Voices of the Community

Meet our contributors!  

They say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And the same holds true for a community magazine. It takes a village to engage, entertain and, we hope, inspire the community we serve. That’s our mission, and we could not do it without the help of our valued contributors. They do so much more than just write about our community; they live, work and play in our community. They represent the very best of Prescott’s public and private sectors. And, every other month, they bring us the stories and reports that matter. On behalf of our team, our readers and our advertisers, we thank you!


Frank Ayers

Dr. Frank Ayers

Chancellor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Dr. Frank Ayers is the chancellor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus and is responsible for leading more than 2,600 students and 400 employees. Prior to Embry-Riddle, then-Colonel Ayers served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years. He has logged more than 6,000 flight hours in a variety of aircraft types.


Martha Baden

Martha Baden

Manager, Public Services, Prescott Public Library

Martha is library manager, public services at Prescott Public Library. Still enjoying a lifelong love of connecting people with information they need and books they’ll love, she has worked in school or public libraries in four states over the last 20 years.


Melanie Banayat

Melanie Banayat

Founder & CEO, WingSpace, LLC.

Melanie Banayat is the founder & CEO of WingSpace, LLC., and board certified holistic health coach, author, speaker, workshop facilitator and professional artist. Being a “location independent” worker for over 35 years, Melanie is in the process of opening a coworking space in Prescott where independent workers can work together under one roof.


Debora Black

Debora Black

Chief of Police, City of Prescott

Chief Black was appointed chief of police for the City of Prescott in July 2016. Prior to this, she was the chief of police for the City of Glendale, Arizona, where she served since first joining as assistant chief in 2006. Chief Black began her career in 1980 as a patrol officer with Phoenix Police Department. She has been awarded the Medal of Valor, three Medals of Lifesaving and two Police Chief’s Unit Awards.


Rita Carey Rubin, MS, RD, CDE

Rita Carey Rubin, MS, RD, CDE

Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
Yavapai Regional Medical Center

Rita is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the Preventive Medicine Team at Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona. Rita is also the host of Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s popular nutrition program “Your Healthy Kitchen.”


Krista Carman

Krista Carman

Attorney, Carman Law Firm

Krista Carman is an attorney with the Carman Law Firm. She is passionate about her community and is the president of the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation. Krista is married to André, and they have four biological and two foster children.


Tim Carter

Tim Carter

School Superintendent
Yavapai County Education Service Agency

Tim is a lifelong Arizonan, residing in Prescott since 1979. He is in his 43rd year as an educator, serving as a teacher-coach, before serving as the principal of Prescott High School for 12 years. He has served as the elected Yavapai County School Superintendent since 2005.


Quinci Castleberry

Quinci Castleberry

Program Manager, CASA of Yavapai County

Quinci Castleberry is the Program Manager for CASA of Yavapai County. Quinci started out as a CASA volunteer in 2012, then joined the staff in 2013. Her goal is to have a Court Appointed Special Advocate assigned to every child in care in Yavapai County.


Margo Christensen

Margo Christensen

Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations
Ponderosa Hotel Management Services

Margo is vice president of marketing and public relations for Ponderosa Hotel Management Services, LLC. As well, serves on the board of directors for the Prescott Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. She is also a founding member of the City of Prescott Tourism Advisory Committee.


Tim Diesch

Tim Diesch

Marketing Specialist, Yavapai College

Tim has worked in marketing, advertising and tourism promotion in Prescott since 2003. Clients served include the City of Prescott, Prescott Frontier Days and The World’s Oldest Rodeo, The Phippen Museum and Sharlot Hall Museum. Tim has worked to promote enrollment at Yavapai College for the past four years.


John Flicker

John Flicker

President, Prescott College

Formerly the president of the National Audubon Society, John has transitioned from protecting birds to helping sustain a private liberal arts school in Northern Arizona, serving as president of Prescott College. Flicker also worked at the Nature Conservancy for 21 years.


Dennis Gallagher

Dennis Gallagher

Founder and President, Prescott Western Heritage Foundation

Dennis is the founder and president of the Prescott Western Heritage Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, whose mission is to preserve and promote our Western heritage. He is also a Western artist/bronze sculptor, and an active volunteer for numerous community events. He and his wife, MaryAnn, have been married 50 years and have resided in Prescott for 10 years.


