Administration

Sonna Swiderski

Sonna-for-web.jpg

Sonna is the Office Manager and was the SOS Food Service Director for seven years. During the summer months she can be found back in the SOS kitchen enjoying the heck out of herself cooking and working with our summer groups.  She says that she truly feels that SOS is the "best place on earth," and she loves coming to work every day.  She says her co-workers are wonderful and they have a lot of fun with the ever changing groups of children and adults they see each week.  

Sonna has lived in Tuolumne County most of her life, attending Curtis Creek Elementary and graduating from Sonora High. She loves spending time with her family and friends, cooking, and gardening.  She lives in the Phoenix Lake Area of Sonora with her husband, son, niece, her dog Rocky and three adopted cats. 

Janelle McDonald (Bluegill)

Janelle2-for-web.jpg

Janelle is the Program Coordinator II for the Sierra Outdoor School.  Growing up in Illinois and Wisconsin, she remembers her first trip west, a 2-week backpacking trip in the New Mexico wilderness with her father.  That experience had a significant impact on her and she knew that she would return to the mountains.  After earning her B.S. in Outdoor Education from Northland College in Wisconsin, she began her journey west. Her love for the outdoors and teaching has evolved into working as a naturalist for the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and non-profit outdoor education centers.  In 2010 she earned her M.S. in Recreation Administration and has been working at SOS ever since.  

Janelle lives just a few miles from SOS with her husband and 3 rescue pets.  When not at work, she keeps herself busy as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, xc skiing the local trails, swimming in the local lakes and backpacking the Sierras. SOS is a special place and she feels so fortunate to be able to share it with the thousands of students that visit here every year.    

Michael Olenchalk

Mike2-for-Web.jpg

Mike is the Director of the Sierra Outdoor School. He has been an employee of Clovis USD since 1985, teaching at Kastner Intermediate School and later at Buchanan High School. In addition to teaching Biology, Mike was the Science Department Chairman, a mentor teacher, and the track and field coach. He continues to conduct professional development activities promoting writing across the curriculum. Mike holds a Bachelor degree from Fresno State University and a Masters degree in Education from the University of San Francisco.
Mike is married and has two children. He enjoys gardening, reading, and being part of the outdoors. He believes that all children should have the opportunity to learn in nature's outdoor laboratory. Quote, "Earth laughs in flowers." -Emerson

 Brandy Lively (Acorn)

Brandy-for-web2.jpg

Brandy is the Program Coordinator II for Sierra Outdoor School. She grew up in Nebraska playing outside, exploring, and getting dirty. As an adult things have not really changed. She loves to backpack, kayak, and travel. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science in Nebraska and afterwards went on to work as a naturalist, natural resource assistant coordinator, and as a program director with a youth organization. She then earned her M.A. in Recreation Administration and came out west to work as an outdoor science school instructor. In 2016 she made the move to the Sierras and is very happy to be able to share this amazing place with students, parents, and teachers. 

Shawna Cook

IMG_9815.JPG

Shawna is the Food Service Supervisor at SOS and grew up in Tuolumne County. She attended Curtis Creek Elementary and graduated from Sonora High School in 1991. She has worked in food service for 19 years managing bakeries and cake decorating. She began at Sierra Outdoor School in 2002 and happily takes care of the student store, vending machines, and all areas in the dining hall and kitchen. She loves everything about her job here at SOS.

Weather Forecast

The SOS Team

Naturalists

Naturalist Interns

Food Service

Facilities

Raptors

Employment

Contact Us