Who We Are
A Talented Team That Has Fun Promoting Play
Pure Play Every Day was founded in 2017 to empower pure play for every child, so they could reap the intellectual, emotional and social benefits inherent in self-guided, unstructured play. Along the way, we’ve expanded to include adults because play is no less important and beneficial as we grow older.
Led by our founder Patty Stine, Pure Play Every Day has grown to include a talented, dedicated staff, as well as our Board of Directors and Advisory Council.
Together, we’re always looking for new ways to share the benefits of Pure Play Every Day.
Meet Our Staff
Patty Stine – Executive Director
Patty is dedicated to helping children thrive emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually. Throughout her more than 30-year career as a play environment designer, preschool teacher, curriculum developer, administrator and entrepreneur, Patty has focused on empowering others to give children an abundance of playfully engaging learning opportunities. This organization allows her to bring open-ended, self-directed play using loose parts to community events and to provide hands-on, engaging training workshops for adults to help them understand the benefits and value of play for children. Patty advocates for the children in her community and across the nation through her role as a Play Ambassador for the U.S. Play Coalition, Outreach Chairman for the Charles County Early Childhood Advisory Council and member of the Charles County Commission for Women.
Stacie Burch, Ph. D. – Development Director
Stacie holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University, a M.A. in Human Development and Education from the George Washington University, and a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Trinity College. She has worked in the field of education for over thirty years, with learners of all ages, birth through adult. She has held the position of nanny, teacher’s aide, lead teacher, Childcare center educational director, kindergarten and first grade teacher, PrK-8 grade school principal, and college instructor. Her most recent positions have been with the Anne Arundel Community College TEACH Institute where she served as the Assistant Director for Child Care Training and Director over all teacher and childcare provider credit and non-credit education. She is a Quality Assurance Specialist with Maryland EXCELS too. Stacie has a variety of writing, consulting, and training experience.
Rachel Davis – Lead Program Assistant
Rachel Davis is a recent graduate of Sweet Briar College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in performing arts and creative writing.
Lynda Strain – Operations Specialist
Lynda is a life-long resident of Maryland. She was raised in District Heights and lived in various counties throughout her young adult life. She moved to Calvert County in 2008. In 2017, Lynda earned an Associates Degree in Accounting from the College of Southern Maryland with high honors.
While working for the City of Alexandria Government, Lynda worked in the Department of General Services and the Finance Department. Lynda has 18 years printing and bindery experience working closely with graphic designers and proofreading their work. She also has several years managing the Mailroom Operation Division and working in the Administration Division before being promoted to the Finance Department as a Management Analyst II. Lynda served as the Communications Officer for the Department of General Services for several years and was responsible for maintaining the Department’s website. In 2018, Lynda was nominated and selected to serve on the Supplemental Pension Board for the City of Alexandria. She retired from the City of Alexandria Government in October 2019 after a 30-year career. She remains a board member on the Supplemental Pension Board for the City of Alexandria Government employees as a retired member.
In retirement, Lynda has spent most of her time volunteering at a food pantry and other community organizations helping to improve the basic needs of individuals and families. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two golden retriever dogs.
Stefan Telford – Program Manager
Stefan values the development of children through creative and life-giving activities. He has worked with children and families for over eight years. Having a mud day in the classroom or providing water play indoors on a rainy day is one example of Stefan’s approach.
Seeing children and families have fun and learn all at the same time encourages him to design activities for them. Helping children and families learn in a fun, creative, and safe environment and contributing to their growth and development is his passion.
Michelle Davis – Communications Specialist
Michelle Davis started working with Pure Play Every Day as a part-time contractor in March 2022. Duties include social media messaging and graphic design. In her spare time, Michelle likes to go to local state parks to journal, take photos and play her sound bowl. She has three daughters, a 5-year-old granddaughter, 2 dogs, a rabbit, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree!
Betsy Adeboyejo – Director of Communications
Betsy Adeboyejo started as a volunteer for Pure Play Every Day along with her daughter. Her desire to see all children have opportunities to learn and grow inspired her to share PPED’s mission. Betsy is a former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, strategic communications manager and political speechwriter. She continues to advise on high-level strategic communications in her role as a member/advisor on various boards.