Cindy Gresser

Cindy Gresser

Executive Director, The Smoki Museum

Cindy Gresser is the Executive Director of The Smoki Museum. Currently, she also serves the City of Prescott as the Chair of the Art in Public Places Committee. She is involved in many community activities including The Rotary Club of Prescott, Prescott Area Arts and Humanities Council and the Prescott Corral of Westerners.


Sandy Griffis

Sandy Griffis

Executive Director, Yavapai County Contractors Association

Sandy is executive director of Yavapai County Contractors Association, and has lived in the Prescott area for 21 years. Sandy has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and an MBA in business with a minor in music from San Diego State.


Dr. Mary Ellen Halvorson

Dr. Mary Ellen Halvorson

Founder and Superintendent, Tri-City College Prep High School

Mary Ellen, founder and superintendent of Tri-City College Prep High School, received her Doctor of Education from California Coast University. After graduating from NAU, she began her teaching career with Prescott Unified School District. She has also taught at Yavapai Community College and directed programs for the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe.


Richard Heath

Richard Heath

Executive Director, NAU-Prescott Valley campus

Richard is the executive director of the NAU-Prescott Valley campus and administrative lead for the Community Development and Sustainability (CDSY) Program. He has worked full-time for NAU since October 2016. He has 27 years of experience working in community and economic development and organizational management.


Sheri L. Heiney

Sheri L. Heiney

President/CEO, Prescott Chamber of Commerce

Sheri was hired as the President/CEO of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce in January 2017. She moved to Arizona from Michigan, and has over 23 years of chamber professional experience.


Joe Howard

Joe Howard

Superintendent, Prescott Unified School District

A Prescott High School alum, Joe has been in the Prescott area for 30 years total. Joe started his teaching career in Chino Valley, then became the principal at Prescott Mile High Middle School. He then served for five years as assistant superintendent. Joe is currently in his first year of superintendency and is focused on success for all students.


Jason Kadah

Jason Kadah

Communications and Marketing Director, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Jason Kadah is the communications and marketing director at Embry-Riddle. Prior to joining ERAU in 2014, he was a television meteorologist and news reporter for more than 15 years for a variety of local TV stations across the country, including the Phoenix/Prescott market.


Ken Lain

Ken Lain

Owner, Watters Garden Center

Ken grew up in Prescott, attended Yavapai College and obtained his degrees from ASU. He married his college sweetheart Lisa Watters-Lain and has four children. His garden advice can be heard each week on the radio. Throughout the week, Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center.


Dennis B. Light

Dennis B. Light

Fire Chief, Prescott Fire Department

Dennis B. Light is the fire chief with the City of Prescott and a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and ASU Certified Public Manager Program. He is also a Certified Fire Officer via the Center for Public Safety Excellence.


Kyle Maestri

Kyle Maestri

Headmaster, Trinity Christian School

Kyle Maestri is the headmaster of Trinity Christian School (K-12). He is a teacher, mentor and leader at heart. His undergraduate studies are in philosophy and theology and his graduate degree is in educational leadership. He and his wife, Anni, live in Chino Valley with their four daughters.


Sandy Moss

Sandy Moss

Sandy & Friends Host, AZTV

Sandy moved to Prescott in the early 90s, and became a reporter at The Daily Courier. After 10 years, she went to work for a local radio station doing broadcasting, including a live, hour-long daily show “Q&A with Sandy Moss.” In 2014, she became the host of AZTV’s “Morning Scramble,” now “Sandy and Friends.” In 2012, she published the book “The Terrible Loyalty.”


Ray Newton

Ray Newton

Journalist and Professor-Administrator Emeritus, Northern Arizona University

A veteran of mass media ranging from weekly and daily newspapers to directing writing workshops for the Reader’s Digest, from book editing to book writing — Ray has been there. He is a professor-administrator emeritus from Northern Arizona University, now retired and residing in Prescott with his wife, Patty.


Harry Oberg

Harry Oberg

Mayor, City of Prescott

Harry was born in Laramie, Wyoming in 1947. He grew up in Prescott, Arizona. After being drafted in 1966, Harry served 33 years in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard. Harry and his wife Jeanna returned to Prescott in 2007 and he was elected Mayor in August 2015.


