Friends of The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences public charter school
Ian was born and raised in Hawai'i, has lived in Volcano for over 15 years. Ian received a Bachelor’s degree Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho and has spent the last 20 years a working in the natural resources conservation field in Hawai 'i. Currently, he works as a resource manager for the State of Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). In his position, he has taught numerous youth groups and adult volunteers about Hawai'i's unique biological systems and shared in their knowledge of Hawai'i’s cultural and ecological resources. Additionally, he has first-hand experience with environmental compliance, grant applications, State procurement, and CIP projects. And, as the son of a general contractor, he has a lifetime of construction and homebuilding experience, developing the basic skills and concepts surrounding construction projects from grading to finishing work and finalization.
Jeffrey Mermel holds an BA in Psychology and Pre-Med from U.C. Berkeley and an MA in Psychology from
San Jose University. Mr. Mermel served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia in adult literacy and then worked as a community organizer for 5 years in the public housing projects for the San Francisco Housing Authority. Mr. Mermel came to Volcano to work as a naturalist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in 1976. He then founded The Fireplace & Home Center of Hilo, a retail business which he expanded over 35 years. Mr. Mermel is an active member of the Volcano Community Association, serving as past President for two terms. He was instrumental in the fundraising effort to build the Volcano Volunteer Fire Station and was the lead organizer for the new Volcano Transfer Station & Recycling Center. Mr. Mermel also served as President for the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association. Now retired, he volunteers regularly at the Volcano Art Center gallery and as a hospice care worker for Hawaii Care Choices. Mr. Mermel is also a VSAS Governing Board director.
Mara Saltzman is a special education teacher at The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. She served on The Friends of The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences in 2014 through 2017 as a Director, previously serving as secretary. She has recently rejoined the board and has taken a leadership role as Friends of The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences Secretary. Her prior leadership roles on committees include serving as chairperson of a School Community Council at a school in Hilo. Mara Saltzman has lived on the Big Island of Hawai'i over twelve years and she enjoys the small, cohesive community and the embrace of the natural environment at The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences.
With 40 years accounting experience (20 in Hawaiʻi), in public and private accounting, expertise in budgeting, financial and cash flow analysis, project costing and forecasting, systems development, finance, administrative, technical and production group liaison, and a B.Sc. Business Administration - California State University at Northridge, David brings valuable theoretical and hands-on experience to FVSAS. David, as the owner of Goodman Tax Service and as the treasurer of Volcano Health Collaborative, The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, and Volcano Cooper Center, is an active contributor the greater Volcano community.
Lorna was born and raised in Hawaii and studied at Punahou School and University of California Berkeley campus. Upon return to Hawaii in 1962, she received a teaching credential at UH Manoa. Lorna taught for 25 years in Honolulu, most years at Kaimuki High in a federally funded “save the dropouts” program and Farrington High teaching psychology. Lorna received a Master’s degree in the field of Ed Psychology. Lorna moved to Volcano in 1987 with husband Albert to create Kīlauea Lodge, formerly a 1938 - 1962 YMCA and from 1962-1974, Volcano Lodge. Lorna owned and operated the Lodge until retiring in 2018. Albert and Lorna have ten grandchildren.
Melissa Fletcher-Crosson is Owner and Founder of Yurts of Hawai'i, a local business since 2005. She specializes in construction project management with a focus on alternative housing. Melissa has a strong past medical background as an EMT-I and MA, as well as a BA in Psychology from our local University of Hawaii. She and her husband are local to Volcano since 2009. Her husband is 5th generation in Hawaii, she is native to Maine and Arizona.
Aubrey Hawk is a public relations consultant and community volunteer. Much of her professional career has been spent serving non-profit and/or youth-related organizations including Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Aubrey has served as a Director on the Board of Hanahau‘oli School, a private, progressive elementary school in Honolulu; and a Director on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii. Since 2018, she has assisted with the annual Harvest Festival, the signature fundraiser for VSAS. In 2019, she became a volunteer instructor with the international Roots of Empathy program, which aims to reduce bullying and aggression in schools by teaching empathy. During the 2019-20 school year, she is delivering the program to 2nd graders at VSAS. Aubrey is a graduate of ‘Iolani School and holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. Having lived on Oahu since 1972, she and her husband Jeffrey moved to Volcano in 2017.
Matthew D. Luera moved to the Big Island in 1974 after graduating from high school in Visalia, California. He started working in construction in 1977 for Eliot Merk. In 1980, he and his wife, April, moved to Volcano into a house they built at the top of Fern Forest. They raised two daughters who both work for the state. In 1989, Matt got his contractors license and started his own contracting business specializing in custom homes. In 1992, Matt met Boone Morrison to bid on a house that Boone had designed in the Golf Course subdivision. Matt and Boone ended up working together on numerous projects over the next 26 years. It is in honor of Matt's good friend Boone Morrison that he became a part of this Volcano School project and Matt looks forward to its successful completion.
Lynn Melena was born and raised in Hawai’i but spent most of her working life in Denver, Colorado. As a Federal Contracting Officer for over 30 years with U.S. Department of the Interior, she managed teams of contract professionals in Denver and several Western states. She was responsible for a variety of services and equipment, including technology contracts, professional services, and architect-engineer services. She also conducted contract program reviews for Department of Interior offices nationwide on multi-million dollar projects, handled protests, complaints, congressional inquiries, and served as a subject matter expert. Her education includes a Master's degree in Language and Communication and a certificate in Adult Learning from Regis University. Currently, she is a PhD. Candidate in Education at Walden University with a specialization in Learning, Instruction, and Innovation. Lynn served on the VSAS Governing Board for 4 years and continues as an FVSAS member in support of the school building project.