Board of Directors

The Board of Directors meets on the first Monday of the month for 1½ hours, at 5 pm immediately before the Conejo Open Space Trails Action Committee (COSTAC), to make it more convenient to attend both meetings. The meetings are open to the public and are a great way to learn about the developments and areas of concern in the Conejo open space. Refer to the Connect with Us page to see the location of the monthly board meeting.

COSF directors are all passionate about protecting, preserving, promoting, and enjoying the Conejo open space. We love being in, talking about, looking at, and working for the publicly owned trails and land that surround us.

We come from a variety of backgrounds. Some COSF directors are retired, some are in the early stages of their careers, and the rest in between. Several are native to the Conejo Valley or Southern California, while others moved here from other regions of the US and the world. We have widely differing ideas and opinions on many subjects, but we share one overriding connection: love of our public open space.

COSF directors donate their time and receive no compensation for their services. If you might be interested in joining our board or working with us, please contact us at

Bill Miller – President (Director since 2022) Originally from the front range of Colorado, Bill grew up as an outdoorsman—raising and riding horses, fishing in creeks and rivers, skiing of all types. Being exposed to open spaces throughout his life taught him the value of fresh air, nature, and exercise in an increasingly hectic world.

As a resident of Thousand Oaks since 2008 and an avid mountain biker, Bill and his wife regularly enjoy the Conejo Valley Open Space on their mountain bikes. Bill is a bicycle-industry veteran, approaching 35 years of experience ranging from retail to manufacturing, product design and innovation, and now managing training and development for internal and retail staff at Giant Group USA, headquartered in Newbury Park.

The outdoors and cycling have been such a large part of Bill’s life that he believes that supporting open space preservation in a place as beautiful as the Conejo Valley is a great way to give back to the community.

Katrina Nolan – Vice-President (Director since May 2023) grew up in New England, where her love for the outdoors started with family camping and boating trips.  A passion for exploration inspired a move to California and while studying biology in college, Katrina was captivated by California’s diverse plant communities and ecosystems. After college, she pursued a career in biotech in quality and supply chain management. Building on her lifelong interest in California’s environment, she currently volunteers at local native plant nurseries and serves as a citizen scientist in the Xerces Society California Bumble Bee Atlas project and Western Monarch Count; she is currently working toward a Master Gardener certification. Katrina has lived in the Conejo Valley with husband and family for over 30 years and is grateful for Conejo’s beautiful open spaces. She enjoys hiking and exploring, kayaking, studying ecology/conservation topics and macro photography.

Steve Johnson – Treasurer (Director since March 2020) Steve Johnson has lived in the Conejo Valley since 2003, and retired from Amgen in 2014, where he worked in information technology.

He can be found hiking area trails three or four times a week, with The Weekday Trailblazers hiking group, or scouting lesser-known trails.

He serves in leadership positions on the boards of area nonprofit arts organizations, and on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Science and Health of DePaul University in Chicago. He holds undergrad degrees in physics and mathematics (with a minor in music), and a graduate degree in computer science and engineering.

Elayne Haggan – Secretary (Founding member; Director since 1995) Elayne was born, grew up and went to college in Maine, then lived in Boston and New York City. Her husband Tom was offered a promotion that required relocating to the LA area, so they moved to Thousand Oaks in 1982 for what was expected to be a temporary stay, and they’re still here!

They bought a house bordering Wildwood Park, with no idea how important “their back yard” and open space would be to them, becoming avid hikers and mountain bikers, and were founding members of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA). Elayne’s involvement with local open space issues began when the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) considered closing trails to mountain bikes, and Wildwood Mesa was scheduled for development.

Elayne was an initial appointee to the Conejo Open Space Action Committee (COSTAC) in 1989 and served on the committee through 2009. Formed to provide citizen input on trail connections, COSTAC also created the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) volunteer programs. The program closest to her heart is Trails Education Days.

When COSF was founded, COSTAC appointees automatically became COSF board members. She served as VP from 1995 – 2014. 2018 was her last year as President.

Elayne worked in sales and marketing for several companies, including Apple. Later she and her husband ran their business, TurboCat Lighting Systems, and she managed Consumer Relations at Universal Studios Home Entertainment from 2004 until retirement in 2014.

Steve Clark (Director since 2017) Steve grew up in Vancouver, Canada. As a child, he would go camping, canoeing and fishing with his father on the lakes in the many nearby mountains, but his main interest was in science and technology, and learning how things worked.

He moved to Thousand Oaks to co-found the Department of Computational Biology at Amgen, Inc. in 1991. He was happy to discover that the Conejo Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains and other nearby areas have many great mountain biking trails. There are even more trails for hikers, so he would often leave his bike at home to explore new trails (to him) on foot.

To help others discover the local trails, he started the website where trails are shown on maps and described so that visitors can find their way and know what to expect. Since 2008, Steve has focused on volunteering to help the trails and open spaces, starting with CORBA (Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association) as a trail worker, photographer, trail crew leader and web master. He eventually became a member of the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, and then of the Conejo Open Space Foundation in 2017.

