Staff

  • Rodney Ahart

    Executive Director

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    Rodney Ahart is a third generation native Austinite with deep ties in the city. He comes to Keep Austin Beautiful with over 12 years of professional experience. Rodney served as Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives for over six years. While working at the Capitol, Rodney gained valuable experience on diverse issues such as education, health, business & industry, appropriations and the environment. Most recently serving as the Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, Rodney spearheaded the volunteer-driven ballot initiative making all public places in Austin smoke-free.

    He was appointed as the Vice-Chair of the City of Austin Environmental Board. In this role, Rodney led the charge to protect the critical environmental features in Eastern Travis County. His other volunteer work includes the City of Austin Bond Election Advisory Task Force, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Austin, Literacy Austin, Windsor Park Neighborhood Association and Ebenezer Baptist Church.

    Ahart, a graduate of Texas A&M University, has been bestowed several honors including an Austin Under 40 Award in the medical/healthcare category and Austin Toastmaster of the Year.

    Rodney loves spending time with family, remodeling his 1950's East Austin home and traveling to Europe.

  • Nicole Netherton

    Director of Development

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    A trip to Antarctica brought Nicole Netherton to Keep Austin Beautiful. No, really! It only took traveling 7,000 miles from Austin to bring home the true importance of local environmental stewardship, which inspired Nicole to leave her career in publishing to join our staff as Director of Development. A native Houstonian whose spiritual home has been Austin since attending The University of Texas, Nicole also lived and worked in New York City for many years. Her professional background is in marketing and management, with copywriting, editing, presenting, and conference organizing thrown in for good measure. She has a passion for wildlife conservation and travel, which often combine in her love of birding. In her spare time, Nicole also loves cooking, reading (especially about history and science), and list-making.

  • Ilya Shmulenson

    Director of Programs

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    Ilya's interest in environmental education grew out of his work in primate conservation and behavior during which he saw a greater need to reconnect people with the natural environment. Prior to moving to Austin in 2012, he was the Operations Director and Year-Round Programs Coordinator at Eden Village Camp, a farm-to-table, back-to-the-land sleepaway camp in New York's Hudson Valley. Previously, at IslandWood, an environmental education center outside of Seattle, WA, he was an environmental educator and received a Certificate in Education, Environment, and Community. Since moving to Austin, he has been involved with local environmental education endeavors, including serving as an educator at The Green Classroom leading hands-on gardening activities with elementary school children and volunteering at Green Gate Farms. He earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington and a BA in Anthropology from Hunter College - City University of New York. In his free time, he enjoys exploring trails with his dog and has begun dabbling in growing his own food.

  • Myrriah Gossett

    Director of Community Engagement

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    Myrriah began her journey with Keep Austin Beautiful as a Clean Lady Bird Lake site leader. Now as a full fledged staff member, she is excited to share her passion for network weaving, marketing, and communications with the Keep Austin Beautiful team. With over six years of experience working with a variety of nonprofits, she brings a diverse background to the organizational dynamic. In her spare time, Myrriah enjoys photography, hiking the beautiful trails around the Austin area, and exploring the ever-expanding food culture in the city.

  • Alecia Casper

    Education Programs Manager

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    While working at LCRA McKinney Roughs Nature Park five years ago, Alecia became a resident expert in Texas ecology, water quality, renewable energy, and all things environmental. This is also where her love of environmental education began. Alecia earned her degree in Education from St. Edward’s University while working part-time at Keep Austin Beautiful as a Green Teens instructor and at the City of Austin, Watershed Protection Department as an Earth Camp instructor. Back at Keep Austin Beautiful full time, Alecia now leads Clean Creek Campus presentations and service projects as well as Green Teens afterschool activities to promote environmental stewardship. Her creativity continues to shine at Doodle Arts, the face painting business she single-handedly initiated and has grown into a steady stream of events. In her rare free time, she enjoys camping and caring for her pet snake, Phoebe.