In 2021, she was appointed to the Charles County Commission for Women, where she serves as chair of social media and strategic communications and co-chair of the scholarship committee. The one-time hot air balloonist and former marathoner is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Political Science. She earned an MBA from Trinity Washington University.
Mary Farber – Operations Manager
Mary Farber, our Operations Manager, first started with Pure Play Every Day as a volunteer. Her work and volunteer experiences over the past decade include teaching 5th grade, working in a pre-k program sponsored by a military base, directing Vacation Bible School on Joint Base Andrews for four years, and serving as director of Andrews’ Home Educators home-schooling co-op, where she taught classes to children of different ages. Additionally, Mary served as a key spouse for the Air National Guard Bureau.
Originally from Nebraska, she has two daughters who still live there, and she currently resides with her husband, son, and numerous animals. Mary earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Julie Dobies – President
Julie is a Territory Manager for Kaplan Early Learning in the Maryland, D.C. and Delaware region. She has a background in sales and teaching and has a Maryland teaching certification for Pre-K to 8th grade in Language Arts. Play is a significant part of learning and living, so she enjoys volunteering with Pure Play Every Day events.
Brian VanDongen, CPRP – Vice President
Brian VanDongen is the Assistant Director of Recreation at Readington Township in New Jersey. He believes everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle regardless of age or ability. By creating, implementing, teaching, and supervising fun, engaging, and interactive recreation programs and events for residents, this goal can be met. It is important to provide access to safe and welcoming parks and to assess the needs of communities and research current recreation participation trends to engage children and adults in popular, wanted, and needed recreational programming.
Beth Gililand – Secretary
Beth is an Account Executive for KNC Marketing in Waldorf. She is a graduate of University of Maryland (UMGC) and has lived in Charles County for 30 years. She has two sons who also live in Maryland. Beth has worked in real estate and insurance and currently in marketing and sales. She and her partner have 2 dogs and enjoy golfing together.
Mark T. Gardner, Esq. – Member
Mark is a widowed father of three living in Southern California and practicing law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. He enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Andrew Fitzgerald – Treasurer
Andrew Fitzgerald is the founder and president of Nine 30 Consulting, a local defense contracting small business providing financial management and data analytics. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MBA from Johns Hopkins and over 20 years of experience in financial management. After meeting Patty through the Leadership Southern Maryland program, he joined the Board of Directors and then assumed duties as the Treasurer.
Charnae Betton – Program Assistant & Volunteer Manager
Charnae Betton, taught school readiness to 4-5 year olds for five years and taught performing & visual arts for K-5th graders in after-school programs in New York City. Charnae has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management & Administration with a minor in Art. She has spent most of her career managing events and performing in her spare time. A mother of a 1-year-old, Charnae serves as our Program Assistant & Volunteer Manager.
Ajah Cooper – Program Assistant
Anu Panchumarty – Member
Anu became interested and joined the PPED board in March 2020 after a brief interaction at PMDoS (Project Management Day of Service) conducted at University of Maryland. She is PMP certified and has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and is currently pursuing a professional career with a Satellite communications company in Germantown. Anu and her family (spouse and two teenagers) love traveling, gardening, ice-skating and creative arts. Anu likes to engage in campaigns that promote recycle and reuse activities.
As she grew up in many parts of the Indian subcontinent as well as Africa, playing with children of diverse cultures, she realized that the joy of play is universal. She is a firm believer that play is activity in which means are more valued than ends. Play is activity conducted primarily for its own sake. Every child is entitled to this exhilarating experience for their holistic development.
Alexandra (Alex) Sandoval, M.S.
Through her work thus far, Alex has studied the important benefits of recreation and play through a wide array of different opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Alex is currently a PhD Candidate at Clemson University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, with a concentration in Youth Development Programs. As a doctorate student focused on the benefits of afterschool programs for young people, Alex currently researches the impact of out-of-school time programming to foster connection and a sense of belonging for participating youth.
