Board of Directors

Will St. John, president, of Lincoln, Michigan, a retired editor for the Detroit Free Press, is a founding member of Inspiration Alcona and organizer of its school programs. He is past president of the Alcona County Library Board and a board member of the Harrisville Arts Council. He serves on the grant review boards of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. He holds a BA from Rice University and a PhD from Johns Hopkins University.   

The Honorable Laura Frawley, vice-president, of Hubbard Lake, Michigan, is a founding member of Inspiration Alcona and judge of the Probate Court of Alcona County. She and her staff have won several awards for their work with juveniles. She sits on the State Bar of Michigan’s Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics. She helps Inspiration Alcona with legal issues and serves as cochair of the annual Alcona GospelFest event. Judge Frawley holds a BFA from Northern Michigan University and a Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.   

Lynn VanderLinde, secretary, of Black River, Michigan, is the recently retired reference assistant for the Alcona County Library, where she was directly responsible for the library’s art-related programming for all ages. She is also an Alcona Historical Society committee chairperson and financial secretary for her church. She is cochair of the Alcona GospelFest event. She holds a BS from Central Michigan University. 

Judy St. John, treasurer, of Lincoln, is a retired banker turned artist. She is a displaying artist at the Dragonfly Gallery in Harrisville. She is also a board member of the Northeast Michigan Art Guild. She has taught classes for two local art guilds and for the Alcona County Library. She serves as cochair of the Alcona Arts Retreat. Judy holds a BS from the University of Michigan, an MS from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Mael Fritz, board member, of Harrisville, is a former French and English educator currently working for Northeastern Michigan Community Service Agency as a school success liaison. She works with at-risk primary students at Alcona Community Schools. She speaks four languages and is a member of a local craft makers collective.  Mael holds a BA in French from Grand Valley State University. 

Susan J. Haight, board member, holds professional legal service credentials including a Project Management Professional accreditation. Outside her professional life, she has a history of music participation and enjoyment in Alcona and the surrounding counties as a vocal choral member and president, as well as hand bell choir member and president. Susan is also involved in the county-level emerging Opportunity Zone economic development efforts. Every other Sunday you can find her at the local Ukulele Meet-up, where she enjoys playing and singing with friends and peers.

Helen Hierta, of Greenbush, Michigan, board member, is a ceramic artist and author. While living in Los Angeles, she was a celebrity chef specializing in organic farm to table cuisine, raw foods and fasting before those ideas became mainstream; built Noble Ideas, a natural dessert business distributing to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s; raised four children, and published a book of poems. Helen has won awards for her ceramics in regional and national shows.

Marisa Tear of Oscoda, Michigan, board member, retired in 2017 after a 40-year career as an administrative assistant. She then served as a VISTA worker with Americorps at Alcona High School, where she helped students connect to different careers and life decisions. She serves on the steering committee of Inspiration Alcona's Farm to Fork Alcona project and acts as treasurer for that committee. Maisa graduated from the Sawyer Business School of Centerline, Michigan.

Joe Thomas, board member, of Harrisville, Michigan, provides technical support for patrons and staff at Alcona County Library. He is responsible for photographing events and creating content for the library's social media accounts, and has contributed website and print design services for local businesses and promotions. He holds a BA from Earlham College.