Co-Founder, Board President, Rob van Nood:
Rob van Nood is an Oregon licensed educator now working as a Educational Technologist at Catlin Gable School. He received his MAT from Lewis & Clark in 1995. Rob has always taken a fresh look at teaching, tinkering with ideas to make the learning experience more effective. On the first day of school a few years ago, for example, Rob's kids were presented with a completely empty classroom and were instructed to help him design the space. The idea was that if kids had control of their space, they would be more willing to work within it. This out-of-the-box thinking is Rob's signature, and it's his pursuit of teaching through the use of narrative that makes Tinker Camp such a unique experience.
Co-founder, Executive Director, Blake Swensen:
After spending 25 years in the computer business, half of which was running his own, Blake Swensen and his wife switched roles. He became a stay-at-home dad on a mission to improve his boys' elementary school experience. Being involved closely in the public schools as a volunteer, PTA president and chess club coach -- to name a few stints -- he discovered that, although public schools are good at many things, kids whose learning strengths don't fit inside the box often struggle. One of his sons is learning-disabled and Blake wanted to create an experience where setbacks and stumbles didn't damage his fragile self-esteem. More ....
Professional Development Mentor Michael Hyde:
Michael is the Professional Development Mentor at Tinker Camp/TinkerEDU. TinkerEDU is the education branch of Tinker Camp that provides immersive workshops for other nonprofits, libraries, districts and teachers. For the past three years, Michael has led TinkerEDU professional development for year-long cohorts of teachers from Grant High School, Roosevelt High School, Franklin High School, and Faubion School, as well as stand-alone workshops in the Portland and Vancouver area. Michael works primarily as the STEAM and Maker Integrator and Project-Based Learning (PBL) and Innovation Coordinator at Portland Jewish Academy. He designs and teaches integrated STEAM curriculum using a Project Based Learning framework in the school's makerspace, which he founded four years ago. Michael's role also includes team-teaching, coaching, and leading the school's vision and strategy for PBL implementation. Michael has advised several Portland area schools on makerspace implementation and integration, and welcomed dozens of Oregon and Washington area educators into the Portland Jewish Academy makerspace to observe the teaching and learning that occurs there. He believes the best way to understand the power of makerspaces, tinkering, and hands-on learning is to see it in person and to talk with students whose experience of school and learning
has been transformed.

Michael has presented his work at a range of conferences such as the Maker Education Convening, the North West Association of Independent Schools Educators Conference, the NWAIS Librarian Conference, the National Art Education Association National Conference, and the Jean Piaget Society International Conference. In addition to receiving several STEAM grants for the PJA Makerspace, Michael has been selected for the 2018-2019 NWAIS Fellowship for Collaborative Innovation, a year-long fellowship that utilizes the design thinking process to create scalable solutions to school challenges. Michael holds a BA from Temple University in Film and Media Arts, as well as a Masters in Teaching from Concordia University with teaching licenses in Art and English Language Arts. Michael believes in supporting students for any and every future they imagine for themselves.
Instructor, Jinnet Powel  
As an artist, environmentalist and educator, Jinnet is intrigued by the complexity and creativity of all life with a special allegiance to the well-being and resiliency of the planet’s humans. She is committed to developing thoughtful makers with the courage to take on complex issues and the humility to respect our interdependence. With a Masters in Science Education from Oregon State University, Jinnet mentors youth to think big, use science concepts as a tool for creativity, and to develop an ecologically responsible mind-set. Within Tinker Camp’s dynamic narrative, participants not only develop collaborative skills as they work together, but are challenged to think systematically. Many powerful learning opportunities emerge organically from the scenario, when, for example, participants start to develop a business plan for their arcade, or negotiate how to use limited materials. Jinnet is skilled in helping make the connection between these experiences and real-world issues that expands participants’ understanding.

Jinnet’s commitment to building community extends to working with other educational partners to identify ways to build capacity and to creating inclusive learning experiences for all learners. When not doing outreach, you will likely find Jinnet painting, hiking with her kids, or improving her backyard habitat.
Community Outreach,
Denise Slattery
Denise is a Certified Master Recycler with a passion for providing reuse and recycling education to her community, especially school-age kids. An experienced marketer, she's developed award-winning marketing, communication and branding strategy for Fortune 500 businesses and non-profits in California, Washington, Michigan, and Oregon. Denise is currently a Board Member to Recycling Advocates of Oregon, and previously held a board position at Picture Lab, a Washington State non-profit providing hands-on art literacy education in public schools geared towards students grades K -5. Denise regularly presents as a Master Recycler to business organizations participating in Portland Metro's Sustainability at Work Program. As an artist, she focuses her work on representing material reclamation and spends time tinkering in her studio at any given opportunity.
Instructor, Zack McGarvey  
Zack began his education career as a camp instructor focusing on hands-on science, where every class relied on visual and tactile demonstrations to reinforce learning. He enjoys seeing the "light bulb" moments when a difficult concept suddenly makes sense to a student. After moving to Portland, he began working at a maker space where he discovered a passion for woodworking and eventually joined up with a non-profit that teaches math through boat building. Zack believes that people learn best in an environment where failure is not something to be ashamed of, but an important step in the learning process. Whether working with youth or adults, he instructs using open-ended questions instead of step by step instructions, allowing the students to take ownership and pride in the knowledge they glean.