Suzann 3

Suzann Brown – Chairman of the Board

Suzann Brown is a Senior Wealth Management Advisor for The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank, Suzann works with business owners and high net worth individuals who want to be prepared for life’s events such as death, divorce, the failing health of a loved one or who have run a successful business, but has yet to secure a succession plan or exit strategy. Suzann leads a team of talented and experienced specialists to help her clients create an actionable plan that will protect their business and family interests. Her goal is to provide her clients with the peace of mind so they can live their best lives.

Suzann has worked in the financial services industry since 1981. In 2008, Finance and Commerce recognized Suzann as one of the “Top Women in Finance”. In 2015, Suzann was honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul as one of the “Top 50 Women in Business”. She also received the U.S. Bank Reserve Elite Award as the number one Wealth Management Advisor for her outstanding performance, leadership, and dedication to deliver sophisticated solutions and advice to her clients.

Suzann has been involved in community work for the last 28 years. She was co-founder of Everybody Wins Minnesota which just celebrated its 20th year. She was one of the founding members of the River Valley Arts Council in 1993 which is now Art Reach St. Croix. Suzann served as board chair for Art Reach St. Croix and was one of the founding members of Take Me to the River. Her past board service also includes an 11 year commitment to the Stillwater Area School’s Partnership Plan which she served six years as Chair. She is active on the Board of Directors for the Minneapolis Foundation’s Professional Advisors Committee, the St Croix Valley Foundation and their Finance and Investment Committee. She was a member of the Stillwater Noon Rotary and Lake Elmo Rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Suzann is active with the Episcopal Church and is a lay leader at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.


Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj – Capital Campaign Chair

Kristin Tjornehoj holds a Ph.D. in music education and a M.M. from the University of Minneapolis, and a B.M. degree in music education and performance from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Dr. Tjornehoj is a full professor and chair of the department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. At UWRF she has taught courses in wind conducting, music education, instrumental literature, music appreciation, and world music.

She is active as a conductor and clinician/lecturer, which has taken her across the U.S., Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Iceland, and Scotland. She maintains a busy conducting/lecture schedule in both professional and educational settings, and is currently leader of the Symphony Band, St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra, St. Croix Valley Community Band, and the adult choir at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Afton, MN. She has led ensembles on performance tours throughout the United States and abroad. The Symphony Band was the featured ensemble at the Wisconsin School Music Association Conference in October 2015. Recent experiences include World Music and Music Appreciation study tours throughout Europe with a UW-River Falls International Traveling Classroom this February in Edinburgh, London and Paris.

Dedicated to the creation of new compositions, her credits of commissioned works or premiers by prolific composers includes Joel Blahnick, Todd Coleman, Michael Colgrass, Gregory Fritze, Lars Jansson, Daniel Kallman, David Maslanka (May 5, 2016 premier), Johan de Meij (November 17, 2016 premier), Joanne Metcalf, Craig Naylor, David Revill, Michael J. Roy, Jared Spears, Jack Stamp, Michael Torke, Joseph Turrin, Amy Williams (April 6, 2016 premier), Charles Young, and John Zdechlick.

A participating member in several professional scholarly, music and community organizations, she currently serves on boards/committees throughout the greater St. Croix Valley as an arts advocate including St. Croix Valley Foundation, Phipps Center for the Arts, and ArtReach St. Croix.


Dr. Gary Bird

Dr. Gary Bird, Retired Professor Emeritus of Music from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (1968), Master of Music from University of North Texas (1971) and a Doctor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington (1992). He is presently an adjunct Professor of Music at UW-River Falls. In his professional career he has been the conductor of the following Musical Theater productions: West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Fantasticks, The Pirates of Penzance, Working, On the Town, My Fair Lady, Hair, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Kiss Me Kate, A New Brain, Candide, A Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gigi, Lady Be Good, and Jacob’s Ladder.


John Grzybek – Treasurer

John Grzybek, Vermont Law School, J.D. cum laude; B.A. Central Connecticut State College; former Chair of Clean Water Action (501(c)(3)), Minnesota; former Chair, Sierra Club, North Star Chapter, Minnesota (501(c)(4)); former member of the Highland District Council (elected position) Saint Paul, Minnesota; former member of Saint Paul’s Energy Consortium ((501(c)(3)); testified before Congress, Minnesota State Legislature (Senate and House) on a variety of environmental and legal topics; appointed by the Saint Paul City Council as member of the Mississippi River Critical Area Task Force; appointed by Saint Paul School District Board as member of a Citizen Budget Review Committee; appointed by Saint Paul School District Board to chair Special Committee to examine school issues; former University of Minnesota Law School adjunct professor teaching appellate brief writing; Hamline University teaching litigation discovery process and procedures; co-author of law review articles; author of Minnesota’s Anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation) Minnesota Chapter 554.


