Joshua Tree National Park Association

Staff

Jacqueline Guevara, Executive Director

Jacqueline Guevara

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jacqueline Guevara has nearly 30 years experience in non-profit management. Her passion for the desert, coupled with her extensive background in social services, makes her a strong advocate for protecting public lands while promoting education of diverse audiences about the lands and their historical, cultural, and recreational values. A 42-year desert resident, Jacqueline lived in the Morongo Basin for 20 years before relocating to Desert Hot Springs, where she currently lives with her family.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Erin Campbell

Director of retail

Erin Campbell fell in love with Joshua Tree during a visit in 2018. She and her husband were so drawn to the area that they immediately relocated and made a home in Landers. Erin is a wife to Joe Alvarez and has 5 daughters and 5 grandchildren. She is a retail expert with over 25 years of experience in her field. She is also a fashion designer and is heavily involved in the local artist community. Her passion for wildlife and nature gives her a strong calling to help protect our beautiful surroundings. Erin is extremely honored to be a part of the JTNPA team.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Christine Grimes

Director of Development

Christine Grimes is a Joshua Tree native, wife, and mother of two. Growing up here, she spent a lot of her outdoors, exploring and becoming familiar with the desert’s unique landscape. Prior to working with JTNPA, Christine worked for a prestige cosmetic company for over 11 years, where she developed her management, marketing, and merchandising skills. She takes great pride in working to protect and spread awareness about the importance of preserving sacred places like Joshua Tree National Park and is thrilled to be a part of JTNPA! 

Always live by the words of Margaret Mead “never doubt that a small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Neil Xu

Director of Finance

Neil Xu, the Finance Manager for Joshua Tree National Park Association joined us in 2022. In this role, Neil will manage all aspects of the organization’s financial analysis, forecasting, and fund management, working closely with the executive director, director of business operations, management team, and staff to provide oversight, guidance, and problem-solving assistance on financial systems, procedures, and reports. Neil holds a Bachelor of Economics in Financial Engineering from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics and a Master of Finance from the University of California, Riverside. He is looking forward to his new position and life in the high desert. Besides his daily work, he is also an archer, leather craftsman, and music lover.

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Dr. Justin Lenzi, Director of Education

Justin Lenzi, Ed. D

Director of Education

Justin Lenzi, Ed. D is a transformative educational leader, curriculum specialist, and instructional designer living in Palm Springs, CA. Justin began his teaching career in San Francisco and spent 15 years educating K-8 students in various capacities. With a passion for all things STEAM, he has developed expertise in science instruction, group worthy tasks, complex lesson development, and arts integration. Most recently, Justin has been teaching adults as an adjunct professor with the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute. Justin recently earned a doctorate in educational leadership from San Francisco State University. His research investigated how a design-based arts integration toolkit, embedded with Universal Design for Learning and Culturally Responsive teaching frameworks, helped K-5 teachers augment core subject curriculum to better meet the diverse needs of students. Justin has also spent many years producing LGBTQ+ events and fundraisers. When he’s not teaching, reading, or researching, Justin enjoys modular synthesis and adventures with his dog, Shiva.

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Benazir Erdahl

Desert Institute Manager

Benazir Erdahl (Benny) grew up as a city girl in Orange County, and has been a California native all her life. She moved to the desert in 2011 and was smitten with the deserts cultural history, geography, and art culture. She moved away in 2014 only to realize that the desert was calling her back. She has spent the last few years working for the Joshua Tree National Park Association starting as an Information Specialist in 2021, and now coordinates/manages meaningful educational programs, volunteers, and instructor’s with Desert Institute since 2022. Benny is an avid outdoor enthusiast and loves to kayak, hike, and explore all the wonders of world with her family on her down time. She is first generation born in the United States from both maternal and paternal, and embraces her nationality and heritage from Mexico to the Philippines. She has studied Administration in Criminal Justice and Liberal Arts: Science and Mathematics at Copper Mountain College and has volunteered for the American Red Cross as a Disaster Response Team Member. Desert Institute is her passion and she looks forward to connecting with you on your next outdoor adventure!

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Brandy Dyess

CONTENT MANAGER

Brandy Dyess joined JTNPA in the spring of 2021. Prior to moving to Joshua Tree, Brandy worked as the administrative director at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Photography & Imaging, as a grants analyst for The California Endowment and in the ABC Entertainment finance division of The Walt Disney Company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a certificate in fundraising from UCLA.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jamie Cole

VISITOR SERVICES MANAGER

Jamie has extensive retail management and customer service experience. She handles all aspects of leading, training, and developing our team of information specialists to ensure a rewarding experience for our visitors. Jamie was born in Great Falls, Montana, and spent her youth moving all over the United States. In 1983, she married and moved to Twentynine Palms. It immediately felt like home to her, and she has been here ever since. She has three wonderful children and two grandchildren. 

