AOEA Board of Directors

The Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA) is managed by a Board of Directors that is made up of parents, educators, scientists and administrators that are dedicated to providing the students of Arlington County a place where they can engage in outdoor studies. 

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Current Board Members

Michael Maleski, President

Michael Maleski is a 20 plus year resident of Arlington and was elected President in 2021. Mike lives in the Leeway neighborhood with his wife JoAnne Carter and their children Charlotte and Gabriel who attended Tuckahoe Elementary, Swanson Middle, Yorktown High and Washington-Liberty High schools.  Mike is a business and technology consultant for small businesses and non-profits. He is a former Teach for America Corps Member who as an 8th grade science teacher saw first hand the benefits of outdoor learning for his students.

Scott Kovarovics, Vice President

Scott was elected Vice President of the AOEA in 2021.  He spent his career working to conserve natural resources first in government and then in successfully senior positions in nonprofit organizations. His first experience with the Outdoor Lab began like so many other parents of students in Arlington Public Schools – listening to his kids talk with wonder about their first field trip to “the Lab.” Scott got more involved with the Lab as a volunteer, and then as a Board member. Scott is excited to work with other Board members, parents and students, and APS to ensure more of our students can learn skills of the future and experience the natural world at the Outdoor Lab.

Ann Thomson, Treasurer

Ann Thomson joined the Board as Treasurer in 2019.  She and her husband Blaine moved to Arlington in 1998 and immediately knew they’d found a place where they wanted to put down roots.  Her three children attended Taylor Elementary and are now at Dorothy Hamm Middle School and Yorktown High School. They all have a love for the Outdoor Lab cultivated through many field trips, overnights, and summer camps.


The AOEA Board will select a new secretary at our next meeting.

Anita Knipling Scott

Anita K. Scott has seen the Outdoor Lab grow from its infancy and has many memories to share. As one of Phoebe’s 5 children, she grew up with a great love of and appreciation for nature and the out-of-doors. After graduating from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, she earned her BA in English from Westhampton College, taught for more than 30 years in Arlington (mostly at Williamsburg Middle School) and in 1988 received her MA in Humanities from Marymount University.

The Scotts’ 4 children all attended Arlington Public Schools, and they now have four teenage grandchildren in nearby McLean. Anita enjoys reading, the theater, bridge and has remained active in many local organizations since her retirement in 2000. The AOEA is her absolute favorite pastime. It is very exciting for her to see the second and even third generations of Arlington students come out to the Lab, especially since it is increasingly important in our digital world for our children to spend time learning outside.

Colleen Rocha Levine

Colleen is an Arlington parent passionate about outdoor education since attending outdoor school as a 5th grader in Oregon and returning as a counselor in high school. Her children attended Tuckahoe Elementary, where she volunteered with the Schoolyard Stewards program, and she has been a Girl Scout troop leader for eight years. Her children currently attend H-B Woodlawn and Arlington Tech. Colleen is a freelance writer and communications and advocacy consultant. Colleen joined the AOEA Board in 2023.

Cristina Brayton-Lewis

Cristina grew up in Arlington, attending Abingdon Elementary and H-B Woodlawn. Cristina adored Outdoor Lab field trips growing up, attended Outdoor Lab camp in middle school, and later volunteered as a camp counselor at the Outdoor Lab in high school. She has since returned to Arlington to settle down with her family and now has two sons at Abingdon Elementary. Cristina is a partner at the law firm White & Case LLP, where she focuses on international trade issues relating to economic sanctions and export controls. Cristina and her family are enthusiastic about the outdoors, and enjoy camping and hiking (and are currently chipping away at sections of the Appalachian Trail). Cristina joined the AOEA Board in 2021.

Heather Spence

Heather is an alumna of APS school system, having graduated from HB Woodlawn. She now lives with her family in Arlington and was appointed to the AOEA Board this spring. Heather is also an alum of the Outdoor Lab summer camp and is excited to return to working with the Outdoor Lab. At work, Heather is a marine biologist, musician and composer. Heather joined the AOEA Board in 2022.

Eleanor White

Eleanor is a junior at Yorktown High School and was a junior staff member at Outdoor Lab summer camp. She’s been going to the Outdoor Lab for 4 years as a camper and staff member, and enjoys working in the outdoors and teaching other students. The Outdoor Lab has been a big part of her life. She always looked forward to the ODL in the summers and loves helping others enjoy the same experience. Eleanor joined the AOEA Board for the 2022-23 school year.

Mary Ann Penning

Mary Ann is a retired, 27-year teaching veteran of Arlington Public Schools and enjoyed taking her fifth graders to the Outdoor Lab for more than 20 years.  Along with her husband Nick, the Outdoor Lab is one of their favorite places to visit. Their four daughters also enjoyed the Outdoor Lab when they were students in Arlington Public Schools. Mary Ann joined the AOEA Board in 2007 and served on the Outreach Committee and was Board Secretary for a few years.

Paul Diehl

Paul has lived Arlington since 1967 and his children attended Arlington schools.  He is a retired Arlington Public Schools bus driver who drove students to the Outdoor Lab for many years.  Paul is also a master beekeeper and helps others learn the art (including former APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy) Paul helps with outreach for the Outdoor Lab.

Tom Twomey

Tom is an alumnus of Arlington Public Schools and long-time camper, volunteer, and employee with the Outdoor Lab Summer Camp. Over 11 years he has attended 24 sessions of camp (so far). He went to school at Taylor, Kenmore, and Washington-Liberty before going on to study at Virginia Tech. Currently he works for a neuroscience lab in a data science role. Tom joined the AOEA Board in 2023.

Former Boards of Directors