At the Pacific Northwest Outward Bound School headquarters in Portland, OR, a dedicated team works together to bring the best in programs, customer service, and support services to all of their students and supporters. This crew of passionate and committed experts, many with experience as field staff, come with broad and deep experience creating the highest standard of excellence for those who work in the office and in the field.
Abby left her home state of Georgia in 2013 to join the Northwest Outward Bound School as an intern. During the season, she fell in love with the central Oregon sunshine and sagebrush, and most of all, with Outward Bound. That fall, she participated in the last new staff training out of Outward Bound Alabama and worked courses for struggling adolescents out of the Scotsmoor and Key Largo bases. Throughout this time, Abby showed a knack for expedition logistics and honed those skills at different locations. She even worked as Logistics Manager and instructed courses for a stint at the Voyaguer Outward Bound Twin Cities center in Saint Paul, MN.
Aside from Outward Bound, Abby has worked in the world of outdoor recreation in a variety of ways and locations: Four years at her college outdoor program based in Southern Georgia. A variety of therapeutic recreation settings from a New York summer camp to a South Carolina boarding school. Three winters working and skiing in Alta, Utah. Two years managing a large climbing gym in Minnesota. Coordinating climbing competitions in between, and even spending one summer as a "sponsored athlete" on a cross-country bicycle tour. One thing has always drawn her back, and that is the Northwest Outward Bound School. After filling the roles of Intern, Logistics Coordinator, Assistant Instructor, Head Logistics Coordinator and Lead River Instructor, Abby is excited to return as Oregon Logistics Manager for the school.
When not ordering mass amounts of food or wandering around the Odin Falls warehouse, Abby likes to climb Oregon choss, row a boat down most any river, and ski on storm days.
Safety Director - Portland, Oregon
A native of New Jersey, Alex made her home west of the Continental Divide as soon as she could, after discovering the joys of a “dry heat,” when a student on an 81-day Outward Bound course. Alex comes to her current role with NWOBS after starting her Outward Bound career in 2005 as an instructor in Utah’s Southwest Program. Since then, she has worked as a Course Director, Trainer, and Program Manager, spanning Utah, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Oregon. Her strong belief in the value of time spent in nature, experiential education, and personal growth through challenge inspire her to help provide access to Outward Bound experiences for all people.
Alex’s enduring love of time spent outdoors and working within a team have influenced her passions, education, and career throughout her life. As a child, she could be found in the earnest attempt to grow gills and fins, as her love of the water kept her immersed as often as possible. When not in the water, Alex could generally be found playing sports or reading books. Her dedication to athletics and a dream of veterinary school initially brought Alex to Boston’s Tufts University, but her love of the outdoors and the pull of the desert settled her out West, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Prescott College.
Alex now celebrates her love of animals with her budding adventure cat, Stevie, and her dog Atlas, who is a constant companion, whether running on trails, fly fishing the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, riding navigator in a sidecar, or curled up with a book. When not working for NWOBS or adventuring with her partner Kelly, Alex volunteers her time as a Certified Rolfer, helping frontline workers and emergency personnel in need of physical adjustments. Alex also serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Outward Bound School. Her love of learning and personal challenge has her practicing her Norwegian and learning to fix old motorcycles.
Oregon Program Director - Redmond, Oregon
Oregon Program Director
Ami spent much of her formative years exploring the woods, tidal creeks, and marshes of the East Coast before travelling to Arizona to attend Prescott College. While studying environmental science, marine biology, and adventure education, she fell in love with the mountains, deserts, rivers, and vastness of the West. Not a hard thing to do when you’re canoeing in the Arctic or the Southwest, backpacking in the Grand Canyon, or traversing the intertidal zones of the Gulf of California. She has also had the privilege of learning from incredible and inspiring mentors who helped to provide direction.
Ami first worked with Outward Bound as a research advisor and assistant watch officer for semester and high school courses onboard HIOBS’ Sharpie Schooners. She later served as the director of a HIOBS partnership program in the Bahamas.
Ami has been lucky to spend much of her career interacting with the natural world. Aside from work in the outdoor industry, her professional background includes: field biology, intersectional curriculum development, risk management, and many years spent teaching high school and college science. Additionally she has worked as a high school learning specialist and the director of both gap year and expeditionary programs.
