Mary Manner

Great Start Collaborative Coordinator

Mary Ufford Manner, originally from Ashtabula OH, attended Interlochen Arts Academy and fell in love with northern Michigan.  After receiving her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Zoology from Michigan State University, and living in various places around the country, Mary returned to Traverse City to raise her family.  Her professional work has been in formal and informal science education for children and families, with a focus on ecology and fresh water resources.

I often marvel that the older I get, the younger my audience becomes.  As a twenty-something I vowed to never work with people younger than college-aged, and planned my career path accordingly.  As a thirty-something mother of three young boys, volunteering in their preschools and elementary schools was the right thing to do.  And while I was there, I came to the realization that kindergartners are the very best experimentalists.  The curiosity, creativity and enthusiasm they exhibit are the hallmarks of great scientists, great artists, great engineers, and everyone who feels a passion for their work.  You might say I tumbled into early childhood, but now that I’m here—I’m here to stay.  My goal is to ensure that all children get to experience the wonder and enjoyment of learning, and to find their passions. 
Work: 231-995-7114
Cell: 231-632-5510

Missy Smith

Great Start Parent Liaison 

cell: 231-342-5433

Amanda Stevenson

Network Manager 

cell: 906-399-0816

Ashley Stradinger

United Way Americorps VISTA

Ashley Stradinger, born and raised in Traverse City MI, moved home to begin her career after receiving her Bachelors in Community Governance & Advocacy from Michigan State University.

work: 231-995-7116