NCLI Staff

All Staff are National Conservation Leadership Institute / Management Assistance Team.

Elena Takaki –Director Project Wild, Interim Director Management Assistance Team
Elena Takaki serves as the Director of Project WILD and Interim Director of the Management Assistance Team at AFWA. Elena has over twenty-five years of experience offering professional development to educators and people working in the natural resources field. Before coming to AFWA, Elena worked for non-profits and government agencies such as the North American Association for Environmental Education, National Geographic Society, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Johns Hopkins University. Elena enjoys working with other professionals who are dedicated to managing natural resources for the public and making the outdoors accessible to everyone. Elena also serves on several boards, including the North American Association for Environmental Education, Youth Learning and Citizen Environmental Scientists, and the Natural History Society of Maryland.

Bettina Fiery, Ph.D. – Program Manager for Leadership Development
Bettina is a lifelong resident of Martinsburg, WV. She started her career as an RN and worked in various roles in the healthcare industry. She also has degrees in Communication, Counseling, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is a lifelong learner and most recently graduated from Georgetown University's Leadership Coaching Certificate Program. When not reading, Bettina spends time with her husband Bill and three furry friends (Tangerine, Nemo, & Halo). Bettina also enjoys traveling and acting in community theatre.

Gina Jackson (Main), M.S. - Program Manager for Communications and Learning Development
Gina has over 16 years of experience working in the natural resources sector and through the NCLI and AFWA has worked with over 100 different state, federal, NGO, tribal and industry partners in conservation. She is passionate about contributing to the sustainable future of conservation through the development of its people. She is also honored to have helped staff and manage the National Conservation Leadership Institute since its inception. Gina trained at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on the Art and Practice of Leadership Development, earned a Master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University, a BFA in Communications Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and is certified in Case-In-Point teaching methodology from the Kansas Leadership Center. When not tethered to her desk she desires to get lost in the sanctuary of nature, hiking or biking on a trail beneath a canopy of trees, or uncovering some yet undiscovered corner of the world.

Amanda Myers – Program Manager for Training and Information Services
Amanda Myers joined the Management Assistance Team in August 2008. She manages the schedule and delivery of MAT’s online leadership development offerings and manages both of MAT's learning management systems. She also manages the application process for the NCLI, logistics for both Fellows’ residencies, and the NCLI website. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from American Public University. When she is not busy with work and school she enjoys reading and spending time with her fiancé, Chase, and their Boxer mix, Zelda.

Kelly Reynolds –Program Manager, Project WILD & Management Assistance Team
Kelly Reynolds is a Program Manager at the Association, supporting the Project WILD program and the Management Assistance Team (MAT). Kelly has worked in the field of environmental and conservation education for nearly ten years, helping young people learn about and connect with the natural world. In 2020 Kelly began supporting the MAT, bringing her passion for education, her enthusiasm for collaboration, and her background in professional development to support wildlife agency professionals. Kelly holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from the University of Denver and has worked at a variety of nonprofit and government organizations in Colorado and Texas.