2021-2022 Board of Directors Candidates

Board Elections will be held online between April 16 and April 27th. 

Active members will receive a ballot via email. If you feel that you should have received this email contact us (studio@kcclayguild.org).

The 10 members of the Board of Directors work closely with our Studio Director to guide KC Clay Guild (KCCG) towards fulfilling its mission statement:

To promote the appreciation of and participation in ceramic arts through group and individual education programs, public outreach and the creation of a diverse ceramic arts community. 

Nominees were asked to answer the following questions:

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.


Josh Wood

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I am very passionate about ceramic art and KCCG.  I believe in making art available to Waldo and the greater KC Metro area, and I believe that KCCG provides an excellent venue to do just that.  The Guild has provided an excellent opportunity for area artists and I want to do my part to see it continue to thrive, improve, and grow. The Guild is a place that people of all types gather to make art, and have a good time doing it.  I am proud that we have been able to offer affordable artistic opportunities to our community.  We have grown tremendously over the past several years, and have been able to increase our offerings with programs such as school outreach, an expanding Artist in Residence Program, Soda Firing, classes for developmentally challenged patrons, and kids summer camps to name a few.  

I am thrilled that we have been able to navigate Covid and keep the doors open for our membership, and can't wait to see what the future holds.

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have been a member for 12 years and on the Board, as Vice-President for 4 years, and have been President for the past three. I have been working with clay since 1998.

I am a Fleet Manager for a local municipality and in this roll manage employees, develop budgets, seek grants, and speak to professional groups and City Councils.  I also have served on a Professional Board called Heartland Emergency Apparatus Technicians as Vice President and Director for several years.  I believe all of these skills directly translate into helping the Guild continue to succeed.

I am dedicated to the success of the KC Clay Guild, and would be honored to be selected to serve on the Board again this year!


Nancy Tonkins

1.) Why am I interested in serving on your board?

I have a strong background in art and education. I feel like I could assist you in many of your missions, especially your outreach work with youth. Through my previous experiences and contacts, education has been the focus of much of my life's work. It's exciting to see the arts shared with young people as it enhances their lives and gives them a vast new appreciation that may not be offered in their daily lives. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I believe art touches the soul and is ever important in our society.

My time now is open, as I am retired. It would be quite fulfilling for me to engage in planning opportunities for young people as well as working with established artists to further their enjoyment in clay work. I have served on boards before and I find them quite stimulating. Sharing ideas, planning for the future, and constantly working together to set goals and achieve even higher levels of positive outcomes is tantamount in board conversations. I believe I could offer new ideas and help support your mission.

2.) The ways in which I can utilize my skills, experience, and interests in your organization are varied.

Reflecting on my work as Marketing Director at Metro Theater Company in St. Louis, I will tell you that I loved working with schools and children. Metro is a non-profit theater company for young audiences, much like the Coterie here. Metro's mission and work is inspired by the intelligence and emotional wisdom of young people. They foster inclusive community and nurture meaningful learning through the arts. I worked closely with the board and was surrounded by extraordinary talented people, many were artists. It is a great environment to work in and learn from. My position took me into schools and working with principals, superintendents, administrators and teachers. I think that experience would serve me well, if you need any outreach to schools. I also worked on our website, photographed performances, created our newsletter, worked with donors, gave presentations, met with other organization leaders, made calls, created special events and much more. It was a position of many hats. I believe I can help you with communications, website ideas, and a variety of other marketing procedures. I truly do believe and I have a lot to offer, a variety of skills actually, although I am not sure exactly what your needs are in board placement.

I am a "people person" and generally connect immediately with others. I'd be excited to help out at fundraisers, special events, or meet with donors. My love of art is infectious. And, my love of ceramics has been with me for many, many years. I have a true appreciation of the art form as I have worked in clay before. I've assisted with clay classes for special education, in a prison, in a camp, and at classes given by others. I'd love to see KC Clay Guild grow and thrive.


Melynda Steward

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board? I have been serving on the Board since 2010. I enjoy serving on the board and the Guild is a place to meet other people interested in ceramic arts to exchange ideas. I'd like the opportunity to continue giving back to an organization that has provided me with so much. I'm proud of the fact that the Guild ended 2020 in the black despite the fact that we were closed for a time during the pandemic. I'd like to continue to help the Guild be successful!

