Board of Directors

Michael Simkins

Michael Simkins

President

boardofdirectors@slorep.org

Michael is a lifelong educator and theater buff. He was an elementary schoolteacher for 15 years in the Los Angeles area where he also taught drama and musical theater workshops for elementary and middle school students. He pursued his theater avocation by attending plays, taking acting workshops, and appearing in little theater. In 1987, Michael began nine years as principal of Baywood Elementary School in Los Osos. After spending twelve years in jobs that required constant travel, Michael retired from full-time K-12 education in 2008. Since then, he works as a consultant to educational foundations, professional organizations, and teaches college courses for school leaders.

Jeff Olds

Jeff Olds

Vice President

Jeff and his wife Linda own the local Jamba Juice stores. They have lived here since 2000 and sponsored several shows with SLO REP. Prior to moving here, Jeff was a lawyer in the Bay Area and specialized in business and estate planning law. He graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law and from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature. He has been a fan of theatre since performing in high school plays. Jeff has served on several boards of directors and is presently on the Economic Activities Committee of the Downtown Association in SLO.

Jerry Chirpich

Jerry Chirpich

Treasurer

Jerry Chirpich was born in Minnesota and after attending college at Mankato State, moved to California in 1958 to start a career with Deluxe Check Printers (now Deluxe Corp.) Jerry was Plant Manager for two of the company’s largest operations for 20 years and retired after 35 years of service in 1992. He and wife Sharynn moved to San Luis Obispo in 1994 from the San Fernando Valley. Jerry has been active in San Luis Obispo Country Club serving on the board for four years—two years as president—and continues to serve on the finance committee. Jerry and his wife Sharynn are also active in the community by volunteering for Hospice Hope Chest, Womenaide, Prado Day Care, Festival Mozaic and the Performing Arts Center. They have one daughter and three grandchildren who live in Southern California.

Marcia Scott

Marcia Scott

Secretary

Marcia has been a SLO county resident for 30 years. Originally from Wisconsin, she came to San Luis Obispo in 1985 as a traveling nurse on a 3-month contract and never left. She has worked as a critical care nurse and nurse educator for 20 years, and is currently the Director of Nursing at Cuesta College. She became interested in Theatre over two decades ago when her children enrolled in creative acting camps, allowing her to witness the magic that theatre brings to an individual and to a community. She is pleased to be a member of SLO REP Board of Directors, and takes this opportunity to help ensure that the benefits of local theatre continue in our community for future generations.

Matthew Cottle

Matthew Cottle

Member

Matthew is a longtime fan of live theatre and spent his high school years performing in community theater in southern Ohio. He has proudly watched his children perform on stages from Massachusetts to California, including SLO REP. Matthew has served for over two decades as a staff member and consultant for universities and non-profits, focusing on fundraising and volunteer training. He also has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the Boston Children’s Theater and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Matthew is a member of the fundraising staff for Cal Poly and a SLO resident since 2009.

Richard Lukette

Richard Luckett

Member

Richard Luckett is a 30 year resident of San Luis Obispo, a retired PG&E engineer, and a supporter of the arts. He has been a long time patron of the San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre, and is pleased to be a member of the Board of Directors.

Wilda Rosene

Wilda Rosene

Member

It all started in a parking lot in SLO one June day in 1992 when a friend said they needed board members at SLO REP. “Send your resume over right away,” I was told. I did and I have been an active member of the theatre group ever since serving as President of the Board three different times, actually being employed for about 18 months and generally doing whatever is necessary to make our theatre the best ever. It is a joy to see how far we have come in these 21 years and I look forward to serving this theatre for many years to come!

Ellie Washington

Member

Ellie managed marketing and PR campaigns for over 100 musicals and plays in the professional theatre industry in Sacramento, including box office-breaking national tour engagements of Wicked and The Lion King, working on shows starring Broadway legends Carol Channing and Tommy Tune, and many Tony Award™-nominated actors. A Cal Poly journalism alum, she couldn’t resist when the opportunity arose to return to the SLO life, where she is the Marketing Director for Wilson & Co. Sotheby’s International Realty. It brings her joy to utilize her experience and passion to support SLO REP’s mission.

Michael Howard

Michael Howard

Member

Michael is a lifelong fan of theatre and movies, finding appreciation not only for the finished product but also great fascination in the process. He has enjoyed numerous plays and musical events here on the Central Coast as well as in San Francisco, London and New York. He is a passionate and engaged community member, volunteering and working with other local non-profit organizations. Michael is an Account Executive at KSBY and has been in media sales and marketing for most of his career. He lives in Morro Bay.

