Meet the Team
SchoolGrown's team members and volunteers have unique experience in in a variety of areas.
They include aquaponics, agriculture, permaculture, ecological design, building, construction, architecture, solar energy, communication, marketing, education, art, business, sociology, fine art photography, economic, social and environmental development.
Jon Parr - Chief Aquaponics Officer & Founder
Jon Parr is a widely acclaimed leader in the emerging Aquaponics movement and SchoolGrown's founder. Jon comes from a background of fine craftsmanship, specializing in granite. Since his early childhood, Jon has been an avid fisherman of California waterways. As a fish hobbyist, Jon has befriended many in California’s aquaculture community. His connections with the fish community has helped many aquaponics farmers fill their fish tanks.
Jon discovered aquaponics by overcoming a problem with ground squirrels at his home in the Santa Cruz mountains. Jon left the craft/construction trade to pursue aquaponics full- time. During his years of research and real-world application, Jon developed numerous, expansive aquaponic systems. He pioneered new methods, practices, equipment and understanding, many of which have become the standards of the Aquaponic industry today. Jon's hands-on approach to real-world application of sustainable permaculture and aquaponic production have made him a popular circuit speaker and one of the elite aquaponic industry experts.
Tom Kirschner - Board Chair
With a degree in Environmental Studies from Evergreen College Tom moved back to his home town, San Rafael, in 1985 and took a different path: the corporate world. Before semi-retiring in 2009 he had more than 20 years of project and business operations management experience, primarily in financial services with both private and Fortune 500 companies.
Since 1997 he has worked with several non profit organizations with both board and operational roles. Highlights include developing concepts, and execution, of complex multimedia and big-ticket events for Craigslist Foundation, the Dead and Phil Lesh & Friends. He is currently a board member emeritus of the California Employers Association and on the board of the Narada Michael Walden Foundation.
Gary Koffler - Aquaponics Evangelist, Board Secretary
Gary became involved in the aquaponics industry in 2012. He received training from aquaponic industry leaders Max Meyers, David Rosenstein and Jon Parr. He has attended the last three industry conferences and has developed relationships with several of its leaders. His goal is to integrate technology with aquaponics to maximize fish and plants yields, minimize losses, increase quality and create “personal” systems that can be operated by urban growers with minimum knowledge of aquaponics so they might grow healthy food for themselves, their families and friends.
Gary currently resides in Petaluma, California where he is working on the SchoolGrown start-up efforts. He is is a self-ordained Aquaponics Evangelist and the volunteer Northern California Representative for SchoolGrown.
Sarah Hammond - Treasurer
Sarah Hammond began her career in Accounting over 30 years ago at a family-owned retail clothing store with 22 locations throughout California and Oregon. Since that time she’s gone on to work in several fields from Architects to Manufacturing, Contractors to Wholesale Supplies.
Sarah and her siblings were raised with an appreciation for working the earth. Their folks instilled in them the importance of knowing where their food came from. They ate and preserved food from their own farm and garden, eating all organic, local, whole foods when it wasn't necessarily “chic” to do so. It’s this upbringing that makes her so excited to be a part of SchoolGrown; to be a part of educating today’s youth on the importance of Farm-to-Table and the beauty of organic, sustainable agriculture.