Board of Trustees

Supporting a passion for learning

2014 Seniors

CHAIR – Carolyn Helmlinger Carolyn is the Former President/CEO of Mid-America Group, a leasing and development real estate company, which is a $100,000,000.00 privately held company. Prior to that, Carolyn was VP Midwest for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Franchise Division with direct oversight of 850 offices in 13 states. Carolyn moved to Northport, Michigan in 2011 to pursue her consulting business and to be closer to her family. During her over 35 years in business, she has led several organizations and has been involved in several non-profit organizations. She was Interim CEO for the YMCA in Traverse City, and is now on the YMCA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Prior to moving to Northern Michigan, Carolyn lived in Des Moines, Iowa where she held positions with the United Way Cabinet Board and Des Moines Partnership Executive Committee, and served a President of Des Moines Association of Realtors and Chairperson for Making Strides for Breast Cancer and Executive Women’s International. She received the Des Moines Register’s Women of Influence Award and the Chandler Barton “Can Do” award, but she is most proud of being a grandmother of 10! Carolyn has been involved with many task forces in creating efficiencies in the marketplace and businesses, and her current business Conlyn Consulting, specializing in Crisis Management and Business Advisory Consulting.

Carolyn said “I was first introduced to The Leelanau School as a potential Board member. I was initially so impressed with the beauty of the campus and the peaceful learning environment. After meeting the staff and faculty, understanding their great work and commitment, and especially, the lives they impact, my level of excitement began to grow. I am humbled to have been nominated as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. We will continue with the mission of the School to provide the very best experience and growth for our students. While maintaining that 100% of our students are accepted at a college or university! What other private school can tout that achievement?”

VICE CHAIR – John Hyatt  John is the regional Commercial Lending Officer at Team One Credit Union in Traverse City, Michigan. Team One offers affordable financial products and services to businesses and educational institutions in 63 Michigan counties. John has over 13 years of banking experience having held various positions in Commercial and Government Banking Services.

John is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and is involved with the Traverse City Area Chapter of the Kiwanis Club, through which, he volunteers time with Junior Achievement, the Special Olympics, the Kiwanis Ski Schools, and many other area groups and school athletic programs. John is also involved with the Grand Traverse Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan State Alumni Association.

In his free time, John enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, playing tennis and long-distance running.

John said, “I joined the Board because I was asked. I said yes because I feel that my experience and knowledge could be put to use here and help in guiding The Leelanau School’s future. As I have become more and more involved in the School, my desire to see the school grow and thrive has only grown, and I am committed to doing everything I can to see this happens.

SECRETARY – Dr. Mary Beth Hardwicke  Mary Beth received her B.S. in Zoology with High Distinction from the University of Michigan in 1980 and her Medical Degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1984. She spent the first ten years of her career in Medical Education – teaching medical students and directing an Internal Medicine Residency Training Program of 40 young physicians. She went on to form her own small business and worked with three colleagues in an Internal Medicine practice for sixteen years. She retired in September of 2013 to spend more time with her family in Northern Michigan.

During her career, Mary Beth has been the recipient of numerous awards including multiple nominations as “Top Doc” in Detroit Hour Magazine, the “Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award” from Wayne State University, and being named as “One of the Best Primary Care Physicians in the Country” by Town and Country Magazine. To keep busy during retirement, Mary Beth volunteers in the Traverse City Health Clinic (serving an indigent population), writes a blog for the Grand Traverse Commission on Aging, gives medical lectures for the Senior Center Network in Traverse City and is co-chairing a Capital Campaign to build a new public library in the village of Interlochen.

Mary Beth’s nephew, Travis, graduated from The Leelanau School in 2015. She believes Leelanau helped shape him into a confident, independent, forward-thinking young man. In her opinion, “Leelanau would be a great school for every child in the country. It allows them to be safe, it recognizes them as individuals and it lets them achieve their full potential.” As a Board member, her hope is to continue the school on its current path, allowing its phenomenal academic and residential life staff to work their magic.

MEMBER – Joan Conway Joan is the parent of a 2014 graduate.  She teaches English as a Second Language at Western Michigan University and serves as a community leader in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek areas. In addition to her skills as an educator, she has insight in the international student market and has been a staunch supporter of Leelanau both in terms of referrals and financial support.