Ami deeply values experiential education, and has always admired Outward Bound’s commitment to teaching students and staff to lead with compassion. She is thrilled to be stepping into the Oregon Program Director role at NWOBS, and is excited to begin a new adventure in the Pacific Northwest with her partner Alec and dogs Seb and Ruth.
Alison Lay Cranston was born in Austin, Texas and spent many summers and winters recreating in Colorado and New Mexico as a child. It was through these trips that she first developed a passion for the outdoors. Alison earned her bachelors degree in Ecology and Geography from the University of Texas at Austin, during which time she completed two internships with the Student Conservation Association. This led to eight subsequent summer seasons working at Glacier National Park in a variety of fields. In 2013, she made the career switch to outdoor education and has worked for many organizations and schools, including the Chadwick School, Crossroads School, The Boojum Institute, the Athenian School, and Outward Bound. She has been with Outward Bound for 8 years, 7 of them with NWOBS. She has served in many roles with NWOBS - Instructor, Course Director, Staff Trainer and most recently Alumni Engagement Project Manager. Alison also owns and operates Cascade Wilderness Medicine, LLC, which offers Wilderness Medicine certification courses. In the winter, she also volunteers on the Mount Bachelor National Ski Patrol. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Natural Resource Management. In her free time, Alison enjoys skiing (backcountry and downhill), mountain biking, and rock climbing.
Development Officer - Seattle, Washington
Anna was a life-long Oregonian until relocating to Seattle in 2019. She enjoys spending much of her time exploring all of Washington’s natural beauty through skiing, hiking, backpacking, and climbing. While she does love to adventure outside, she almost never passes up a cozy day inside reading a book and spending time with her cat, loved ones, and cooking up a warm meal.
She holds a master’s degree in education policy from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Oregon. She is passionate about the power of education, lifelong learning, and experiential education. Anna also understands the importance of addressing the immense inequities and issues within educational systems. Previously, she’s worked for organizations dedicated to increasing access and equity in education, from high school to post-secondary options. She loves being a part of the NWOBS mission because it is a meeting of the two aspects of life she holds dear: education and the outdoors.
Washington Associate Program Director - Mazama, Washington
Washington Associate Program Director
Cam is eternally grateful for the growth, friendships, and genuine adventures that his work at NWOBS has provided. He began working as an Assistant Instructor for NWOBS in 2009 when he transitioned from a position in Seattle working with at-risk youth. He initially thought he would work as an instructor for three years before pursuing another career, but quickly found himself re-arranging life plans to make work at NWOBS a long-term commitment. Over the last 10 years, Cam has worked as an Instructor on most every course type in Washington and Oregon, including numerous stints as the proctor of long adult courses. He also worked as a Staff trainer and Course Director before recently transitioning into Washington Associate Program Director role. As long as he has enough snacks on hand, Cam rarely stops moving in his never-ending quest to pretend he's a mountain athlete. If not in his office or sleeping, he is likely climbing, skiing, biking, hunting, or otherwise ambling through the beautiful North Cascades. Cam lives with his partner and long-time NWOBS Instructor Genny in Winthrop, Washington.
Director of Business Operations - Portland, Oregon
Director of Business Operations
Jenny joins Northwest Outward Bound School after working extensively with international education and experiential learning programs. She has been fortunate throughout her career to work with values-driven organizations that promote transformational learning and social impact. She is honored to join this incredible Outward Bound community.
As former Executive Director of Carpe Diem Education in Portland, OR, Jenny managed gap year programming on 5 continents and in 18 countries. Her work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Singapore Management University created opportunities to deepen student engagement through service-learning and cultural immersion experiences. In 2010, Jenny was awarded Civic Engagement Professional of the Year from North Carolina Campus Compact. She holds a B.A. in Global History and a M.A. in International Studies.
Jenny learned to explore different parts of the U.S. at a young age as her family relocated. She attended college in the northeast and took her first professional position as a paralegal in Boston. Feeling unfulfilled on the corporate path, Jenny traded in her suit for hiking boots and headed to the Dakotas. There she found her passion for purposeful, community-based initiatives as a full-time volunteer on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Reservations. While exploring other countries and cultures will always be on her list, Jenny and her family are becoming rooted with the natural beauty and grandeur of the Pacific Northwest. She is proud that both her sons have served as AmeriCorps members working on conservation, disaster management, and wildland firefighting.
