to joining the Schoolyard Roots team, she designed and managed a variety of recreation programs at the collegiate and community non-profit levels. Combining her interests in outdoor pursuits and healthy lifestyles, she is thrilled to be part of an organization that introduces children to the art and science of gardening. Stephanie and her husband Keegan met as whitewater raft guides on the Ocoee River and cherish every opportunity to explore Alabama’s natural resources with their son and daughter, Everett and Charlotte.   

Nicole Gelb Dugat

Nicole comes to Schoolyard Roots with over a decade of experience working in Food Education across the U.S. She has taught at nonprofit and Permaculture farms, and most recently at a world-class school garden program in New Orleans. She holds a degree in Experiential Education, and when she’s not working you can find her painting plants or planting flower seeds and tending honey bees in her backyard.




Kelly Allen


Kelly studied English and Spanish at the University of Alabama, and has experience in non-profit administration, grant writing, and academic editing, as well as ESL Instruction to Spanish-speaking students. In her free time she enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, reading, writing [unfinished] novels, and spending time with her dog, Pippin.


Schoolyard Roots Education Team


Becca Gardner

Becca, an Alabama-native, has a degree in Zoology from LSU and is a former high school math teacher. She enjoys hiking, exploring, traveling, and making a variety of teas with fresh ingredients from the garden.




Tom Rathe

After spending the last two years as a fellow working with several of our partner schools, Tom is excited to join the SYR team as an Education Coordinator. An avid gardener, outdoor enthusiast, and advocate of hands-on education, he loves to share his enthusiasm with the children of Tuscaloosa. When he’s not in the garden, Tom can be found mountain biking, fishing, playing music, or spending some quality time with his dog, Dolly.




Natalie Wulf

Natalie joined Schoolyard Roots as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2016 after graduating from The University of Alabama with a degree in civil engineering. In her new role as an education coordinator, she’s excited to continue sharing the wealth of knowledge and inspiration that can be experienced in gardens with students across Tuscaloosa. In addition to tending to gardens, Natalie enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with friends and family, and exploring Tuscaloosa (by foot and car).



Schoolyard Roots AmeriCorps VISTA Team


Casey Vinson

Casey’s education has focused on geography and GIS. He hopes to use what he has learned to further his career in sustainability. He believes gardens can serve as a resource for learning how to feed yourself or local communities. He likes to spend as much time as possible on slacklines, in caves, or on walks with his dog. 


Laura Binford

Laura earned a degree in Political Science from The University of Montevallo in 2017. She has a background in studying history in the American South and Civil Rights. after working in politics, Laura joined the SYR team as Marketing and PR Fellow with AmeriCorps Vista. As an Alabama native, she is passionate about investing in the South, making it a better place for everyone. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cross-stitching, listening to podcasts, practicing the mandolin, and caring for her collection of over 60 houseplants!


Stephanie Marker

Stephanie grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she spent her childhood raising food with her family, hiking through the woods, and catching frogs, toads, and turtles in her backyard. She loves living in Tuscaloosa with her partner and their two dogs, and spends most of her evenings writing, watching Star Trek, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dogs. She’s excited work alongside a great group of people, all passionate about such an important cause.


Taylor Walters

Taylor is a recent college graduate of South Dakota State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science. While SDSU, she worked at the Brookings Boys & Girls Club and a local organic, urban in her hometown of Kansas City. In her free time, she enjoys finding new trails to run, trying new recipes, and walking her dog, Hans. After graduation, she achieved her long-time goal of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, she hopes to gain experience teaching youth about the benefits and fun of gardening as well as learning about the operations of a non-profit.



Arima Seale

Arima is a life-long Tuscaloosan with a passion for writing, glasswork, and data analysis. She’s a self-proclaimed solarpunk, and believes that the future has rolled-up sleeves and dirt under its nails. Despite being colorblind, her favorite color is mint green.




















Each semester, Schoolyard Roots receives several part-time students through the Federal Work Study program, administered by The University of Alabama. 


Noel Amason 

Lindsey Deal 

Dr. Wes Hollowell 

Susan Tucker 

Karen Bownes 

Lindsey Dill  

Ben LaPish 

 Rebecca Young 

Catherine Bridgers  

Fleta Edwards 

Jennifer Schmitt 


Michael Corbell 

Evans Fitts 

Dr. DeWayne Tooson