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Powell Gardens employs a diverse staff to maintain, grow, promote and evolve the Gardens and the organizational vision and mission.

Tabitha Schmidt

Tabitha Schmidt joined Powell Gardens in the summer of 2016 as CEO and President. She has important goals for her work at the Gardens, including growing the organization in meaningful ways that invest in a long-term, sustainable future. She has extensive background in non-profits and educational institutions, having held such positions as the Director of Cultural Arts at the Jewish Community Center, Executive Director of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Director of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, Associate Educator of Adult Learning/Manager of Tour Programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Director of Instruction/Arts Partners Coordinator at Kansas City Young Audiences and Student Activities Coordinator/Adjunct Art and Art History Faculty at Maple Woods Community College. Tabitha earned a B.A. in Art from Baker University and an M.A. in Art History from UMKC.

Emily J. Matteson

Emily Matteson joined Powell Gardens as COO after over 9 years at a fundraising firm in Lawrence, KS. A KU graduate, Emily calls Lawrence home with her two, 10-year-old boys, Memphis & Felix and partner of eight years, JT Mueller. P.Nut, the family’s ornery chihuahua, has been a member of the family since 2014. Raised in a small, farming community in south-central Kansas, Emily feels working for the Gardens helps get her back to her roots.

Kunso Kim
Vice President of Gardens


David Breedlove, Gardener, Visitor Education Center

Donna Covell, Horticulturist, Production & Greenhouse

Haley Drake, Gardener, Heartland Harvest Garden

Travis Freeman, Senior Gardener, Woodland & Stream/Chapel Garden

 Ambur Gossen, Senior Gardener, Island Garden

Janet Heter, Department Coordinator, Horticulture


Duane Hoover, Horticulturist, Kauffman Memorial Garden

Bryan Kottke, Supervisor, Core Gardens

Eric Perrette, Horticulturalist, Plant Collections

Gabe Perry, Horticulturist, Grounds & Natural Resources

Brent Tucker, Horticulturist, Seasonal Events & Visitor Center Display Beds

Matt Hockaday, Gardener


Mark DeBrot, Electrician

Dave Wilson, Maintenance Assistant

Troy Young, Supervisor, Maintenance

Tyler Young, Maintenance Assistant

Education, Interpretation & Outreach

Kristy Peterson
Director of Education, Interpretation & Outreach

Bobi Hallak, Volunteer Coordinator

Mark Sharp, Coordinator, K-12 and Family Programs

Emalie Wance, Coordinator, Education Department


Molly Kenney
Director of Development

Hali Mieser, Coordinator, Development Events

Sarah Raffurty, Coordinator, Development Services

Visitor Services

Kalie Hudson
Director, Visitor Experience & Marketing

Angie Guynes, Visitor Experience Manager

Dale Dolash, Custodial Supervisor

Hannah Kloster, Assistant Manager, Special Events

Erin Parish, Assistant, Special Events

Dina Brummit, Custodian