Our team consists of a small but committed batch of folks.

Lucy Soderstrom, Program Director

Lucy is a recent transplant to Ely, and was initially drawn to the Ely Folk School because of its encouragement of the curious mind. She serves as Director at EFS, organizing and helping execute classes. If you have any questions about upcoming classes or want to see a class that isn’t currently on the curriculum, she’ll help you out! She loves the opportunity to work with folks of diverse creative backgrounds. 

Alexia Springer, Program Coordinator

Alexia Springer helps coordinate classes and puts together the monthly newsletters along with updating the website and social media accounts. Alexia enjoys teaching classes in outdoor education and many different creative outlets including earring making, foraging, and mending.

Brett Ross, Mercantile Manager

An Ely resident since 1998, Brett has raised two children here, been involved with a number of area non-profit organizations, a youth sports coach and mentor, photographer, radio broadcaster and podcaster. He has a passion for trails- mountain biking, Nordic skiing, hiking and trail running- and thrives on giving back to the Ely community that has given so much to him.

Rick Anderson, Board Member

Life-long Ely resident and member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. My wife Polly and I share the joy of four daughters and their families. Love the land and water and all the life it supports. Avid hunter, fisher, and gatherer of the gifts of the Creator. As comfortable in the company of people as in the solitude of nature. Heaven on earth is time spent on Burntside Lake and cruising the Echo Trail. Miigwech

Ozzie Reif, Board Member

Ozzie is proud to call Ely his home after spending time on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the country.  He first fell in love with the area while leading portage trail restoration crews in between his academic years at Lewis and Clark College.  Ozzie has a passion for learning and teaching outdoor and traditional skills and is excited about how the Ely Folk School brings people together and fosters community.

Johnnie Hyde, Board Member

Johnnie Hyde is the owner of Raven Words Press, publisher of the Ely Summer and Winter Times and the Boundary Waters and Quetico Calendar. She is active in several arts organizations in Ely and also works as a wildland firefighter. In spring, she teaches the Spring Wild Edibles class.

Sarah Paro, Board Member

I’m a lifelong resident of northern Minnesota, formerly of Duluth, seasonally in Ely for 20 years, and a permanent Ely resident since 2016.  The folk school is so inspiring because it embraces and promotes such a wide variety of talents and skills in the community.  It’s down to earth and values people, and I’m so glad to be a part of this great organization and happy to do whatever I can to help! 

Paul Schurke, Board Member

Paul Schurke (& spouse Susan Hendrickson) founded and operate Wintergreen Northern Wear and Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely.  Paul has been a founder and/or board member of many nonprofits including Wilderness Inquiry, Wilderness Education Association, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, Minnesota Land Trust, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center and Ely’s International Wolf Center.

Steve Klar, Board Member

Steve and his wife Roberta, both architects, have been seasonal residents in the Ely area since 2003. They reside on Birch Lake in a home that they designed and built in 2019. Steve having grown up on a lake in southern Minnesota, now spends as much time outside as possible. He likes to bike, run, waterski, kayak, fish, and snow ski. A graduate of the University of Minnesota school of Architecture, he has had his own firm in Clearwater Florida for over 30 years. 

Chris Clemens, Board Treasurer

Long time analyst/architect in healthcare and financial services helping business and technology leaders create innovative solutions; Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Hamline University; Charles L. Sommers alumni; lifetime Minnesota resident and recent Ely homeowner enjoying all that the area has to offer; excited to help the Ely Folk School thrive in its mission to curate and invigorate the traditions and culture of northern Minnesota.

Lacey Squier, Board Member

Lacey Squier is a member of the board, and an instructor in the culinary arts program. Lacey has a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel, and enjoys applying her professional background to helping Ely Folk School students learn, develop, and grow.

Pam Kewley, Accounting

Pam was looking for a way to get involved with the Ely community when she became aware of the Ely Folk School and the excellent classes that were offered, and began volunteering as an ambassador. However, she then learned that the folk school also needed someone for various bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Pam is partially retired now, doing the same type of work for the folk school she did in another career. “I have to say that the Ely Folk School is a great place to learn new things or just hang out, and I am very much enjoying living and working here in dog-friendly Ely – a wonderful place to be!