MGCC Board of Directors

The MGCC Board of Directors is an elected body that governs the Macalester-Groveland Community Council. Each year at the Annual Meeting, a third of the board is elected to a 3-year term by Mac-Grove Community Members.

For more information about joining the Macalester-Groveland Community Council Board of Directors, contact staff at 651-695-4000 or mgcc@macgrove.org . Board membership is defined in the MGCC Bylaws , including the Conflict of Interest Policy. More information on the basic expectations of serving as a board member can be found here

Bethany LewiS, GRID ONE REPRESENTATIVE

I’ve lived in Grid 1 with my husband and our two young children since 2017 and we just love the Mac-Groveland neighborhood. I work in media publishing as a Production/Operations Director and have been looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity on the side – I’m excited to be serving on the Mac-Groveland Community Council, as I want to engage more with our local community and help make this neighborhood the best version of itself. In my free time, I love to garden, read, play tennis, and watch my kiddos grow far too quickly!

beverly Savarin, GRID ONE REPRESENTATIVE

I’m relatively new to the community but beyond delighted to be a part of it! Recently relocated from the U.K. in February of 2020, I’ve experienced firsthand, the sense of community and overall neighbourly comradery here, reminding me greatly of my childhood and the same sense of belonging I felt there as a child growing up. As a certified chef and professional singer, this undoubtedly, was and is, the perfect blend of scenic beauty and calm that I needed and embraced fully, especially being during the turmoil of Covid. I’m eager to aid in continuing to build our community in any way I can, and to continue to make it as welcoming as I was made to feel, for our current members, as well as any others who may join us. 

Katherine cairns, grid two representative

Hello Mac-Groveland neighbors! 

I’m Katherine Cairns, a 40+ year resident of Grid 2 with her husband and a multi-generational family. I have loved our “city within a city” of Mac-Groveland where most of what a person or family really needs is within 15-minute walk/bike/drive. I am a community volunteer, small business owner (as a health care consultant), University of Minnesota and University of St Thomas alumni. I am a neighborhood block organizer, member of the  WSNAC advisory committee, member of the  SARPA board and have served on a number of community non-profit organization boards. My current joy is helping a Ukrainian family re-settle in St Paul. In my free time, I like to garden, fish, fix things, head “up north” to the cabin, cheer for the Packers, and hang out with our grandchildren.

I bring to MGCC a passion to connect and engage the multi-generational residents of our neighborhood, to support area businesses, and to advocate for those who are unable to move local government and institutions from self-centered decision-making to transparent, inclusive decision-making.

Hugo Bruggeman, Grid Two Representative

I am serving as a Grid 2 representative since 2020, and have been a member of the MGCC Transportation committee since 2018 (Chair of the committee since 2020). As a board member I will be inclusive and transparent in my role to facilitate the communication between you, the residents of MGCC, and the elected City officials. Inclusive actions and consensus building have been my primary professional activities during the past three years, and I am looking forward to leverage these in serving you and all our neighbors. As a Grid-2 representative, I plan to engage with a great number of you to better understand the diverse interests of the people in our community. I will also seek your support to act on the pressing topics of our time, such as racism, global warming and equity. So please join me to think globally and act locally.

Kensey Lipstreuer, grid three representative

Living in a rent stable home on the border of Macalester-Groveland and Highland Park since 2015 has been a privilege and a blessing that I wasn’t fully aware of until 2020 when the pandemic hit and the veil was publicly lifted on the entrenched systematic racial inequality not just in our St. Paul neighborhood but in our Nation overall. As the former MGCC Renter Rep 2020-2021, I was driven to take action by contributing my perspective as a Renter and a newly established woman solo-entrepreneur to the discussion of our community’s growth and development. As the Grid 3 Representative and a consistently active member in all MGCC committees, I am committed to creating more inclusive community engagement that’s sustainable for generations to come. As a Graphic Designer (who’s addicted to color), I enjoy lending my services to design promotional items for MGCC’s community building events when I can. On a lighter note, I’m an eternal optimist and always root for the underdog. Let’s go Wild!

ATHENA ADKINS, GRID THREE REPRESENTATIVE

My family has lived in the neighborhood since 2012. My boys play lacrosse and attend Circus Juventas—if you haven’t seen a Spring or Summer show, you should! They are amazing! We like to ski and snowboard in the winter and in the Spring and Summer, I plant a vegetable garden in my front yard and encourage my neighbors to help themselves. In my family, we believe that food is love and we have plenty to share. I am involved with MGCC because I like to know what is going on in the neighborhood and I am a big believer that democracy is hard work and relationships matter. I hope to see you around the neighborhood!

Art Punyko, Grid Four Representative
Board chair/PResident

For the past 24 years, I have called Macalester-Groveland home. My home life is centered around my husband Tom, our large families, and our two dogs.  We love the access to St. Paul’s running and biking trails, local baseball, and our great local arts scene. We love Macalester-Groveland because of the diversity and vibrancy of our local streets, businesses, and colleges.   

