Meet the Fit4Kids Staff
Garden Program Coordinator
Sara can often be found with her hands in the soil! She loves spending time working in her home garden and in our school Learning Gardens. As a young child, Sara grew up playing in her Grandfather’s bountiful farm garden which proudly supplied her whole family with fresh veggies when in season. Sara also stays active by taking long walks with her Great Dane and corgi and biking around local parks with her husband! Sara‘s favorite vegetables are beets, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Although, she hasn’t really met a vegetable she doesn’t like. After three years working as a Learning Garden Educator for several schools around Richmond, Chesterfield, and Henrico, Sara has transitioned to our Learning Garden Coordinator. Sara graduated from J. Sargeant Reynolds with an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Sara is very passionate about working with children and encouraging them to lead a healthy lifestyle by exposing them to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Justine grew up in Virginia Beach, and moved to Richmond in 2005 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a BA in Women’s Studies and a Masters of Social Work with a focus on Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice. Prior to joining Fit4Kids, Justine served as a Legislative Assistant in the Virginia General Assembly, and previously taught Pre-Kindergarten in Richmond. Her favorite fruits are bananas and pineapple, and her favorite veggies are broccoli and rainbow chard. Justine is an animal lover, and stays active by practicing yoga, running, and playing soccer with her dog. She lives on the Southside of Richmond by the river with her husband, Brendan, dog, Wendy and cat, Pumpernickel.
Director of Development
Whether it’s hiking the Buttermilk trail, taking in live music at one of Richmond’s many festivals, or checking out the South of James farmer’s market, Leigh loves spending time outside. Growing up, she was a track & field athlete, focusing on hurdles and pole vault, and values the role fitness and sports have played in her life and overall well-being. Leigh graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and loves watching college basketball and showing her Tarheel pride! Prior to joining Fit4Kids, she supported fundraising and community relations at YWCA Richmond and has been in human resources roles at several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. She’s also a new mom and has been known to proudly share photos and stories of her little ones at the slightest urging!
Wellness Integration Specialist
Meghan grew up in California and still considers it ‘home’ (even though she’s been in Richmond 21 years!). She attended U.C. Berkeley and San Francisco State University. She brings 21 years of experience from Chesterfield County Public Schools. Meghan is a lover of ALL music from a children’s choir in NY to Prince to the Dixie Chicks. She enjoys staying active by taking group exercise classes and walks with her family. Meghan will be in Hopewell City Schools this year at Dupont Elementary and Harry E. James Elementary continuing the effort to bring wellness to the schools and community!
Katie McTavish Daniel
Katie grew up in Manassas, VA and moved to Richmond when she graduated from Longwood University; where she earned a BS in Kinesiology with a concentration in Health and Physical Education. Prior to joining Fit4Kids, Katie was Health and Physical Education teacher at John Rolfe Middle School. Katie loves to cook and try new recipes. She’s been known to do a ‘cookbook challenge’ and try everything in one cookbook. Her favorite way to stay active is taking stroller walks with her daughter and finding the best playgrounds!
A born and raised Virginian, Kayla returned to the state after graduating from West Virginia University in 2014 with a BA in Anthropology. Kayla first joined Fit4Kids as an Americorps VISTA in 2014 and was hired as our first-ever Program and Volunteer Coordinator in 2015. In 2017 Kayla transitioned into a new role, launching Fit4Kids’ newest program, Game On, Girl! Kayla loves working with adolescent girls and encouraging them to find which physical activity or sport they connect with most. Being a mountaineer, Kayla’s favorite outdoor adventure is hiking! Here in Richmond, she spends her free time exploring with her pup and snacking on trail mix!
Safe Routes to School Coordinator
Born and raised in New Jersey, Tara moved to Virginia to pursue two degrees from Mary Washington, a B.A. in Geography, and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education. She appreciates Richmond’s awesome music scene, and volunteers at her local art gallery and music venue. As a pedestrian and person who bikes in the city, Tara strives to encourage others to join in the fun, while advocating for the infrastructure necessary to make the journey safer. She currently transports her kids to daycare and preschool by foot or bike on most days, and is excited that her older son is sharing her love of two-wheeled commuting. Tara also loves to garden, and her Jersey roots always get her excited about tomato season. Homegrown tomatoes make the best sauce for pizza on the grill!
Wellness Integration Specialist
Molly is a born and raised Richmond native, coming back home after graduated from Longwood University. Molly has a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a Masters in Special Education. She comes to us with 8 years of experience as a teacher of students with disabilities in Chesterfield County. In her free time you can find her her hiking Pony Pasture with her dog, Olive, gardening or doing yoga. Molly is also a Sports Backers Fitness Warrior, which is a program that brings free fitness opportunities to high need areas. Molly’s placement is at Chimborazo Elementary in Richmond City Public Schools. She’s excited to meet all the students and the community members!
Mary Dunne Stewart
President & CEO
Mary’s favorite physical activity is biking the Capital Trail with her husband and two sons. Since joining Fit4Kids and learning how easy it is to grow your own food, Mary and her family love to eat the fresh zucchini, peaches, and peppers they grow at home. As the founding Executive Director, Mary leads Fit4Kids program development and implementation, fundraising, and strategic management. Mary has a long history of working to improve children’s futures through policy research and advocacy. Her past experience includes serving as the Policy Director of Voices for Virginia’s Children, the Associate Director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and teaching social justice and policy courses in the VCU School of Social Work. Mary was previously selected as one of Style Weekly’s Top Forty Under Forty. She has a Masters of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary.
Wellness Integration Specialist
Jeff’s journey to wellness led him to start school based running clubs so he would have someone to motivate him to work out during the week. It’s like running with 30+ mini personal trainers! To tackle the caloric side of things, he cooks up huge batches of meals. Chicken, butternut squash, and collards are easy to reheat once they are prepped and portioned out. Jeff is a seasoned veteran of Wellness Integration. He had already completed two years of Wellness Integration in Williamsburg-James City County Schools with SHIP (School Health Initiative Program). Jeff has helped guide Marguerite F. Christian Elementary School in Chesterfield County on their path to wellness. Now he moves further south to work with Cool Spring (formerly A.P. Hill) Elementary School and Lakemont (formerly Robert E. Lee) Elementary School in Petersburg, VA. Jeff earned his BS in Elementary Education from Penn State University. Bonus Fact, he was 1 of 12 Penn Staters who completed their student teaching across the pond in England!