Board of Directors and Staff
Gayle French, a native-born Texan, started braiding hair 29 years ago at Renaissance Festivals, and is now the co-owner of Twisted Sisters. Her involvement with RESCU began as a teaching tool for herself - to know and understand her options without having health insurance - as she is a traveling crafter on the circuit, and to learn about the resources RESCU has developed.
She holds degrees in Art, Interior Design, and Accounting from Stephan F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX. Gayle is the mother of two adult children and involved with the love of her life. Gayle joined the RESCU Board in 2009 and previously served as Secretary, and Chair of the Disbursement Panel.
Danielle Dupont - Vice President
Danielle is the Madame of the Washing Well Wenches, an all female Festival show, performing since 1992, that may be seen at up to 30 Renaissance Festivals around the country. Though Danielle participated in Ren-Faires mostly upon the stage, she has also done some time as a Crafter, Gamer and Entertainment Director. Danielle received her BS in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the University of South Florida (Honors Program - succeeded by her daughter, Samma, who also graduated from USF’s Honors College).
Besides wenching, Danielle is the CEO of Classic Shaving.com, a Men's Traditional Grooming Tools e-retailer. Danielle traveled for 15 years on the Festival circuit, and is currently settled into Southern California in a home-cum-production-palace named Chautauqua West with her husband, William, and their many guests. Her passions include gender equality, social justice, bungee jumping, and scuba spelunking. Danielle has been involved with RESCU since its inception and joined the board in 2005.
Linda Ballard - Secretary
Known for her dedication as the Director of the Kids Kingdom of The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire (Southern California), Linda brought that dedication with her when she joined the RESCU Board in 2011. Recently retired from administrating a medical research lab at UCLA, Linda also holds degrees in Journalism and Pharmacology.
Brian O'Leary - Treasurer
Brian is a member of the management team of Sherwood Forest Faire, a young show located near Austin, TX, where he is Craft Director. He and his partner are also part-owners of a weapons shoppe called Eternal Arms at Texas Renaissance Festival and Scarborough Renaissance Festival.
Brian is a firm believer in giving back to one’s community and consequently has spent over two decades volunteering (often in leadership positions) for organizations relating to youth at risk, underinsured people living with AIDS, art festivals and GLBT rights. Having joined the Board of RESCU in 2013, Brian is excited about combining his desire to serve with his love for the renaissance faire community. Brian enjoys spending time with his partner and their three young children at their home in Houston, TX . His hobbies include reading, genealogy, travel, event planning and playing computer games.
Philip Earl Johnson - Honorary President
Philip Earl Johnson may be seen performing as MooNiE the Magni'Cent at many Renaissance Faires during the year. He is also part of the comedy duo, MooNiE and Broon with Brian Howard. When not performing at faires, he is an actor on stage, television and film. Philip is married and has four children who are very patient with his work on behalf of RESCU. Phil is a member in good standing of AEA (Actor's Equity Association), SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). Phil holds a BS in Theater from Illinois State University and is a founding member of RESCU.
A North Texas-based transplant from her native Hudson Valley, New York, MaritaBeth still misses having four seasons and treasures her summers in Wisconsin at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Scarborough is her home faire, and Texas Renaissance Festival rounds out her year. Although she owns her own small company making custom bespoke historical clothing as A Wardrobe in Time, to most folks at faire, she is the face of Pendragon Costumes, where she is proud to be marking her twenty-first anniversary season as manager.
In 2006, she and her husband added East Wind Games to their little family of micro companies, first at Scarborough, and now also at Bristol. MaritaBeth has a B.S. in Journalism and an extensive background in retail management and event planning. Happy to be able to give back to the community that has given her so much, MaritaBeth is honored to be among the newer members of the RESCU Board of Directors.
Lynda brings over 20 years experience in the non-profit arena to RESCU's talent pool, joining the board in 2009 at the annual meeting. A native Midwesterner, Lynda studied Improvisational Theater with Alan Baranowski, Tom Tully & Danny Breen, Del Close, David Shepherd and Don DePollo while living in Chicago. She holds an Associates of Arts degree from Wright College - Chicago, and both a BA and MEd from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She's a member of the International Wenches Guild, International Fellowship of Royal Privateers, and is a Renaissance Mercenary. She recently returned to the Greater Washington DC area from the Shires of Vermont with her very supportive husband, Dan Ovington, and some very curious indoor rescued felines. Her home faire is the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Co-Director, Fundraising and Development
Melissa Starks, rejoined the RESCU Foundation board after a 4 year hiatus, as Development Director at the August 2014 annual meeting and is currently serves as Co-Director with Leigh Dokos.
Melissa holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Bradley University. After graduating, Ms. Starks taught Speech and Theatre in the Kansas City, Missouri School District before transitioning into the financial services industry where she specialized in working with other artists, teachers and non-profits.
Currently, Melissa is the Lead Artist and Owner of Enchanted Chains Jewelry and has been hand-making original Chainmaille designs for over 20 years. In addition, She moonlights as "The Kilt Mistress", managing for Got Kilt.
Traveling full time since 2006, her circuit has included The Florida and Bay Area Renaissance Festivals, Great Lakes Medieval Faire, Bristol, The Kansas City, St Louis, and Louisiana Renaissance Festivals. As well as The Georgia Renaissance Festival and Scarborough Faire, working for Got Kilt, in addition to various Celtic and Pirate events.
She makes her home in Pinellas Park, Florida.
Carol Black - Executive Director
Having just returned from an intensive Shakespeare training program at LAMDA, Carol was a Chicago actress when she was drawn to Renaissance Faires over 30 years ago. She has held numerous management positions as crafts coordinator, entertainment director, show consultant and booking agent at various festivals and for other performers; nurturing the balance between the creative and business side.
Additionally, Carol has performed her original character Lady Ettie at schools and events across the country, including Summerfest, the Florida Renaissance Faire, Tennessee Renaissance Festival, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire. She established the Extreme Renaissance Bocce League 15 years ago, and only recently won the trophy (Go team, go!). She also enjoys archery, gardening, her family, and has a passion for making people laugh.
Chris Major - Office Administrator
Kaelyn Globig - Case Manager
Kaelyn has been a sales person, designer, and business owner who mainly found her venues at Renaissance festivals, music festivals and street fairs for 10 years. She had an unfortunate trip to the hospital and was able to advocate for herself and reduce her own bill, with RESCU providing some additional assistance. She was both grateful and inspired by the good work RESCU does and was recruited as a volunteer advocate over 4 years ago. Kaelyn joined the RESCU staff in late spring 2012 as our Case Manager. Kaelyn holds an Associates in Liberal Arts and aspires to further education.
Heidi Bolton - Bookkeeper
The Board Members of the RESCU Foundation, Inc. would like to express our supreme thanks to all of our significant others for understanding what pulls us to work so passionately and for supporting us through all of the time it takes to get it done.
Updated September 2015