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member. I have experience running a business and using Quickbooks.In 2020 during the pandemic, the Guild switched to using Quickbooks online and I assisted in that transition. I am experienced in using Excel and have strong negotiation skills.


Susan Speck

I have been a member KC Clay Guild for 33 years and a potter for for nearly 50. I have been been a member of the board since 2002 and have served as President, Workshop and Gallery chair and member at large. I set up the Resident/Intern program as well as our national exhibit, the Teabowl National. I set up my own studio before KCCG was founded, but have always considered it my ceramic home, with many friends who feel like my family.

I wish to serve on the board to continue to keep KCCG the first and foremost ceramic center in Kansas City.


Janet Reuss

Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I love working with clay! I started by taking classes at a small community studio in North Carolina over 30 years ago and was hooked. I really enjoy the community that the guild provides and am inspired by the work of other members. The guild is an awesome resource for the members and the community, and I feel I have the time and abilities to help the guild continue to grow and improve.

Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

My background is in engineering and management. I have worked as an engineer, project leader, supervisor, and trainer for General Electric and Corning. For the last 12 years I have been working from home as a property manager.

With a background working with other clay associations and guilds in three other states, I can share experiences about how these other organizations have run.

I have been on the board as Membership Chair for four years and served prior to that as Advertising Chair. For the last 6 years, I have co-chaired our Spring Sales.

I have strong communication and organization skills. From managing projects, to communicating with and organizing groups of people, I feel I can contribute to most any role the board needs.

I hope to continue to serve the guild in some capacity in the coming year!


Kelsie Herron

1.). Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I am interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board because first and foremost I love this place. Throughout the last few years I have found a sense of home within the KC Clay Guild and I want to be able to take care of, serve, and give back to our community.

2.). Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have my BFA in ceramics, am a former resident artist of KC Clay Guild, teach the Saturday kids classes at KC Clay Guild, and have teaching experience with all ages and abilities. I am severely passionate about art being accessible in our community to EVERYONE. The last two years I have been lucky enough to serve on the board as publicity chair and I hope to continue to have the opportunity to promote our events and facility in a way that will reach a wide range of people and hopefully contribute to bettering the Kansas City arts community as a whole.


David Firman

Why am I interested in serving on the KCCG Board?

About a year ago I walked into the clay guild and rediscovered clay after a forty-year hiatus. As I have once again immersed myself into the medium and spent more and more time working at KCCG, I have found that I would like to become more supportive than I already am. I would enjoy being a bigger part of the guild and perhaps bring my own energy and ideas to the table.

Describe my skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I have an M.F.A. in clay from the Claremont Graduate University in California. I am a potter at heart, but in graduate school I did mostly slip casting and hand building working primarily with cone 6 clay and glazes. I was a teaching assistant as an undergraduate and also taught an adult pottery class for several years teaching not only throwing but also cone 10 and raku firing as well.

I have also worked as a special event organizer for the City of Claremont California for 8 years—planning and putting on numerous concerts, holiday events and art fairs.

Additionally, along with my experience in clay and event organizing I worked as a graphic designer for several companies in Kansas City including Hallmark.

I am not sure how I would fit in on the Board, but I would love to be part of whatever and wherever the guild’s future may lead.

Thanks for considering me.


John M. Devaney

1. I was initially exposed to KCCG in 2010 through a Communiversity Class I took with my daughter. I had taken a college ceramics course many years before and the Communiversity class refreshed my recollection of how much I enjoyed making pots. I became a member and began formal classes at KCCG in 2012 and started volunteering at the Guild about the same time.

2. For the last seven years, I have been privileged to serve on KCCG Board. I initially served as Chair of the Building Maintenance Committee, coordinating and working with KCCG volunteers to complete many improvements to the inside and outside of our studio facilities. In recent years, I have held the position of Chair of the Education Committee. In that position, I had the opportunity to work with our Studio Director Louis Reilly and our talented class instructors in assuring a positive, productive student experience. During the current 2020/2021 Board term, I hold the position of Vice President assisting our President Josh Wood in the administration of the Guild. That effort has included such activities as policy development and review and obtaining the CARE Act Payroll Protection Program funding to replace lost revenue during the studio’s COVID related shutdown and limited access operations. I would like to continue to contribute to the overall improvement of the Guild, physically, academically and culturally, including the expansion of membership and provision ceramic opportunities to all the diverse communities that comprise the greater Kansas City area.