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Lizette Bautista

BUYER

Lizette joined JTNPA in 2023. She has nearly five years of experience in retail buying and over 20 years of experience in customer service, account management, and retail operations. Frequent visits to Joshua Tree National Park were the catalyst to her becoming a permanent resident of the high desert. Lizette loves music, hiking, and traveling to new places. She is excited about her new role with JTNPA and becoming more involved with the park and her new community.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Reilly Powell

Marketing Coordinator

Reilly is a queer creative born in the desert of Southern Utah and reared in the magic of the Mojave. Reilly is a lifelong creative writer and marketer with 10 years of experience. They specialize in developing and articulating brand, compliance, and style standards. They are passionate about using their skills to empower conscientious and intentional action. Their experience includes marketing in some of the most notoriously tricky industries, like finance, government, and medicine. You can find them in the pottery studio, napping with their cat, wondering at the night sky, advocating with local and national organizations, or reciting unsolicited fun facts. Did you know that cacti use their spines for shade?

Pronouns: They / Them / Theirs

Tara Sunderland

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Tara has been exploring Joshua Tree since 2013, and finally became a high desert resident last year. She has over 10 years of experience providing executive and administrative support across multiple industries. Tara loves hiking, camping, animals, and all things outdoors. Prior to settling here, she spent some time traveling on the road with her husband and 2 dogs in their truck camper.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Lexe McCally

OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Lexe McCally is a lover of the outdoors, an avid hiker and a worldwide traveler who has cherished the desert from a young age. Since moving to Pipes Canyon in 2020, Lexe continues to fall deeper in love with the magic of the Mojave Desert. Lexe loves exploring national, state and local parks, and is so excited to be the Outreach Coordinator for the Joshua Tree National Park Association. Previous to the JTNPA, Lexe spent many years studying herbal medicine, holistic nutrition and yoga therapy. Her professional career has varied from property management to personal assisting and over 10 years of retail customer service. Outside of work, Lexe enjoys painting, movement, meditation and exploring all the wonders of the beautiful desert landscape. Lexe looks forward to using her skills to support and protect Joshua Tree National Park and its surrounding communities.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Cindy Cunningham

ASSISTANT BUYER

Cindy Cunningham is the Assistant Buyer for Joshua Tree National Park Association, and has been with the organization since 2014. Part of Cindy’s job is to bring in new and exciting products to our visitor centers. She also runs the JTNPA main Instagram account. “Making our visitors happy is our number one priority.”

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Cathy Johnson

Retail Clerk

.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Jesse Suddreth

Warehouse Specialist/Merchandiser

Jesse Suddreth is a resident of Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree for his entire life, Jesse is married and the father of two children. He invests significant time and effort into coaching and training his kids, imparting valuable life lessons, and nurturing their athletic abilities. Jesse’s unwavering dedication to his children’s future accomplishments fuels his purpose in life.

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Ismael Pantaleon

Warehouse Specialist/Merchandiser

Ismael Pantaleon has been a resident of the high desert for nearly a decade.  He joins JTNPA with an extensive background in Warehouse Operations.  In his free time he enjoys exploring the park with his wife and son.

Pronouns: He / Him / His

Patty Angel Somerville

MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR

Patty Angel Somerville, a California native and resident of the Morongo Basin, is an animal lover, big sister, and is enamored with the desert night sky. She began working for the Joshua Tree National Park Association as an Information Specialist in 2016. She has been the Association’s Office Assistant, Desert Institute Assistant, Office Manager and is now extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve as the Membership Coordinator. Patty loves learning, exploring, and researching ways to make the member and donor experience most pleasant, and enjoys engaging with park supporters on a daily basis.

Pronouns: She / Her / Hers

Dez Ramirez, Curator

Dez Ramirez

¡Artistas Afuera! Event Curator

Dez is a Mexican-American/Chicana writer, poet and artist based in the West. She’s had a decade-long career as a writer, DJ, activist, community organizer, environmental leader, and creator. Dez’s latest body of work is titled “Night Stories” a collection of short stories,  essays and prose about life as single mother raising her daughter in the Mojave Desert.

Pronouns: She / Her / They

Information Specialists

Angela Cutts

Obadiah Adams

Oana Hoskinds

Lori Davis-Richard

Kaliyah Cheek

Grace Bjerke

Elaine Harris

Destinee Poteat-Hamilton

Cathryn Jacob

Rebecca Siefker

Thomas Elkins

Maria Gutier

Ashley Meynhardt

Lucas Jack Guevara

Cheyenne Hepler

Krista Cheek

Maung Lay

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