Billie Orr, EdD

Billie Orr, EdD

City Council Member, City of Prescott

Billie Orr, EdD, currently serves on the Prescott City Council and had professional careers in banking, education and nonprofits. She has spent decades advocating for children, parents, teachers and high academic standards at the local, state and national levels.


Jim Robb

Jim Robb

Consultant Economic Development, City of Prescott

Jim is an experienced senior executive, business development professional and deal-maker, who has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for organizations over the last 20 years. He is connected to senior executives across private equity, venture capital and over a dozen industries.


Melissa Ruffner

Melissa Ruffner

Historian and Author

Melissa was born in Prescott and is the progeny of pioneers and peacekeepers, miners, historians, authors, teachers, entertainers, community activists and volunteers. She encourages you to choose a way to contribute to “Everybody’s Hometown” and use Prescott LIVING as your handbook.


John Scholl

John Scholl

Superintendent, Chino Valley Unified School District

John is starting his second year as superintendent with Chino Valley Schools, having just completed his 20th year with the District. During his tenure at CVUSD he has also served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and business manager. John is married and has a daughter who currently attends ASU.


Jane Anne Shimizu

Jane Anne Shimizu

Marketing Director, Gunsite Academy

Jane Anne Shimizu is the Marketing Director of Gunsite Academy. She has been involved with the shooting sports since the early 90s. Jane Anne is an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and believes in safe responsible gun ownership through training.


Harvey Skoog

Harvey Skoog

Mayor, Prescott Valley

Harvey Skoog served as Prescott Valley Mayor from 1993 to 1998, and was again elected in 2004. He was re-elected in 2005, 2009 and again in 2013. His current term expires in December 2018. He was most recently a tax accountant and business consultant and has served in many leadership roles on various industry and government boards.


Helen Stephenson

Helen Stephenson

Film and Media Arts Director, Yavapai College

Helen Stephenson is the film and media arts director at Yavapai College. She is YouTube certified and teaches the YouTube content and marketing class for FMA. Her “volunteer gig” is running the Prescott Film Festival, where she serves as founder and executive director. She lives in Yavapai County with her husband, Don, and daughter, Danielle.


Dan Streeter

Dan Streeter

Superintendent, Humboldt Unified School District

Dan is serving in his third year as superintendent for the largest school district in Yavapai County. Prior to this, he served as an assistant superintendent and principal for HUSD. Streeter currently serves as a board member for the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters and Support our Schools AZ.


Charlie Tardibuono

Charlie Tardibuono

Executive Vice President, Business and Technology Development for the Robb Group

Charlie is an experienced business development professional and technologist, who has built large and small technology companies and departments in many industries, founded businesses and led organizations at C-level positions. Charlie is working in partnership with Jim Robb to write the next component of the economic development plan for the Greater Prescott Area focusing on the technology industry.


Fred Veil

Fred Veil

Executive Director, Sharlot Hall Museum

Fred is the executive director of the Sharlot Hall Museum. He is a Marine Corps veteran and former Sheriff of the Prescott Corral of Westerners International, he conceived and organized the Western History Symposium. He is a board member of the Arizona History Convention and member of the Tourism Advisory Committee for the City of Prescott.


Tori Ward

Tori Ward

ROX Travel, Cruise and Resort Specialist

Victoria “Tori” Ward is a cruise and resort specialist with a master’s degree in political science. She has completed more than 30 certification courses with the cruise and tour industry including the most advanced certification, Commodore, from Princess Cruise Lines. Tori is a member of the Cruise Line International Association.


Patrick Wellert

Patrick Wellert

Principal, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center

Patrick Wellert is in his fifth year as principal at AAEC – Prescott Valley. He is proud to call this area his home for the last 16 years, since graduating from The University of Arizona. He is married to the love of his life, Leanne, and together they have one son. Patrick strives to always do what is best for kids.


Prescott Parks & Rec Department

Prescott Parks & Rec Department

  • Samara Rice-Cummings, Recreation Services Administrative Specialist
  • Patti Crouse, Recreation Services Administrative Coordinator
  • Rick Hormann, Recreation Services Supervisor
  • Michelle Stacy-Schroeder, Recreation Services Coordinator
  • Kelly Tolbert, Recreation Services Coordinator