  • Che Doddington

    Development Manager

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    Growing up in major metropolitan cities across the country, Ché believes that Austin is, by far, the most beautiful. Upon her arrival in Austin, she quickly realized the importance of preserving public spaces amidst the city’s rapid urban growth. Ché joins the Keep Austin Beautiful team with a background in fund development and event planning. She is excited to partner with an organization that is dedicated to empowering communities and ensuring that Austin remains a beautiful place for all of its residents to enjoy. In her spare time, Ché loves adventuring with her friends and coming up with any possible excuse to throw a dinner party.

  • Nicole Tenneyuque

    Operations & Administrative Coordinator

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    When Nicole moved to Austin years ago, she knew she was home. Austin’s support for creative people, positive attitude toward conservation, and kindness to animals personified her life choices. A native Texan, Nicole has been keeping Austin beautiful in her own way with her business La Bamba Cleaning, which followed almost a decade working in management at a big box store. After volunteering with a local food pantry, Nicole knew it was time to turn her sights to giving back full time and jumped in wholeheartedly at Keep Austin Beautiful. Her passions include singing with her band, cross-stitching, and being a crazy cat lady.

  • Tabitha Tattenbach

    Senior Community Programs Coordinator

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    Tabitha is a Costa Rican Born, Australian raised nature lover. She received her bachelors in Design from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia where she participated in conservation projects in Indonesia and Uganda. The projects focused on the social implication of Interior Design, Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Tabitha has been active in community based beautification projects since an early age, as one of the first participants of the Minneapolis Youth Farm in 1998 . Her love for nature has developed over the years while working in interdisciplinary studios nationwide. Spending time working with at-risk youth has solidified a desire to use design as a catalyst for social good. In her spare time Tabitha explores Austin’s exciting events via bicycle, appreciates Austin’s many natural wonders with her dachshund Lucy and curls up in her hammock with a great autobiography.

  • Kelsey Greathouse

    Community Programs Coordinator

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    Kelsey’s love of nature began as a child in her own backyard—playing outside in the woods, catching insects, and sleeping under the stars. At the College of Wooster in Ohio, she studied Anthropology and Biology, interested specifically in how people develop relationships with the environment. There, she helped lead her schools’ outdoor club on backpacking and camping trips near and far. After graduating, she spent four years traveling and working as a naturalist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Massachusetts. During the fall of 2015, she decided it was time for a larger adventure, so she spent two months bicycling along the Mississippi River. Upon completion of her bike tour, she set her sights on warmer weather, live music, good food, and new adventures here in Austin, Texas. Her other passions include playing with puppies, photography, board games, playing the mandolin, and exploring new places.

  • Keith Sears

    Volunteer Coordinator

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    A native Austinite, Keith's journey with Keep Austin Beautiful began during his freshman year of high school when he participated in the Green Teens program at LBJ High School. Throughout his time as a Green Teen, Keith was awarded for his dedication and hard work; his relationship with Keep Austin Beautiful continued to blossom as he interned for three consecutive summers. Keith's vibrant personality and long-standing experience with many facets of the organization provide a unique perspective for assisting the public and spreading the organization's mission. From student ambassador to intern to new member of the Keep Austin Beautiful family, Keith is excited to help community groups enhance our public spaces.

  • Sarah McConnon

    Environmental Educator

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    Sarah has always had an affinity for the outdoors, from going on family campouts while growing up to become involved in the ecology club in high school. This love continued throughout college where she earned a BS in Field Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. Coupled with her experience as an education intern with the Colorado River Alliance and her role as a Texas State Park Ambassador, Sarah looks forward to engaging students in building beautiful communities through Keep Austin Beautiful’s education programs. Her experiences have taught her to agree with John Muir when he contends that in going out, one is really going in. When she is not working, Sarah likes to read a good book, explore native plants, attend local concerts, and finish off her day watching the sunset from her porch.

  • Alyssa Gonzalas

    Communications and Marketing Intern

    Alyssa is a third year undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin pursuing a B.A. in public relations with a concentration in environment and sustainability. With this pairing, she hopes to gain the communication skills necessary to talk to various — often conflicting — groups of people. In her free time, Alyssa likes to hike around Austin and pet random dogs. She enjoys journaling, taking photos and binge watching Ted Talks.