An engineer by profession, I bring an engaged and collaborative approach to resolving issues within our neighborhood.  I am excited to be part of MGCCs efforts to reach out to under-represented groups within our community.  I have supported projects and initiatives that align with St. Paul’s comprehensive plan, improve safety, and those that include affordable housing.  I care about our beautiful city, our collective future, and I am honored to serve on the MGCC board of directors.

chris leifeld, GRID Four REPRESENTATIVE

Macalester-Groveland has been my home for most of my adult life, with 26 of those years living right here in Grid 4 on Fairmount Avenue. My two adult children continue to call Saint Paul their home. Clearly, we love it here!

I am an avid bicyclist, getting out on the road most evenings eight months of the year. I am a big supporter of Saint Paul professional sports teams, as a season ticket holder of the Minnesota UFC, and a regular attendee at Saints games. I also enjoy watching amateur sports, attending the games of my nine nephews and nieces who play for teams right here in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood.

I have been fortunate to work for the past twelve years for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, serving as both Assistant and Deputy Commissioner and now as a manager over a compliance team.

In addition to having the privilege of serving on the MGCC board of directors representing my neighbors, I am also an appointee of Mayor Melvin Carter to the Neighborhood STAR Board, as one of three representatives from Ward 3. 

Gene Johnson, Grid Five Representative
BOARD secretary

Gene Johnson and his wife, Linda Paul, have lived in a Wilder Park townhome overlooking Ayd Mill Road since 2015. Before that, they lived in a nearby city across the Mississippi River. Since moving here, they have learned that St Paul is not the scary place people on the other side of the river make it out to be. Gene worked in all aspects of real estate before retiring, spending most years in property management focusing on low and moderate-income housing and vacant, foreclosed homes. Before joining the MGCC Board, Gene served three years on the Wilder Park HOA Board and can testify that MGCC Board meetings are a much more pleasant and collegial experience! Gene is currently Secretary of the MGCC Board and is a member of the Transportation and Housing and Land Use Committees. During the summer, Gene & Linda enjoy gardening and, in the winter, do their best to stay warm.

Regina purins, grid five representative

I like to page through cookbooks and cooking magazines, read mystery novels, collect salt and pepper shakers, knit, and do the New York Times Crossword. Right now, I’m in the middle of perfecting Cream of Mushroom soup. How come no one before ever told me what a great herb Thyme is? Here’s a tip. If you want a substitute for cream, use oat milk. Soy milk doesn’t work. By the way, no one should ever, ever, do soup out of a can. No matter how lazy they are.

If anyone wants recipes (my own inventions) for dill pasta sauce with jalapeno (Minnesota Dill), bitter-sweet chocolate banana milk (Choc-O-Ban), or mustard mashed potatoes with smoked paprika (Mustar’ Mash), let me know. I’m thinking of creating a French Toast thing with black pepper, and jalapeno and red bell pepper bits. I plan to call it “The Freckled Frenchie.”

Oh, and I write opinionated opinion pieces to the Pioneer Press and Villager, and sometimes even get them published. Plus, I’m the worst gardener in the history of gardening. All my milkweeds went pfft. I can’t even get a weed to grow. Just kidding. The creeping charlie is doing just fine.


Colin Fesser, At-Large Residential Representative
 board vice-president

I first became involved with St. Paul’s district councils when my first child was on the way and I decided that it was a good way to help create the city that I want my children to grow up in. I love walking our tree-lined residential streets, getting coffee in our commercial nodes, and hopping on our bike lanes to get to other neighborhoods’ libraries. And I love teaching my two kids how to do the same even more. As a disabled person, though, I struggle with those spots in our neighborhood where not everything is as accessible for everyone as it could be. My goal as an Residential Representative is to fill those gaps and make this community one that works for ALL of our residents.

Colin Fesser
Dave Pasiuk, At-Large Residential Representative

I am proud to help celebrate and advance the Mac-Grove neighborhood in the city of St Paul. I lived elsewhere in the Midwest and returned to my native St Paul, buying a home in MG with my wife several decades ago. You might see us walking and bicycling around the neighborhood, or waiting to hop on a Metro Transit bus. We greatly appreciate the ability to leave the car home when we get around and I work to make this a viable choice for all of us. I have a long history of involvement in MGCC — committee and leadership roles in transportation, land use, and housing. Together we can make this a stronger neighborhood that supports the quality of life throughout St Paul. Happy to be your neighbor. 

Kobie Bardouille, At-large residential representative

Bio coming soon!

cameron cole, at-large residential representative

Hello Macalester-Groveland Neighbors! My name is Cameron Cole and I am excited to be serving our neighborhood as an At-Large Residential Representative. I moved to Minnesota three years ago after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I received a degree in Economics and Mathematics and played in the marching band. My partner and I have lived in Macalester-Groveland for the past two years and really enjoy exploring the area and trying all the coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants that the neighborhood has to offer. I am most passionate about issues related to transportation, housing, and sustainability and I am proud to have a role in helping make Macalester-Groveland a thriving neighborhood for all. Please do not hesitate to reach out and connect!