3. My background in working with non-profit organizations facilitates my ability to assist in continuing to improve our functioning as an organization, as well as, formulating and attaining our community education and outreach goals. It also, doesn’t to hurt to have a lawyer on the board.


Abby Callaghan

1) Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

I served on the board this last year and it has been a very informative experience. I feel like I have learned so much about what goes into the decision making process and how a non-profit operates. As the chair of education I have made good progress in helping classes run and coordinating with instructors and I would like the opportunity to build off what I have already done.

2) Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay

Besides being on the board this year I am also an instructor at the KCCG, which gives me a great perspective of what instructors might need from the board. I have my Bachelor of Fine Arts from KCAI in ceramics, a Master of Arts in teaching from UCM, and I am currently an elementary art teacher. These experiences help me a lot when it comes to being on the board, particularly when it comes to making decisions about classes, communicating with instructors, and helping to create guidelines for our studio learning environment. Additionally, I create my own work at the Clay Guild and have a good understanding of how our studio operates from the perspective of the average studio member.


Chanda Baker

Why are you interested in serving on the KC Clay Guild Board?

My work life has provided me the luxury of being able to afford the necessities in my life. For that I am truly blessed. Thus, I feel that it is important to share my wealth, not only financially but also by giving my time to worthwhile organizations. Over the years I have been able to contribute by participating in cancer walks, marathons and other events to raise money for numerous organizations, as well as donating money. The KC Clay Guild provides our community with the opportunity to learn about pottery and ceramics. With the reduction in the arts programs for public education this is a much needed resource, thus I would like to donate my time and energy in making sure the KC Clay Guild continues its valuable services.

•Describe your skills, experience, and interests and how you might put it to use as a KC Clay Guild Board Member.

I always say I am a product of both my parents. My father has an MBA and my mother is a dance choreographer. Thus I find myself a person who has a balanced desire to create as well as be a leader/organizer. These skills make me a good team player who can work with anyone to accomplish goals. In addition I am an avid photographer who can take photos to utilize in promotion of the KC Clay Guild. Over the past four years I served as the KCCG Secretary and would be interested in continuing in this position. In addition, I led the planning of our annual Raku fundraiser for the last two years and would like to lead it again this year. Thank you for your consideration.


Aimee Adams

To me, the most meaningful part of making pottery is the community of artists. I have made many friends that I treasure; people, I would have never met had I not taken that first class six-ish years ago. The KC Clay Guild provides a place for one to learn the art of ceramics in an unpretentious environment. It is a place of teaching, learning, exploring, and sharing. I am just one individual who walked in the door to take a class with no expectations of continuing further. Little did I know….

While I spend a lot of time in the studio, my professional past includes years of management and working with individuals (of all ages with a wide range of disabilities) in roles such as classroom support, gaining and transitioning to a sustainable role in the workforce, and creating and maintaining goals. I hold a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.

The last few years have provided me the opportunity to explore several roles in the Guild’s community. Not long after I started taking classes at the Guild, I was provided the opportunity to facilitate a private hand-building class for an individual who needed an extra hand. I held this role for two years. Halfway through this time, I was encouraged to run for a seat on the board and then served for two years as the Workshops and Events Chair. I connected with local artists and engaged them to provide a night of instruction for members of the local community. I moved on from that role to be home in the evenings with my boy-girl twins but eventually knew it was time to step up my volunteer service one again. When a monitor spot that worked for me opened last year, I jumped right in. It always feels good to give back to a community that has given so much to me.

A role on the board is much more than a monthly task. Is it my way to help assist in the maintenance and growth of the Guild and its community. If elected, I am open to accepting the role that best fits the current needs of the Guild.

Thank you.

Aimee Adams




KC Clay Guild is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 200 West 74th Street, Kansas City, MO 64114

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