PO Box 590 Rhinebeck, NY 12572 info@cultureconnectrbk.org 845.379.4725

Board of Directors

Ron Carleton

Ron Carleton
Ron is a principal in Financial Training Partners where he teaches company analysis, corporate finance, credit analysis, financial markets, and debt structuring at commercial and investment banks worldwide.  Ron has a background in corporate banking and has extensive experience teaching on the subject of banking and finance in many settings, including as an adjunct professor at New York University.

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Frank Mulhern
Co-Vice President
Frank has 30+ years of experience as a special education teacher and school administrator. He currently serves as an Education Consultant to school districts and human service organizations. Since 1990, Frank has also organized and led international service learning tours for US youth to Scandinavia, South Africa and Tanzania.

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Deirdre Burns
Deirdre is a member of the Rhinebeck Central School District Board of Education, having been elected for five consecutive terms, serving as Board president for two terms. She is a trained mediator with the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, mediating family and small claims cases and facilitating community meetings. Previously, Deirdre has been a community organizer in public housing, a public health educator and a bookseller. She has been a member of the CultureConnect board for 8 years.

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Norm Magnusson
Norm runs Woodstock Organic Concepts, a branding and creative services company that helps local, regional and national companies with all facets of their image management needs; he spearheaded last year’s re-branding and logo development for CultureConnect. He also works as a fine artist who has exhibited his art in museums and galleries all over the world and has been honored with NYSCA, NYFA, and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants, amongst others. He runs our ArtsConnect program, consisting of our annual Veteran’s Day ArtsCrawl and  "Night at the Museum”, a sleep-over at a local museum.

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Isabelle Burkhart
Co-Vice President
Isabelle is a technology professional with a background in product development and user experience disciplines. Isabelle brings non-profit experience to CultureConnect from her various roles working with several non-profit organizations in media, arts and education including the Tucson Museum of Art, Eyebeam Atelier, PANDAtv23, Project ALS, and the Wellness Committee of the Rhinebeck School District.  She has served on the CultureConnect board for over 3 years.

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Jennifer Drake
Jen works as a Senior Program Officer at the Dyson Foundation, a family foundation based in Millbrook, NY, and serves as a commissioner on the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission. Prior to working in philanthropy, Jen worked for a nonprofit organization managing a maternal-infant health program. Jen is a past president of Young Rhinebeck’s board, and has been involved with Young Rhinebeck for over 10 years.

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Henry Frischknecht
Henry is a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Bulkeley Middle School in Rhinebeck, NY.  Henry has created a dynamic program at the middle school about Madagascar and created and leads the Madagascar Connect program for CultureConnect.  Madagascar Connect is a two year education and travel program for high school students to learn about and experience the culture of Madagascar.

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Kathy Sheppard
Kathy works as a Technical Writer at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and worked for many years at JPMorgan Chase as a Lead Technical Writer managing communications programs and projects; chief communications advisor to key executives.  In addition to serving as Treasurer, Kathy brings her writing and editing skills to the CultureConnect board by supporting our grant writing and content development.


Christine Welker
Christine's home base has been Rhinebeck for the last 13 years.  Bilingual in Spanish and English, Christine has done translation work for a bilingual lifestyle magazine and is currently a massage therapist (www.gentlemountain.com) Her extensive, and extended, travels to New Zealand, Spain, the Caribbean, and Mexico have informed her passion for multi-culturalism.  Christine believes with greater exposure to various ways of thinking, creating and being, a person has the opportunity to gain compassion, understanding and empathy. She has been involved with the Omega Institute in various capacities, the last 6 years working at the Wellness Center.


Program Leadership

Wendy Brisley
Program Coordinator, CultureConnect Life,Language, and Learning (LLL) program
Wendy Brisley has focused much of her adult life working with various cultures and economically disadvantaged youth of New York State. Wendy has a MAT from the University of Southern California in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She is pursuing her doctorate in English as a Second Language (ESL) at North Central University. Wendy has had experience in administration working as a Director for a Montessori School on the Seneca Nation Reservation, has been a Family Services Coordinator for Head Start, and was a substitute teacher throughout the Hudson Valley. Wendy is a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society for Education. She presented at the New York State TESOL conference on collaboration between CultureConnect (Young Rhinebeck) and the Rhinebeck School district.

Past Presidents:

Edward J. Sullivan, Ed.D.
An educator for over 40 years, Dr. Sullivan has been an elementary school teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal (of Rhinebeck’s Chancellor Livingston School), and Superintendent of Schools. Currently, he is an Associate Dean for Teacher Education at Marist College.  Dr. Sullivan is the recipient of numerous awards and honors in the field of education.  His doctoral dissertation focused on teacher participation in decision-making and his interests include school management issues, curriculum, and whole child education.