Meredith Cook VanDuyne, Director of Advancement, grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York state, and she has been at Breck since December of 2011. She’s enjoying getting to know Breck, where she says, "the mission lives so consistently, the community is so genuinely warm and welcoming, and every teacher, administrator and staffer thinks he or she has the best job at the school." When not exploring the Twin Cities with her husband and Breck kindergarten daughter, Meredith likes golf, Syracuse University basketball and taking every advantage of the metro area.
Jill Field, Director of Communications, grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana, but came to Breck from New York City. She became a Breck parent in 1988 and a Breck employee in 1998 and loves having a job in which no two days are alike. Her favorite Breck tradition is Homecoming, because it involves the whole school. Away from Breck, Jill likes reading, traveling and the Saturday New York Times crossword. She's a longtime fan of the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Vikings, and Indiana Hoosiers and Princeton Tigers basketball.
Gay Gonnerman, Director of Annual Giving, grew up in Northfield, Minnesota (famous for "Cows, Colleges and Contentment"), and has been at Breck since 2004. She likes the fact that there are several days a year when attending chapel and singing are a part of her job, and she has enjoyed getting to know so many members of the community who have been such great volunteers. Gay especially enjoys graduation and, when not at Breck, spending time with her husband and teenage son, especially on the North Shore. She's a die-hard Twins fan.
Barbara Hedensten, Administrative Assistant,came to Breck in 1998. She grew up in Minneapolis, enjoying summers on Lake Nokomis and winters along Minnehaha Creek. She loves working with parent volunteers on Grandparents Day and our fundraising event, and her favorite Breck tradition is Halloween. Outside of Breck, she likes spending time with her granddaughter, dinners and Rummikub with friends and neighbors, reading, and trying to help her "gardens" recover from her previous neglect. Sadly, Barbara says, she's a Vikings fan.
Carol McFarland, Research Analyst, grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and has worked at Breck since 2001. Working with faculty and staff is the best part of her job. As for a favorite Breck tradition, she says it's a tie between Homecoming and closing exercises. In her time away from school, Carol is a devoted fan of Martha Stewart, reading and watching her publications and programs. When it comes to being a sports fan, Carol has a unique perspective. She tends to cheer for the team whose school colors are coordinated and have the best-looking uniforms. ("Don't knock it," she warns. "That's how I choose my March Madness teams, and I've won several times!")
Michelle Geo Olmstead, Campaign Director, began in 2006 as Alumni Relations Director. She was born on the east coast, raised on the west and considers San Diego her hometown. Michelle says the best part of her job is "working with our amazing volunteers," and her favorite Breck traditions are Homecoming and watching the Alumni Class Representatives ring the Wilder Bell to begin Commencement. When not at Breck, she enjoys travel, Pilates, playing tennis and walking her dog around the lakes, and she's a fan of the Twins, Chargers and professional tennis.
Karyl Rice, Communications Assistant, has worked at Breck in 1993 in a variety of roles, settling into the Communications office in 2002. She grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota. Her favorite part of her job is photography, and her favorite Breck tradition is Homecoming coronation. Away from Breck, Karyl plays the oboe and performs in two local groups, and she also likes gardening, sewing and getting outdoors -- especially when she gets the chance to travel to the ocean. She's blue-and-gold through and through, but has been known to cheer for the Twins.
Erin Strong, Alumni Relations Coordinator, came to Breck in 2009. She grew up in South Minneapolis but moved to Edina for high school. Erin says working with so many wonderful Breck alumni is her favorite part of the job, and her favorite Breck traditions are homecoming, the homecoming barbecue and senior buddies. When she's not at work, Erin likes checking out new restaurants in the Twin Cities, practicing yoga or walking the lakes. And besides the Mustangs, she cheers for the Gophers and the Twins.
Vicki Williams, Gift Accountant, began her career at Breck in 1981. She grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and enjoys working with so many interesting people, both staff and volunteers. Vicki says her favorite Breck tradition is All-School Chapels with student musical performances, and, away from Breck, she likes reading, attending opera and theater performances, traveling, yoga, and exploring the Arboretum and state parks in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And, as anyone who knows her already knows, she's a big fan of the Green Bay Packers.
Dina Wolkoff '84, Director of Development, grew up in St. Paul. As an alumna, she has a long history with the school, but she began working here in 2012. She says being inside the school, surrounded by students and faculty, is the inspiration for her work. All-School Chapel is her favorite Breck tradition. When she's away from work she enjoys playing with her daughter Dalia. Dina cheers for the Breck Mustangs, the Middlebury Panthers, Synergy FC and the Minnesota Lynx.