During her time thus far at Clemson, Alex has had an active role with the U.S. Play Coalition, assisting with research articles and play events in the Clemson area. She served as the U.S. Play Coalition’s Marsha A. Ward Fellow for both 2017-18 & 2018-19, and played an integral role in the planning and execution of the U.S. Play Coalition Conference on the Value of Play.
Sheila, an Early Childhood Development Specialist, graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Education. She has worked as a homecare provider, a preschool teacher and director, a before and after school group leader, a director and coordinator. Sheila has also been a supervisor of a Family Support Program, and a public school teacher. She is currently an approved MSDE trainer, a Zero to Three trainer, a certified PreK and Toddler CLASS observer, and an Early Childhood Coach.
She has also worked for Robert Leslie Publishing Company as a consultant and trainer for their curriculum. Sheila has enjoyed working with children and students of all ages in a variety of educational settings for over 25 years. She has been proud of her work with Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education to support the roll out of the Early Learning Assessment in Maryland and the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment in Maryland and other states. Sheila’s work as an MSDE approved trainer, and a trainer and coach for the new MSDE PreK curriculum, Children Study Their World, allows her to share her passion for education with individuals dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children.
Sandra joined the Kiddie Academy Education Department in May 2017 as the Director of Training. She brings more than 25 years of experience in teaching, directing, and training in the field of early childhood education. Sandra holds a degree in Speech Language Pathology with a minor in Education. She has spent many years working with centers to promote inclusion in the classroom. As Director of Training, she organizes the franchisee and director training programs, delivers training throughout the United States in person and via webinar, and develops new training modules for the Kiddie Academy System.
Antonio (Tony) Malkusak
Landscape Architect and President, Abundant Playscapes
Antonio (Tony) Malkusak, ASLA, CPSI is a Landscape Architect receiving his degree from the University of Illinois. He started his career in parks & recreation and brings over 33 years of experience in creating & ensuring safe outdoor play environments. Currently, Tony is owner of his own consulting & design company, Abundant Playscapes, which specializes in the creation of inclusive play environments, connecting children, families, and communities to the natural world through play. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on inclusive play, play environment design, and playground safety.
A native of Indiana, Carrie holds degrees in English and Secondary Education from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN). She served several years as a children’s librarian at the Glenview Public Library (Chicago, IL) as well as a school librarian and instructional coach in public schools in Indianapolis, IN. She is passionate about developing early literacy and critical thinking skills in youth through library programs that nurture family engagement and inquiry-based learning, often through partnerships that include early childcare providers, schools, and other community organizations. Carrie currently lives in Baltimore, and is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Maryland State Library, where she consults closely with Maryland public librarians and library staff regarding youth services.
Chris Swanson, Ed.D.
Dr. Chris Swanson is the Executive Director of the IDEALS Institute in the Johns Hopkins School of Education, and a creator of the International Teaching and Global Learning cohort promoting graduate exchange toward master’s degrees in early childhood, digital-age teaching, and creative education. He leads a team of experts focused on improving the quality of care and education globally, with emphasis on improving cross-sector collaboration around health, social services, care and teaching for young children and vulnerable adults. Swanson’s key projects and publications are in the area of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, including the Maryland EXCELS model, and how those systems can be leveraged to promote access to high-quality child care and preschool programming for all children regardless of their developmental ability, and how these initiatives can be parlayed into increased professionalization of the workforce through workforce registries and competency-based professional growth models. Swanson is a social entrepreneur, believing that sustainable public policy can be achieved through promoting wide-scale adoption of promising practices that are shared across states and agencies, and attracting Pay for Success investments from the private sector. Before joining Hopkins, he served as the principal for the National Connections Academy School, a flagship virtual public and private hybrid program operated by Connections Academy, a provider of online charter schools. Prior to that role, he was the director of professional development and instructional supports, overseeing all teacher training and RTI initiatives for the company’s 6,000 teachers and 100,000 students nationwide. In addition, he was an autism and cognitive delay specialist in the central office of Baltimore County Public Schools after being a classroom English teacher, special educator, and inclusion resource teacher/behavior specialist.
Angela Novak Ph.D.
