Meet the people who make Wonder Wood Ranch a place of hope and healing! Our Board and our Staff!
The Wonder Wood Ranch Board of Directors is an amazing group of dedicated, kind, inventive, fun, loving, visionaries who love serving others with horses, farm animals, and all the other activities here at the Ranch. Our board members are not just figureheads, but people who give their time, energy, and passion to bring Hope on Hooves to the kids in our community who need it most.
And our staff are just as wonder-full! Come meet our animal care specialist, our professional horse trainer, our program instructor, and more!
MEET OUR DEDICATED AND PASSIONATE STAFF
MARLO SCHALESKY Executive Director
Marlo comes to us with over 30 years of equine experience. As a former teacher, children’s minister, and mother of six, she has over 35 years’ experience working extensively with children and youth. Besides her bachelor's degree (in chemistry of all things!) from Stanford University, she has a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, which includes education in family therapy. She has also taken additional professional courses in various types of therapy applicable to children and youth and is certified in youth mental health first aid. She's the author of numerous award-winning books and over 1,000 articles and has started a number of successful businesses, including Wonder Wood Ranch. She is also a board member of CASP (Community Alliance of Safety and Peace) run by the City of Salinas and Harmony at Home. Here at Wonder Wood Ranch, Marlo focuses on running our equine therapy programs for incarcerated youth, developing our outreach to youth in need, and networking with our local government agencies and nonprofits. Marlo’s passion is to see and facilitate the transformational work of animals and other ranch activities in the healing of those affected by trauma.
JENNIFER KEYES Animal Care Specialist & On-Site Volunteer Coordinator
Jennifer has over 20 years of equine experience as a horse owner, rider, and horse care specialist at Palomar Christian Camps. You can see Jennifer around the Ranch most days caring for the various animals and thinking of more effective ways to bring the hope and healing of horses to our guests at Wonder Wood Ranch. Her passion is to see Wonder Wood Ranch become all it can be in serving kids and families in our community with the wonder of horses.
BRIA SCHALESKY Executive Horse Trainer
Bria comes to us with over 12 years of equine experience. She is a straight-A student at Rancho San Juan High School, a Clinton Anderson No Worries Club Premium Member, and a professional horse trainer. Her horse-training story was also featured in the No Worries Journal. Bria brings her horse and people training skills to Wonder Wood Ranch as our executive horse trainer, training and overseeing the training of both rescue horses and client horses. She also gives horseback riding lessons and lessons in horsemanship . Currently, Bria is set to run our new TAILS Training Program that is in development. Bria’s passion is to bring out the best in both horses and people!
BETHANY SCHALESKY Assistant Director and Program Instructor Bethany comes to us with over 16 years of equine experience. She is a natural leader and an all-around horse woman with extensive experience in western, english, jumping, trail riding, and horse training. A graduated landscape architecture student at Cal Poly, SLO, Bethany uses her expertise not only in running our summer horse camps, but also in many of our site improvement projects here at the Ranch. Bethany’s passion is to see Wonder Wood Ranch serve kids, youth, and families in our community to the very best of our ability.
MEET OUR ENGAGED and SUPPORTIVE BOARD
Jean Waddy Interim Board President/Board Secretary/Compliance Officer/Business Professor As a course instructor in business at Central Coast College, Jean brings her acute business acumen to our board of directors both as board secretary and also our compliance officer. A long-time volunteer for Wonder Wood Ranch, her passion is to make the Ranch the best it can be, business-wise, so we can serve kids in need to our fullest capacity.
CAROL CERVANTES Nonprofit, Gang-Impacted, Community Outreach Expert Carol comes to us with extensive experience in the nonprofit field, specifically working with gang-impacted and other trauma-impacted youth. A native of Salinas, she has intimate knowledge of our community and how to best reach and engage our target youth. A supporter of Wonder Wood Ranch from its inception when she was employed by the City of Salinas to lead the Street Outreach Teams to gang-impacted youth, Carol is passionate about seeing the Ranch grow, effectively reach the youth most in need in our community, and make an ever-increasing difference in the lives of the youth who need us most.
ANTHONY SANTACRUZ Youth Representative
Anthony has been around horses all his life. He started volunteering at Wonder Wood Ranch from its opening in 2016 and remains an enthusiastic and consistent believer in the Ranch’s work with kids in our community. Anthony is a student at El Puente High School, on the tech team for Salinas Valley Community Church’s youth group, and an integral part of helping kids with trauma feel welcome and supported at Wonder Wood Ranch. Anthony’s passion is to extend the healing power of the Ranch to other kids, like him, who need it.
MIRANDA BEYMER MBA Student/Marketing & Business Consultant
Miranda has over 14 years of equine experience and is a business/marketing graduate who is currently in the MBA program at UC Riverside. She brings her excitement and marketing skills to our efforts at Wonder Wood Ranch, working on the board to develop our fundraising efforts, recognizability in the community, and the extent of our outreach. She also volunteers for animal care and volunteer support here at the Ranch. Her passion is to see Wonder Wood Ranch grow and expand its reach to the kids and youth who could most benefit in our community.
SARAH EDDINGS Board Treasurer/Accountant, Event Coordinator, Non-Profit Business Expert
Sarah comes to us from Palomar Christian Conference Center in southern California where she was the HR Coordinator and Bookkeeper. She was then the office manager at MusicalMe Inc. and is currently Long Term Care Ombudsman at Advocacy Inc. Besides her expertise in nonprofit business models, she also brings to the board her skills in accounting, office management, human resources, and event coordination as well as her passion to serve kids in need. With her degree in applied psychology and experience volunteering in youth and children's ministry, Sarah seeks to help kids and youth realize and reach their potential here at Wonder Wood Ranch. "I am passionate about working with individuals and helping them grow in personal confidence and strength," she says.