Franz Hall – Vice Chairman

Franz Hall, is self-employed as an IT consultant, architectural photographer, and architectural consultant. Franz received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota. He served in the United States Air Force as a musician in the Strategic Air Command Band and has continued his music career as a professional trumpet player throughout the area. Franz has been a member of Minnesota Brass, Sheldon Theatre Brass Band, the University of Wisconsin University Band, various theatre production orchestras, and several community bands. He has been involved in theatre for many years as a set designer and actor, and has had considerable experience with set construction and all technical aspects of theatre.


Cassidy Hall – Secretary

Cassidy Hall is a student at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, pursuing degrees in Creative Writing, Music, and Musical Theatre. She works as the director for ACT Theater in the South Saint Paul Tri-District, as a writing tutor for UW-River Falls, and as a professional photographer. Cassidy has been actively involved with theatre for many years, performing with the Phipps Center for the Arts, CB Productions, Stillwater Community Theatre, Woodbury Community Theatre, and various companies in the Twin Cities. She is trained in acting, singing, and dance, including ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and tap. In addition to performing on stage, she has also worked backstage for many productions as stage manager, director’s assistant, deck captain, light/sound board operator, and prop master.

Elissa bwElissa Cottle

Elissa Cottle is a published poet, creative writing teacher at ArtReach St. Croix, freelance journalist, and writing and editing consultant for businesses and nonprofits through her company, Artful Business Writing (
Other professional credits include:
– Curator of Valley Muses literary page for the Stillwater Gazette
– Host of literary readings in Stillwater and Minneapolis
– Researcher for effective education to prevent teen pregnancy
– Award-winning writer nine years for California and for Minnesota newspapers
– Coordinator and writer 11 years for the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program
– Instructor and editor five years for News of Now, an online student newspaper in Minneapolis

She holds a master of fine arts degree in writing from Hamline University, and a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in journalism and political science from the University of Iowa.
Elissa is an elected board member of River Valley Community Co-op in Stillwater. She is captain of her neighborhood block in Stillwater. She is a volunteer for Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul which provides free or low cost contraception so all children are wanted. Past volunteer posts include FamilyMeans – creative writing mentor for teens and newsletter writer; The Family Partnership – youth mentor and writing group leader for women escaping prostitution; Minnesota Literacy Council – editor of literary journal of stories and poetry by immigrants; Global Volunteers –  housing construction; Population Connection – Capitol Hill lobbyist for funds to provide contraception for women in need.
Elissa lives in Stillwater and is the proud mom of award-winning actor, playwright and musician Jesse LaVercombe, based in Toronto, and Lucas, gifted student in the Stillwater Area Public School District.


Tessa bwTessa Boettner

Tessa Boettner is an innovative communications professional with experience in marketing strategy, public and media relations, digital marketing, social media strategy, corporate communications and campaign development. Tessa is a Senior Communications Manager with UnitedHealth Group and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Innovation Management from Concordia University in Saint Paul.

Tessa’s professional strengths include business development, client relations, executive presentations, messaging/positioning and branding, and her work has spanned healthcare, medical device, technology, financial services and non-profit industries. Tessa was awarded the American Graphic Design Award in 2010.

Tessa resides in Stillwater with her three children and has been involved in theater and performing arts her entire life. In her free time, she enjoys singing the National Anthem at local sporting events, including the Timberwolves, Lynx, Saints and Gophers.


Teary bw

Teary O’Hara

Teary O’Hara received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Northern Colorado where he was an Honor Thespian. As an actor and dancer, he has played numerous roles, and worked with many theatre and dance companies, including the Colorado Springs Music Theatre and the San Francisco Children’s Theatre. Teary enjoys all aspects of theatre, but specializes in set design and construction. After settling in Stillwater and falling in love with its charm and people, he became the co-owner of the James Mulvey Inn, Bed and Breakfast for five years. His credits also include having produced the Stillwater Music Festival for ten years.



Carol BW CropCarol Carver

Carol Carver is the Director of Music Worship and the Arts at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota. In that role, her goal is to create relevant, vibrant Lutheran worship. In addition to worship planning, Carol is the director of Trinity Choir, a 50-voice mixed ensemble, and the Sine Nomine Singers, a group of young women vocalists. She is also Acquisitions Editor in Choral Music for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Carol founded and served as Artistic Director of the Valley Chamber Chorale for 41 seasons. Carol is a music performance graduate of Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. While at Augustana, she studied organ in Frankfurt, Germany, with renowned organist Helmut Walcha under a Deutscher Akademischer scholarship. She continued her work in organ and theater at the University of Minnesota. For 20 summers, she studied choral music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.