Melissa Gelner is a St. Louis native and graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and dual majors in Marketing and Organizational Management. Melissa moved to Springfield to join the food marketing agency, Noble & Associates. For 13 years, she worked at Tyson Foods as a Director of National Account Marketing where she led menu development collaboration and launched many award-winning products with national restaurant chains. She is currently serving as the Chief Kinship Officer at Askinosie Chocolate. In this role, she manages the international business immersion initiative, Chocolate University, and the activities of The Askinosie Foundation as the executive director. Melissa also freelances as a marketing and innovation consultant for the food service industry. Melissa and her husband, Brian, have two children attending The Summit, currently in 4th and 6th grades.
Dave is a corporate director with Atrium Hospitality (formerly John Q Hammons Hotels & Resorts) handling asset management via facilities planning and capital projects management for 81 hotels and resorts in the US from coast to coast. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Biology in 1992 and the University of South Florida with a BA in Criminology 1994. Dave began his career as a sheriff’s deputy in southwest Florida and was injured in the line of duty, necessitating a change of career and a serendipitous segue into real estate management. This passion for transforming and transitioning properties has spanned nearly twenty years, covering higher education, K-12, and hospitality. Dave and his wife, Brandy, own and operate a background and investigations business in Nixa, MO as a way to stay connected to his prior life as a Law Enforcement Officer. Dave is an active Mason and Shriner, past HOA president of multiple communities and current board member of his current HOA. He is also an active member of the Ozarks Transportation Organization, Springfield Greene County Office of Emergency Management. Dave’s daughter, Bryn , has been a student at the Summit since her freshman year- 2018.
Kristen joined BKD in 2005 and provides audit and consulting services for real estate developers with historic and low-income housing tax credit properties and audit services for colleges, universities, utilities and governmental and not-for-profit organizations. She is a member of BKD National Not-for-Profit Group, BKD National Governmental Group and BKD National Higher Education Group and serves as an industry team leader for BKD’s Southern Missouri practice unit. She has been designated as one of BKD’s top Single Audit reviewers. Kristen has served as a firm instructor for new audit in-charge training and the firm’s annual government and not-for-profit accounting and auditing training. Kristen is a former treasurer on the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and former treasurer for Junior League of Springfield, Inc. and currently sits on the board of directors of Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. She is a cum laude graduate of Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, with a B.A. degree in business administration and accounting.
Jennifer Newman is a graduate of Drury University and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She is employed as a partner in The Newman Law Firm, L.L.C. in Springfield. Her practice concentrates in the areas of personal injury and workers’ compensation. Jennifer is licensed to practice in the state courts of Missouri and Arkansas and the United States District Court, Western District of Missouri. Jennifer has served as a board member of the Miss Springfield/Miss Branson Organization for 10 years. She has also served as secretary and board member for Grupo Latinoamericano (Latin American Group), and she is fluent in Spanish. Jennifer and her husband, John, have one (1) daughter, Alyssa, who attends The Summit.
Susan Miranti has 37 years of experience in education. Her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and graduate degree in Special Education are both from the University of Kansas. Susan taught special education, gifted education, Title 1 reading, and regular classes in Springfield Public Schools. She designed the Special Needs Gifted Program and BRIDGES Gifted Program for Title 1 students at Phelps Center for Gifted Education. Susan was a STARR Teacher for the state of Missouri and pioneered the first eMINTS classroom in Springfield. During her last four years with Springfield R-12, she was an Instructional Specialist where she worked with every school in the Springfield District. Susan traveled the state of Missouri as a trainer for Missouri Reading Initiative before retiring in 2015. Susan enjoys traveling with her husband, Joe, training her dogs, and spoiling her granddaughter.
Judy was Vice-President at Drury University for Alumni Relations and Development for 30+ years. After a brief attempt at retirement, Judy returned to Drury’s campus full time in 2016 as Interim Vice President after helping under each President through her retirement years, working on special projects such as the O’Reilly Family Event Center. Drury’s eighteenth President, Dr. Tim Cloyd, asked Judy to continue as Vice President for Stewardship and Principal Gifts, which she has loved and plans to help as long as she is needed. In addition, she works with the Flint, Michigan Symphony and Music School. Recognized by AFP as an Outstanding Fundraising Professional, she works with Major Gifts and Planned Giving.
Dana Thomas is the Executive Director of the Institute of Botanical Training which provides botanical and ecological research and education services to state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest. She teaches plant identification classes to science professionals and also manages finances, payroll, marketing, and operations for the company. Dana currently serves as president of the ecological nonprofit organization, NatureCITE, and president of the Missouri Native Plant Society. She holds an MS in Botany and Ecology from Miami University in Ohio and a BS in Biology from Missouri State University. Her past experience includes botanical and biological work for several agencies and organizations including The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, and Missouri Department of Conservation. Dana is passionate about working to create an ecologically literate society and especially sees value in sharing that knowledge with children. She and her husband, Justin, have two children enrolled at The Summit.
Charlie Rosenbury is the founder of Self Interactive — an interactive development studio in Springfield at the efactory. He develops custom business software in the form of virtual and augmented reality experiences, web sites, applications, and mobile apps. He graduated from Missouri State University, Springfield in 2010 with a B.S. degree in Electronic Arts and a minor in Computer Science. With a passion for youth development, culture, and community, Charlie has served in various capacities with many organizations; Springfield Creatives, the American Youth Foundation, Springfield Devs, and Downtown Springfield CID. He was recognized in 2018 as one of Biz417’s 10 for the Next 10.