Ken Craig

Ken Craig

Member

Ken R. Craig owns and operates Craig Financial Group, Inc. in San Luis Obispo and is an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor® and a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group, LLC, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Ken’s background includes investor relations and communications in the high-tech industry, and he was a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Sonny Bono (R-CA) in the U.S. House of Representatives where he served as the staff lead on the Banking, Finance, Defense, Military, Budget, and Tax committees. In his spare time, Ken combines his passion for outdoor recreation with his drive to contribute to philanthropic organizations by volunteering for groups like Operation Surf, participating in surf excursions for disabled Veterans, and Partners in Equestrian Therapy, a unique riding program for kids and adults with special needs. In addition, Ken began serving on the Boards of Directors for RISE San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre in 2017.

Carol Kiessig

Carol Kiessig

Member

Carol Kiessig has been a resident of the Central Coast for many years. She and her husband Russ owned and operated Sycamore Mineral Springs, the Gardens of Avila and Avila Hot Springs. They also opened Paso Hot Springs in the North County. Additionally, she and her husband started the non-profit Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach. Carol has been a Little Theatre season subscriber and show sponsor for several years. Her respect for SLO REP and its staff, as well as its Board of Directors continues to grow. She considers it a “gem” on the Central Coast and is anxious to share her passion with others who live here and have not yet made this “discovery”.

Dianne N. Long

Member

As a little girl, Dianne Long paid the neighborhood kids twenty-five cents for each backyard performance of her self-directed, original productions. She continued her love of theater regularly performing in high school, college and community plays. Her favorite roles include that of Desdemona in “Othello” and Jennet in Christopher Fry’s “The Lady’s Not for Burning,” mostly because the costumes were so fantastic.

Dianne brings many years of board experience serving with the Foundation for the Performing Arts, San Luis Obispo United Way, City of San Luis Obispo Promotion Coordinating Committee, Cal Poly Christian Center, Cal Poly Children’s Center and Cal Poly Center for Practical Politics. She is now retired from the Cal Poly political science department where she launched the Master of Public Policy, the Women’s Studies program, the Ethnic Studies program and a variety of interdisciplinary research centers. She has earned a Ph.D. in political science, a master’s degree in public administration, and Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, English and drama.

Dianne is thrilled to be part of the SLO Rep board, our Little Theatre — all grown up.

Pam Nichter

Member

Pam and her husband Mitch retired from their careers in the Bay Area and relocated the tiny town of Harmony in 2015. Both Nichters are passionate gardeners and enjoy working in their home gardens as well as volunteering their time with the Master Gardeners of SLO County. Longtime theatre fans, the Nichters sought a local theatre to enjoy and support, and to their delight discovered SLO REP.

A long-time Board Trustee of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Pam now also serves on the Board of Directors for SLO REP. She is honored to have the opportunity to help nurture the theatre’s vision to present professional theatrical productions for the entertainment and enrichment of the public, and to provide theatre education opportunities for children and adults. Pam truly believes that the entertainment and storytelling aspects of live theatre can provide transformative and thought-provoking opportunities for dialog and the connection of friends, family and communities.

Deborah Stewart

Member

Debbie has held a lifetime love of theatre that began with her first steps into the footlights at the age of four. Theatre and music was her continued focus throughout her youth and through college where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University California, Riverside.

Life took its own twists and turns which let her to San Luis Obispo nearly 30 years ago with her husband, Robert, who is a local physician. She went back to school 20 years ago and became a CPA. Debbie is currently a Senior Tax Manager at the local firm, Glenn Burdette.

Debbie has continued to stay active in her love of music as a soloist, member of a small vocal ensemble and choir member of Mission San Luis Obispo. She has previously served on the board of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony. Debbie is thrilled to share both her financial and theatrical experience as a board member of SLO Rep.

Chip Visci

Member

Live theatre has commanded Chip’s respect since elementary school when, as an unsuspecting understudy, he was suddenly the lead in a play mercifully forgotten. He soon realized his talents lay elsewhere. His three-plus decades in newspaper journalism included several years as arts and entertainment editor for the Detroit Free Press, and led to positions in newspaper management and on the corporate staff of Knight Ridder. He was publisher of the San Luis Obispo Tribune from 2005 to 2008. From 2009 to 2014, Chip served in various communications and marketing roles at Cal Poly including Director of Communications for the Office of the President. He is currently a senior strategist for Barnett Cox & Associates.

Since moving to the Central Coast, Chip has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, the Housing Trust Fund of San Luis Obispo County, Visit San Luis Obispo County, and the Governing Board of the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Chip and his wife Marty Claus live in Shell Beach.