FRC’s Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, and Staff


FRC’s Board of Directors -The board meets on the third Saturday of February, April, June, August, October, and second Saturday of December.

  • Timothy Kelly, FRC President, attorney, Science Department Chair at Helms Middle School, San Pablo, graduate of Fort Ross Elementary.
  • Sarah Sweedler, CEO; Sarah volunteered on the FRC board of directors for eight years before joining its staff. Prior to her transition to not-for- profit work, she worked for several decades as a high-tech independent writing consultant and as a freelance journalist focusing on natural and cultural history. Sarah serves on the Advisory Council of the Eurasia Foundation, as a director of CALPA (California League of Park Associations), and as a NOAA Beach Watch volunteer.
  • Tom Wright, FRC Vice President. Retired sixth grade teacher at schools in the San Joaquin Valley, Concord and Clayton; traditional wood craftsman who built his second home in Western Sonoma County.
  • Michael Dewees, FRC Treasurer. Retired database and large system expert for State Insurance Compensation Fund.
  • Sandra Curtis, FRC Secretary, business and marketing; Director of Innovative Projects, Plastic Pollution Coalition.
  • Jan Phelps, financial & organization expert for non-profits. Retired CFO of a family-owned winery.
  • Reno Franklin, Kashia tribe member.
  • Rich Panter, Bodega Bay resident, filmmaker, editor, writer, and producer.
  • Sabrena Rosenberg, Alaska Native representative.
  • John Benitz, descendant of William Benitz of Fort Ross pioneering ranch era in the mid-1800s; entrepreneur, filmmaker, conservationist.
  • Deborah Gordon, Executive Director of the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University; Mayor pro tem of Woodside, California.
  • Robert J. Spjut, lawyer; part time Sonoma Coast resident.

Directors Emeritus:

  • Prof. Kent Lightfoot (University of Califoria Berkeley)
  • Prof. Ludmila Ershova (San Francisco State University)

FRC’s Advisory Committee

  • Jan Kalicki, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Irina Dyatlovskaya, Russian language translator
  • Lauren Peters, Alaska Native community builder
  • Susan Rudy, retired National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service Ranger and Resource Manager
  • Mikhail Pashkov, San Francisco Public Library, International Center, librarian; member of Kennan Institute

FRC Staff