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


(1st from left)

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.    205.523.5450

Nicole Gelb Dugat

(3rd from left)

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.





Schoolyard Roots Education Team


Becca Gardner

(1st from right)

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

(4th from left)

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

(5th from right)

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

(2nd from right)


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. 


Candace von Hoffman

(4th from right)

Though her roots are solidly in Alabama, Candace has used her experience in childcare, creative problem solving and art therapy to serve in several communities across the country. Candace has completed her Bachelors in Fine Arts at The University of Alabama as of December 2018 where she specialized in painting and photography. She is thrilled to use her creative abilities to cultivate a larger community presence for Schoolyard Roots. She enjoys culinary adventures, outdoor sports, traveling, discovering new art and time with family.



Stephanie Marker


(3rd from right)

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, or skating with the Druid City Dames. She’s excited to join the staff at SYR and work alongside a great group of people, all passionate about such an important cause.

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 Molly Ingram  Rebecca Young      
Karen Bownes Adelaide Drennen Emily Wolfe Leigh  
Catherine Bridgers  Fleta Edwards Jennifer Schmitt  
Anna Burns Dr. Wes Hollowell W. Ryan Stallings