MEMBER – Patricia Denton Tricia and her family reside in the Maple City area (just about 15 minutes from The Leelanau School). She has been the chair of our Auction Committee and has served on our Strategic Planning Committee, as well as volunteering for our alumni reunions, as time permits.  Tricia regularly shares information with faculty and staff about opportunities to support student learning through connections, events, volunteering and resources outside of the school, and brings guest speakers and learning opportunities to the school. She is employed with the Glen Lake Association as an Ambassador and in this position recruits and educates membership for the Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed Guardian Program and Michigan Shoreland Stewardship Program. Prior to that, Tricia was the Director of a local non-profit that supported families in need. She has a BS in Geography from MSU, an MS from Montana State University in Earth Sciences and was a Graduate Research Fellow for NASA.

Her daughter, Cecelia, will be graduating in June of 2020.

MEMBER – Gretchen Knoblock, ’82 Gretchen is a local business owner and alumnae of The Leelanau School (1982).  Ms. Knoblock is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Leelanau alumni community.  After a 17 year career in developing multi-family housing solutions across the nation, Knoblock graduated from Purdue University and launched a successful interior design company, New Leaf Interiors.  Her national success allowed her to base her business in Leelanau County, which she fell in love with while a Leelanau School student. Since relocating to the area in 2009, she has volunteered her time and energy to several local organizations including Children’s Advocacy Center, Women’s Council of Realtors, and The Leelanau School. Knoblock has been an active ambassador for The Leelanau School since her graduation. Knoblock’s focus on local engagement and alumni relations, and her commitment to the mission of the school, which she experienced as a student, will ensure tremendous stewardship of The Leelanau School.

MEMBER – Hans Schuler Hans is a legendary Michigan businessman and community leader.  Mr. Schuler has enjoyed a storied career as Chairman and CEO of the famous Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub in Marshall, Michigan, where he was recognized as the National Restaurateur of the Year.  A native of Marshall, Michigan, Schuler attended Cornell University and holds a degree from the Michigan State University Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management School. Schuler is celebrated for his focus on quality, attention to the customer experience, and ability to build personal connections.  His innovative and hands-on approach has grown and secured the Schuler family business for the benefit of his customers and employees. His reputation as a community-focused, civic-minded leader extends across the state of Michigan. He has given of his time and talent to many boards, organizations and committees that positively impact the community, including as chair of AAA Michigan, founding board member for The National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism, past chair of the Michigan Historical Center Foundation, past member of the Olivet College Board of Trustees, past president of the Optimist Club, and former area chair of the United Negro College Fund. Mr. Schuler has a deep commitment to the transformative power of an enriched educational experience. The Leelanau School will benefit from his wisdom and talents.

MEMBER – Bill Winslow, ’58 Bill graduated from Leelanau School in 1958 and was student council President during his time here. He attended Western Michigan University post-Leelanau and received his BS and MBA from Western. Since 2015, Bill has worked at Blickle USA Wheels and Casters as Head of Business Development.  For 13 years prior to that, he was The President of Colson Group, which also manufactured wheels and casters. Bill served as a manufacturing consultant between his time with The Colson Group and Blickle. Bill previously served on Leelanau board from 2013 to 2015, and was active on the Committee on Trustees, recruiting new board members, as well as opening doors to neighbors and friends with no other affiliation to Leelanau. Bill is married to Francie and has several grown children and grandchildren. In addition to enjoying time with family, Bill is an avid bicyclist, runner and skier.

FACULTY MEMBER – Bruce Hood Bruce is the chair of the Science Department and has been teaching science for 24 years, 23 of them at The Leelanau School. Bruce received his Bachelor of Science in Botany from the University of New Hampshire, his Teaching Certification from Northern Michigan University. and his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University in Animal Behavior. Bruce lives with his wife, Laura, on a cooperative farm in Cedar, where they have horses, pigs, chickens and family gardens. He has two children.

CHAIR EMERITUS – Robert McNutt, ’55   Bob was a member of the Board of The Leelanau School from 1970 to 1991 – serving as Chair from 1975 to 1980. After an 11 year hiatus, Bob rejoined the Board in 2002, and again served as Chair from 2005-2015. Bob speaks passionately about The Leelanau School and credits Leelanau with making him the man he is today.

Bob continues to be engaged by offering his assistance with any number of projects, including his tireless support of fundraising efforts for The Leelanau School.

TRUSTEE EMERITUS – Dr. Charles E. Olson, Jr. ‘48

TRUSTEE EMERITUS – Sue Miller, ’68

TRUSTEE EMERITUS – Patte Richards, ‘49

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