Brian Wagner, At-Large Business Representative

Brian Wagner, M.Ed. in Education Administration and Counseling, BA in Creative and Performing Arts. Realtor with Coldwell Banker Burnet, Prior career in higher education working at Walden University and Macalester College. Serves as the At-Large Business Representative for MGCC since 2018. Chair of the MGCC Community Building Committee, Member of the MGCC Inclusivity Task Force.  MGCC liaison to the Grand Avenue Business Association(GABA) and Secretary of GABA.  Co-chair of the Future is Grand Task Force – a collaboration between the Summit Hill Association, GABA and MGCC. A lover of dogs, quilting, gardening, and road biking. 

chuck peters, At-Large business Representative

 I moved to Grid 4 of the Mac-Groveland District in September of 2022, but have lived in other parts of St. Paul. Mac-Groveland is our favorite spot in the Twin Cities for its tight-knit community, quality restaurants, shopping, and cafes, and the historic architecture accentuated by the natural beauty of every season. When I’m not grabbing a coffee at Roots Roasting or dining with Shelli and Mark at Carmelos, I’m most visible in the neighborhood while walking my two dogs: a Samoyed and a Bernese Mountain Dog. I’m the founder of a local media startup, called Ambit Media Company, and have joined the 2024 Grand Old Day Planning Committee. I love St. Paul and am invested in its continued success! 

Lynn ihlenfeldt, At-large faith institution rep.
BOARD Treasurer

I’ve lived, worked and played in St. Paul for more than 30 years. When my husband and I moved into our Macalester-Groveland house in 1993, we were immediately welcomed by neighbors near and far. Our two children were raised here and attended St. Paul public schools. Now that I’m retired, I’m enjoying giving back to the community that has given me and my family so much. As an active member of Fairmount Avenue United Methodist Church and a participant in several local interfaith initiatives, I am looking forward to getting to know the hopes and dreams of all Mac-Grove faith communities. I’m honored to serve as the At-Large Faith Representative on the MGCC Board.  

At-Large Education – this seat is open!

The At-Large Education Representative is nominated as the representative for an educational institution in Mac-Grove. Each educational institution receives 1 vote in the election for this position. If you are interested in learning more, contact Alexa at alexa@macgrove.org.

Catherine Plessner, At-Large Landlord Representative

I tried to be clever in my MGCC Board Profile and I received a brutally frank lesson. I started with a little spiel: I represent landlords, the people who provide homes to one-third of Macalester Groveland’s residents. My husband and I married as college students in 1972. Our first home was the basement apartment of 1716 Grand Avenue. Cora S. Clark was our landlord. Forty-nine years later, we, like Cora, provide homes to college students and others in Macalester Groveland and Union Park. We live down the avenue in a house … Blah, blah, blah.

I thought it would be clever to use a picture to show the meaning of  St. Paul’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan’s first Core Value, Equity and Opportunity. I went to 1716 Grand Avenue for a picture with whomever I encountered. I told three women from Rosemount having tea at Sencha that, every person who enters Macalester Groveland is entitled to “fairness and justice” equity and opportunity without regard to what is owned or time spent, five minutes or fifty years. They embraced that concept and seemed happy to join my MGCC profile picture. I felt clever, until I looked at the picture.

A picture is worth one thousand words. I did not anticipate how it would feel to come face-to-face with my twenty-year-old self and acknowledge what “equity” and “opportunity” meant in 1972. OUCH! How do I reconcile the truth that the opportunities given to me because of the color of my skin, are opportunity costs for others with equal or greater mastery because their skin is darker? The picture showed that I don’t need an actuary to tell me any Earthling with a life expectancy greater than a sixty-nine-year-old has more of what some call “skin in the game.” The young women standing with me clarify who has most at stake in the decisions we make today.

“This mosaic of human experience exposes us to narratives that are not always comfortable and that sometimes challenge our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world, but we believe that understanding such history opens a pathway to a more inclusive, empathetic and informed future.” * I find hope in these words from Kent Whitworth, Director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society. My faith in people to act for the common good is the reason I serve on the MGCC Board. *Counterpoint: Historical Society seeks to tell Minnesota’s entire story. http://strib.mn/3Am59Je

Nora Ptacek, At-Large Renter Representative

Hi Mac Grove Neighbors! I am excited to be serving as your At-Large Residential Renter Representative. I moved from Wisconsin to the Twin-Cities five years ago to study at the University of Minnesota and quickly fell in love with it. After graduating, my partner and I moved to Macalester Groveland and it was everything we were looking for. I enjoy staying involved in the community and being engaged on issues like housing, transportation, and diversity and inclusion. Please feel free to reach out, especially if you are a Mac Grove renter!

Zak Yudhishthu, At-Large Student Representative

My name is Zak Yudhishthu (he/him), and I’m a third year student at Macalester College. I’m from Portland, Oregon, and I’m likely going to be an Economics Major and Music Minor, with a possible Political Science Minor. I care about people, I care about the places that they live in, and I care about participating in civic life in order to contribute to those people and places. When I’m not doing schoolwork, I do volunteer tutoring, write for the Macalester newspaper’s opinion section, and sing Beatles songs along with my guitar.