Our STEAM POWER Team and Advisors

Mary Talpas

Executive Director

Mary is the lead for STEAM POWER, building the team, raising funds, creating the program and dedicated to creating opportunities for area youth. Mary is the Chief Operating Officer and Web Designer at Communications4Good, a full service public relations firm serving the sustainability industry. She is responsible for agency operations including finances, process management, and technical support as well as website design and implementation for a wide range of clients. Mary started work in the high tech industry at National Semiconductor and Shugart Associates. Her work at Apple Computer, from 1984 to 1998, included managing the implementation of new products and processes in manufacturing and engineering. Mary has an Associates Degree from Deanza College, Magna Cum Laude, and a B.S. from the University of San Francisco in Information Systems.

Mary is a founding member of 100+ Women Who Care in Santa Cruz and has served as the membership coordinator since the organization started in December 2009. Mary is also a founding member of the Yes & group, helping organize the Miss Representation Viewing Event and Discussion to the MAH. Mary has written and been awarded grants for the Village Bicycle Project – a successful self sustaining and capacity building development project that gives people in Africa a tool to improve their lives by giving them access to affordable transportation.

Mary is excited about bringing STEAM POWER to schools who would do not have access to these programs. “Every child in our society should have exposure and access to STEAM programs so they can be inspired in any one of these study areas, which will be the largest job growth area in our country”.

Phone 831-480-7177

Heather Haggerty

Technology Program Director

Heather, a Technician at Campbell Union School District, is currently implementing a STEAM after school program in her district. Heather will be advising our Team on curriculum they are using that is working for the same target students as our program. She has worked in education for the past 17 years inspiring out of the box thinking and engineering where arts, math, science, and technology work seamlessly to spark creativity and imagination. Heather’s core goal is to give all students a unique experience where technology meets exploration and innovation. She says that she lives a considered life, profoundly tender, passionate and well nourished. Heather is a great resource for any school IT department that is investigating or in the process of incorporating iPads into their education programs.

Tamra Taylor

Superintendent Live Oak School District

Tamra Taylor is in her fourth year as Superintendent of the Live Oak School District in Santa Cruz. Ms. Taylor has established herself as an innovative leader in the education profession by successfully drawing upon her prior administrative experience, solid skills and credentials. She has a passion for improving student learning and achievement through multiple methods, most notably making use of the Cycle of Inquiry. Ms. Taylor has been commended for her leadership initiating the installation of the Promethean Interactive White Boards throughout the District. This innovative project integrates the concepts of 21st Century learning in classrooms. She has been praised for her efforts to use participatory processes to build the necessary consensus to create a results oriented system that is based on effective use of data and strong curriculum and assessment alignment. She has been successful in creating more thriving professional learning communities throughout the district by improving both the teacher collaboration and school planning processes. Ms. Taylor has also worked hard to examine and transform the delivery of special education services in the district by incorporating a Response to Intervention (RTI) program that provides necessary and appropriate support to students, which has in turn reduced the special education referrals.

Ms. Taylor believes deeply in the mission of public education and has been dedicated all of her adult life to this work. Throughout her career she has been successful and known as a teacher who doesn’t just talk the talk, but one who walks the walk, staying highly engaged with principals, parents, teachers and students.

Marilyn Rockey

Principal Del Mar School


Melanie Sluggett

Supervisor Del Mar After School ES Program


Hilary Bryant

Community Advisor, Vice Mayor-City of Santa Cruz

Hilary spent her childhood in a small New Hampshire town, moving with her family to Los Gatos just before entering Los Gatos High School. After graduation from UC Santa Cruz, she met her now husband, Dr. David Shuman, a local veterinarian; together they built Westside Animal Hospital in Downtown Santa Cruz. While helping to establish the business Hilary became a Realtor and Broker Associate at Karon Properties and began to donate time to local causes.

As a Past President and Board Member of Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club, Hilary has worked on local fundraising and community service projects. When the Santa Cruz Beach Flats Community Center lost its public funding in early 2009, Hilary launched two fundraising events and drove other community efforts to aid the organization. Her work resulted in more than $40,000 in donations enabling the Center to continue to provide care, services and after-school programs for children and residents of the Beach Flats Neighborhood. Beach Flats is now under the aegis of Community Bridges.

As a member of the Santa Cruz City Council, Hilary combines her personal knowledge of local outdoor resources, her business experience and her technical expertise to help Santa Cruz with critical issues in tough economic times. In her free time, Hilary enjoys running, cycling, competing in triathlons, surfing, and trying to keep up with her kids in all of their various activities.

Sandy Skees

Public Relations Advisor

Sandy Skees gives established businesses, early stage companies and organizations insight on the intersection of brand, communications and purpose. Sandy creates programs that provide organizations a way to focus, share, and motivate change in the world – change that values people, respects planetary resources and fosters prosperity. The goal is to tell strategic stories that create connections and inspire goodness in a sustainable world. Sandy is on the Advisory Board for Sustainable Life Media, a board member of KUSP Public Radio, founder of Yes& Change Agents and 100+ Women Who Care giving circle, and has appeared as a speaker or guest blogger for Sustainable Brands, Sustainable Minds, West Coast Green, the What’s Next Lecture Series, Dominican University and the California College of the Arts. She spends as much time as she can hiking in forests, sitting on beaches, cooking with others and learning something new every day.

Kirsti Scott

Design Advisor

Kirsti is the Creative Director and founder of web design firm Scott Design, serves as VP of Marketing at the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, and is a co-founder of 100 Women Who Care Santa Cruz. She loves design, marketing, art, travel, technology, TED talks, and things that make her laugh, especially her husband and three kids.