Dr. Kendall is a registered architect and holds a PhD in Design Theory and Methods from MIT. His career in architectural practice, research and education spans more than 35 years. Before his retirement in 2014, he taught in the US, Japan, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Africa and Italy. His teaching, research and writing focus on the Open Building approach, needed to make buildings more adaptable, easier to customize to meet changing preferences and thus more sustainable. He has authored more than 50 published papers and research reports and three books. He is Co-Founder and Vice President of the Council on Open Building, a professional non-profit advocating that buildings be prepared for change.
Susan Matyas–Executive Vice President
Susan is the Senior Director of Development & Communications for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the board president of Allens Lane Art Center, and the board secretary of UBA Foundation. For over a decade, Susan has also been an adjunct professor in the Arts Administration and Museum Leadership Graduate Program at Drexel University. Susan lives in W. Mt. Airy with her husband, Peter Samuel, and can often be seen in her garden or hiking in the Wissahickon.
Kristin Haskins-Simms-VP Community Affairs
Kristin was born and raised in West Mt. Airy. She graduated from Germantown Friends School and attended University of Penn. Upon graduation in 1993, she lived in NYC before earning an MFA from RISD in 2000. Kristin accepted a position as visiting professor at UCONN while also starting her own graphic design studio in Philadelphia. After a year at UCONN, she moved back to Philadelphia and accepted various adjunct positions at UPENN, Philadelphia University, Rutgers and Rowan. She also continued to grow her graphic design studio.
Kristin started a t-shirt line called “Strangefruit” which was intended to use fashion to educate about Black History. She taught herself how to sew using her grandmother’s old sewing machine. Eventually she made a whole fall line and debuted at a Philadelphia fashion week which elevated her to a “one to watch fashion icon” status. She was cast to Season 8 of Project Runway. Even though Kristin was the 5th one eliminated, she learned a lot from that experience and vowed never to apply to a competition reality show ever again. The best thing about that experience was netting and spending quality time with Tim Gunn. Kristin continued with fashion with a new line “Krysi” and a small manufacturing company helping independent designers develop their lines. (2011-2020). When COVID occurred, she dissolved the business and is now working in her family’s Real Estate business as the Interior Architect and Designer. They have been renovating and flipping houses.
Morrie Zimmerman–VP Physical Resources
Morrie is Principal of O Z Collaborative, an award-winning architectural firm established in 1988 that serves clients in the Philadelphia region with a range of project types, including affordable housing, non-profit, higher-ed, K-12 schools, institutional, sustainable design and historic preservation. Morrie and his wife, Anne Deaner, moved to West Mt. Airy a year after purchasing a fixer-upper in 2000, and raised their son with all the amazing amenities that we have around us, including the Wissahickon, Lovett Library, and Mt. Airy Baseball. Morrie has a deep interest in community, historic fabric, and the built environment. He has served on the WMAN Zoning Committee for the past 12 years.
Rob Pelszynski–VP Finance
Rob and his wife Elizabeth have lived in West Mount Airy since 2006. They opened the Mount Airy Taproom in 2019. Rob holds a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Risk Management and Insurance. He has a wide range of experience in restaurant management. Rob is interested in deepening his roots in the community by serving on the WMAN Board.
Adrienne is an educational leader. She has experience with coordinating partnerships with universities, businesses and community programs. Her vast experience includes being an principal, and an assistant regional supervisor an Instructional Officer supervising 36 schools. She currently works as a consultant for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Adrienne holds a Doctor of Education from Temple University. She is a resident of Mt Airy. In her free time she enjoys reading, global travel, dancing and fine dining. Adrienne is currently the leader of the Historic Preservation arm of WMAN’s Neighborhood Transformation Committee and is working tirelessly to organize neighbors around protecting the character and integrity of the buildings in our community.
Leroy has been the principal of Henry Houston since July of 2014. He is also an Adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College. Previous experience includes different roles in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh school districts. Principal Hall is currently pursuing a Doctor in Education from Drexel University. He also holds Masters in ED from University of Pittsburgh. Leroy lives with his family in Landsdale, PA. He will be an invaluable voice to hear from on how WMAN can better support our schools.
As a recent arrival to the West Mt Airy neighborhood, the strength of this community and deep connectivity among the neighbors stand out as core values that resonate deeply for Will. Alongside the high quality of life, verdant gardens, tree lined streets, many parks, and walkable retail, this community spirit was among the many qualities that drew his family to this particular pocket of Philadelphia from Seattle last year. Since arriving, Will been inspired to serve the neighborhood-drawing on his passion for stewardship of public space as a Master Watershed Steward for Carpenters Woods, and recently bringing his Real Estate development expertise to the neighborhood zoning committee.
Cheryl Ann Nelson
Cheryl Ann is a recent retiree of Community College of Philadelphia where she served as an English professor for 30 years. She has lived in the West Mt Airy neighborhood since 2004 in a lovely Victorian home on Sharpnack Street. Her primary area of interest during her retirement is working with organizations that promote the importance and enjoyment of reading, especially for children and youth. Recent home and apartment development in her immediate area has spurned a desire to protect the W. Mt Airy neighborhood from being overly developed with construction that does not reflect a respect for this historic area of the Wissahickon Valley.
Gwyneth moved to Mount Airy in 2013 and is raising two baseball-crazed sons and a dog with her husband. A former journalist, she now writes for an academic institution but still enjoys a good sleuthing expedition. She and her family particularly enjoy easy access to the Wissahickon and the other green spaces in the neighborhood, including all the Mount Airy Baseball fields and their backyard, where they are locked in an eternal battle with weeds. Gwyneth is most passionate about making the neighborhood safer for walkers, runners, cyclists, kids, and drivers; she also cares deeply about working to preserve the neighborhood’s unique characteristics, including its diversity.
Natalie’s work with WMAN revolves around trees and trash. She and her partner Brody started Mt Airy Trash Team shortly after moving here. MATT is a group of volunteers that meets once a month to pick up trash together around our community. Natalie holds a BSW from the University of North Carolina and a MSW from NYU. Natalie is also the co-chair of Keep Mt Airy Green, and Mt. Airy Tree Tenders, and is dedicated to increasing the tree canopy in Mt Airy. She regularly organizes meetings of “the tree people”.
Josephine Gasiewski Winter-Executive Director
Jo lives in W Mt Airy with her husband, two young children, poodle pup Penny, and Balinese cat Beef Stroganoff. Born in the Overbrook Farms section of Philadelphia, she is a graduate of three pillars of Philly based education, Central High School (257!), the University of Pennsylvania (BA, MSEd), and Temple University (Phd). After completing her doctorate in Urban Education, Jo did three years of post-doc research at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute where she focused on qualitative analyses related to diversifying the STEM pipeline. Jo now serves as a qualitative data consultant primarily on diversity, equity, and inclusion projects in higher education. She first joined WMAN as the VP of membership, but after organizing Covid vaccinations for hundreds of elderly folks during the peak of the pandemic, Jo caught the community organizing bug, and took on the role of full time ED in December 2022. She is dedicated to reigniting WMAN’s advocacy and activism roots, and establishing WMAN as true community led, hub of West Mt. Airy life.
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