Jenny enjoys photography, hiking, biking, and hosting people from all over the world in her Airbnb. A fun fact about Jenny is that one of her first homes was a converted cable car along the Great Highway in San Francisco and she and her husband currently live in a 200sqft tiny home on wheels.
Washington Program Director - Mazama, Washington
Washington Program Director
Joel began his Outward Bound journey in 1996 as a student on a 22-day course in the Sierra Nevada. After 12 years away, he returned to Outwar Bound to work in Mazama, WA as an Instructor, Course Director, Staff Trainer, and Program Manager before moving into his current role as Program Director. He has worked Outward Bound courses in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska, but the North Cascades and San Juan Islands course area in Washington has always been his primary home.
In addition to his work with NWOBS, Joel has been a wilderness medicine instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center for over 14 years and has presented numerous times at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, including leading multi-day workshops on outdoor program design and risk management.
Joel lives in Washington's Methow Valley, where he is often found skiing or running the endless miles of trails in the area.
Course Advisor - Portland, Oregon
Josh found his way to experiential education through theatrical design, before he shifted his focus to the outdoors. After teaching physics and geometry through hands-on theatre experience, he left for youth program development and environmental education. He loves providing students with an opportunity to step away from all the technology and the fast-paced day-to-day they experience and learn about how much more they are capable of. He has taught environmental programs around the US and led expeditions teaching leadership for the Voyageur Outward Bound School. In the last few years, he has continued teaching outdoors in the PNW, until rejoining Outward Bound. Intentional learning community through connection with the environment. Josh loves connecting with the more-than-human world, digging his fingers into a garden, getting solo time in the woods as often as possible, and backpacking and canoeing adventures!
Partnerships & Marketing Manager - Portland, OR
Partnerships & Marketing Manager
Kelsey is new to the Portland area from Northern California and is eager to explore all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Professionally, she has a journalism background and is passionate about thoughtful storytelling and community building. Before joining NWOBS, she spent several years creating content in the travel industry and most recently worked in communications at Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Bay Area Climbers Coalition, where she gained valuable skills and knowledge about social justice and the nonprofit sector.
Kelsey also has Type I diabetes and grew up attending Bearskin Meadow Camp in Sequoia National Forest where she discovered the transformative nature of outdoor experiences and a love of sleeping under the stars.
Business Operations Coordinator - Portland, Oregon
Business Operations Coordinator
Kristin grew up on the SoCal beaches in Santa Monica and Venice. She discovered her passion for photography at an early age and spent her days exploring every corner of her world, seeking to capture images of the beautiful and interesting things around her. That has never changed. Kristin has held marketing and project management jobs in industries including film, video games and social media. In 2015, it was time for a new adventure. Her love of nature and community drew her to Portland. Her wish was to find job working for a non-profit, one that helped people and had something to do with nature. That dream came true for her in June 2018. When Kristin isn't working, she is still out there exploring and capturing the world around her, from the forests to the quirky neighborhoods. She also loves plant based cooking and crafting. And you may even see her in the Timbers Army supporting her beloved Portland Timbers.
Executive Director - Portland, Oregon
A Washington native and now Oregon resident, Marc’s life and career has a foundation in outdoor and experiential leadership education. A strategist and growth leader at heart, Marc is always mission driven, choosing to focus his attention on creating positive impact in people, communities and our environment. He is honored to be able to do this in his home communities in the Pacific Northwest. Marc believes strongly that future success of individuals and communities is based on emotional intelligence, people-centric leadership and other skills best developed and honed through experiential education. A lifelong learner, Marc works every day on these same skills, knowing that the best teachers are always learners first.
Marc holds a bachelor’s degree in biology & Natural Resources and a master’s in business administration. In addition to a stint in the financial sector, he spent many years building the U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED program, one of the world’s most successful and impactful industry-led environmental movements.