Dr. Angela Novak is an Assistant Professor and AIG Coordinator at East Carolina University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in education, focusing on assessment practices and gifted education. One of Angela’s research interests is play, in particular, the connections of giftedness, creativity, equity, and play. She has worked in public education in the gifted field as a classroom teacher, resource teacher, and central office support, as well as in the private non-profit sector of gifted education. She is an equity advocate, and is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network, part of the National Center for Institutional Diversity.
Attie graduated from Marshall University with majors in Special Education and Elementary Education. She has taught in four different states, both private and public schools. She started in ECE when her children were in pre-school. Working with children to have a positive attitude and to experience the joy of learning is her first love. She has served on the Board of Directors for The Promise Resource Center; has been an active participant with MAEYC and served on the committees for the workshops they presented; is a member of ECAC; served in Rotary in all officer positions including Presidency and Assistant Governor and on the Admin Council of La Plata United Methodist Church. Prior to opening her own program in 2004, she grew her nephew’s program from 30 to over 300 children in three different Maryland counties, started a program for her church in Knoxville, was assistant director of a hospital corporation child care program and was the Principal of a private preschool.
Dominique NC Lewis – Member
Dominique is an Organizational Consultant with NC Planning and Consulting. She has spent her career working with children and youth programs with goals of supporting holistic and healthy development. She and her family reside in the Kansas City Metro area and are active in sports recreation and traveling.
She holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Oklahoma State University, and she is certified in Non-profit Management. With Dominique’s long-term experience working in varied environments, she has gained a perspective about the importance of inclusive learning, intentional teaching and honoring play within the classroom.
Locally, Dominique is involved with the state of Missouri’s initiative to form a Childhood Partnership Network. She also serves on the Kansas Early Childhood Recommendations Panel. She is a professional consultant in matters of Early Childhood Access and Equity and Non-Profit Organizational Development.
Mia Bowers – Member
Mia Bowers is the executive director of Community Mediation of St. Mary’s County. Mia is a hardworking and dependable community leader with a strong record of having an impact on those around her. For more than a decade, Mia has demonstrated her passion by serving the community in a variety of ways.
As a member of the Transformative Mediation community, Mia has been trained to conduct mediation including but not limited to Child Access; Attendance; Re-entry; Property; and District Court (landlord/tenant, small claims, peace orders). In addition to mediation, Mia is also a skilled facilitator trained to provide facilitation for large/small groups; IEP (Individualized Education Plans); and community conversations. When Mia is not encouraging others to volunteer or donate to local causes, she enjoys curling up to a good book, listening to live music, watching movies, and exploring new foods.
Susan Petroff – Member
Susan is a nonprofit professional, fortunate to work with extraordinarily dedicated colleagues in improving educational outcomes and the quality of life for children, adults and families. Currently, a consultant specializing in program and fund development, she has a background in programs, education, grantmaking, development and communications.
She has held senior positions with the Charles County Charitable Trust, the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education, the National Center for Disabilities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting System.
She has led and participated in initiatives that have resulted in a pre-service teacher performance assessment that has been adopted by several states; the Response to Intervention Action Network, which seeks to advance and support the implementation of multi-tiered instructional and behavioral models in schools across the nation; Reading Is Fundamental’s first distance learning network for over 5,000 parent and teacher volunteers across the nation; and the PBS Ready to Learn Service, which serves children, parents, childcare providers and PK-early elementary teachers.
Meet Our Board
“Play is the work of the child.”
— Maria Montessori
Physician and Educator
Tamara is a brand marketing and communications leader with experience in driving organizational strategies to increase awareness, engagement, and action among key audiences. She started her career in brand management in the consumer goods industry for Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive in New York before following her personal passions to apply her professional expertise to the social good space in Washington DC. She has since worked for mission-driven nonprofits, including Safe Kids Worldwide, who positively impact the lives of people of color, women, and children.
In Tamara’s current role of Vice President, Marketing and Communications, she leads a team that is focused on raising awareness of its mission to end playspace inequity through thought leadership, brand development, digital/social media engagement, and impactful storytelling.
Tamara holds a BS in Marketing from Hampton University, and lives in Washington DC with her husband and children.