While not working to make amazing Outward Boundexperiences available to people of all backgrounds, Marc spends his time with his family, making sure his young son grows through outdoor experiences, whether in the backyard sandbox or splashing in an alpine lake. In his house “a dirty day is a good day”. For more, please visit Marc's Linkedin account.
Throughout high school and college, Morgan, had many opportunities to experience the outdoors combined with service in the states and abroad. After completing her degree in Intercultural Studies and Urban Studies she worked in both education and the Outdoor Industry. Wanting to combine her passions, she moved to the Pacific Northwest and began working for NWOBS first as a Logistical Coordinator, then as a Portland Programs Instructor and now Student Services Director. New to the Pacific Northwest, you can find Morgan and her family discovering the rich landscapes by foot, bike and kayak any chance they get!
Portland Program Manager - Portland, OR
Portland Program Manager
This project is led by Paul Taylor. Paul has been with the Northwest Outward Bound School since Spring 2015, serving as a Lead Instructor in classrooms for many years before recently becoming the Portland Program Manager. His deep love of wild places and a passion for teaching have been a driving force in both his professional and personal pursuits. He brings over 18 years of experience working with students and adults in many facets of teaching, instructing and technical guiding. Currently, he is a Portland based climbing and mountaineering guide for many regional guide services where he has been instructing and guiding for the past 8 years. Additionally, he serves as the Oregon Ambassador for the Northwest Avalanche Center, where he has worked as an instructor for the past 6 years. Lastly, he serves as the Technical Training Director for the Portland based teen climbing/mountaineering organization, Post 58. Over the course of his 18-year career, he has worked as an instructor, facilitator, and guide for numerous outdoor education companies and guide services across the United States. His early adventures were focused on teaching primitive living and survival skills and long distance hiking, where he has racked up over 11,000 miles of trail-time, including thru-hikes of the AT, PCT, and many other trails. His favorite place in the entire world is the region of Patagonia in Argentina and Chile, where he is always looking to spend more time exploring and climbing and one day living with his family. When he’s not teaching or working, he enjoys trail running, climbing alpine routes in the local area, cooking, reading, glass blowing, and traveling with his wife, Claire and daughters, Zola and Ruby.
Paul is an AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, EMT-B, Wilderness First Responder, LNT Master Educator, and has a PRO-1 Avalanche Certification.
Senior Course Advisor & Medical Screener - Portland, Oregon
Senior Course Advisor & Medical Screener
After many years of work in nonprofit organizations in Athens, Georgia, Paula and her husband recently relocated to Portland to take advantage of its outdoor and cultural opportunities. Her background in psychology (AB – Oberlin College; MA – Western Michigan University) led to a career focused on positive youth development, primarily at Prevent Child Abuse Athens and the Clarke County (GA) Mentor Program.
Paula grew up hiking California trails with her family, and as a camper and camp counselor. Her three children continued the tradition in the mountains of western North Carolina. Since arriving in Oregon, she and her husband have hiked in the Gorge and the Mt. Hood area, participated as Wilderness Volunteers doing habitat restoration in the Mt. Hood Wilderness, and backpacked across the Grand Canyon and in the Superstition Mountains (AZ.) Paula has also served as a volunteer trail guide in the Athens area, introducing public school children to the outdoors. She is delighted that part of her work with NWOBS involves supporting outdoor experiences for groups who haven’t had that opportunity.
Valerie Plummer, CFRE
Development Director - Portland, Oregon
Valerie Plummer, CFRE
Valerie is a passionate advocate of inclusion, and the power of bringing people and resources together to change the world. She served as the executive director of the Oregon Microenterprise Network for eight years, building Oregon’s statewide financing and service infrastructure for underserved entrepreneurs. Most recently, Valerie served in a development role at Harper’s Playground, and prior to that, completed a $9M capital campaign at Community Vision, building a collaborative one-stop location in Portland that serves families and individuals experiencing disabilities. Valerie believes that the outdoors should belong to everyone, and is excited to work alongside the Northwest Outward Bound School team to ensure equitable access to life-changing Outward Bound experiences for all.
Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, and a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) certification from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In her free time, she enjoys skiing, hiking and spending time with her two children, Sophie and Zach. Valerie currently chairs and has served on the Board of Livelihood Northwest since 2010, helping entrepreneurs of color access financing and successfully start and grow their businesses.
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