Anne M. Russell (Director since 2020) Anne M. Russell is a native of Baltimore, who also lived in Houston and Orlando before settling in Agoura Hills. She is a freelance journalist and former editor in chief of the women’s fitness magazine Shape. She holds a degree in English from Yale University.

She is an avid hiker, trail runner, and mountain biker, as well as an enthusiastic volunteer with the Sierra Club, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and the Xerces Society’s California Bee Atlas project. She is especially interested in studying and protecting Southern California’s native flora, having had training in the use of medicinal and edible plants.

Jerry Fehlman

Jerry Fehlman (Director since 2022) Jerry has been a resident of Simi Valley for over 20 years. Living in the Wood Ranch area, he enjoys hiking, especially the Long Canyon and Lang Ranch trails. His love for nature developed during his high school years spent in Southern Utah, where he camped and hiked around Zion National Park.

Jerry has a background in graphic design and professional photography and has a strong social media presence. (You can find him on Instagram at @j2_m_f ) Jerry is involved with many community organizations including serving as a board member of his homeowners association and volunteering with his son’s basketball and cross-country teams. Jerry is currently employed with Alliance Entertainment, a distributor of music, movies, and consumer electronics.

COSF board member John Noble holds a gopher snake.

John Noble (Director since May 2023). Born and raised in the Conejo Valley, John Noble was the last baby of 1963 in Thousand Oaks. John went through the Conejo Valley public school system, graduated in 1982 and began working at Kemp Ford. In 1995, he started his own construction business, which he ran for four years, subsequently joining Conejo Valley Unified School District in 1999, where he is the lone carpenter for the district, and the vice president of their union. He also played drums in various rock bands until 2013. John has three children, all named after songs: Shandi and twins Summer and Skye. He is a California certified naturalist and he and his daughter Shandi are Conejo Valley rattlesnake relocators. They respond to roughly two dozen calls a year. John’s hobbies include photography, geocaching, camping, wine and beer tasting, exploring new places and of course, hiking. Hiking with his kids is his favorite thing to do. Long live the Dork Squad.

Tom Becker (Director since February 2024). Tom grew up in Dayton, OH, and his interest in nature came from hiking with his family and running trails and roads after school on the track team. He enlisted in the Navy right after high school, serving six years during the Vietnam War. On his return, he graduated from the University of Dayton with an engineering degree. He relocated to Los Angeles to work at Hughes Research Labs in Malibu. While there, he was awarded a Hughes Fellowship to USC, where he received an MS in Computer Architecture. In 1978, he and his wife, Karen, moved to Thousand Oaks, where he taught part time at Moorpark College. His work efforts took him from Hughes to Texas Instruments, where he was an engineer and manager, retiring after 22 years. He’s now in his second career as an Adjunct Professor at Cal Lutheran, where he has sourced and taught Computer Science courses including Java, Data Structures and Algorithms.

Tom took up trail running in COSCA open space and ran several half marathons and 5Ks. His hiking and backpacking adventures have included the Channel Islands and Mt. Baldy. He has done Mt. Whitney several times, including the single-day ascent/descent, which earned him many blisters! In 2021, Tom joined COSTAC, where he organizes the Trail Outreach/Census effort. He rides his mountain bike four or five times a week in Lang Ranch or Wildwood Regional Park; his favorite rides are Woodridge Loop, Los Padres, and Saddle Pass/Windmill. He also enjoys golf and traveling with his wife.

History of the Board of Directors

  • Tom Becker: 2024
  • Katrina Nolan: 2023
  • John Noble: 2023
  • Brendan Callahan: 2022 – 2023
  • Bill Miller 2022
  • Joyce Deprest Higgins 2022 – 2022
  • Jerry Fehlman 2022
  • Tania Garcia: 2021-2024
  • Alberto Huerta: 2021-2022
  • Katie Morgan: 2021 – 2021
  • Anne M. Russell: 2020
  • Steve Johnson: 2020
  • Mary Klem: 2020 – 2021
  • Marcella Ketelhut: 2019 – 2022
  • Brendan Callahan: 2019 – 2021
  • Giancarlo Hamner: 2019 – 2023
  • Christina Robertson: 2018 – 2020
  • Tasha Spangler: 2018 – 2019
  • Kathleen Perkinson: 2018 – 2019
  • Steve Clark: 2017
  • Jerry Westby: 2017 – 2022
  • Kira Krukowski: 2016 – 2020
  • Brian Stark: 2016 – 2019
  • John Kross: 2016 – 2017
  • Janna Williams: 2015 – 2020
  • Dorothy Sullivan: 2015 – 2018
  • Craig Percy: 2014 – 2019
  • Anna Huber: 2014 – 2016
  • Georg Winkler: 2013 – 2018
  • Fontayne Holmes: 2011 – 2016
  • Melanie Ashen: 2006 – 2017
  • MaryJane MacLeod: 2005 – 2012, 2015 – 2018
  • Elizabeth Brown: 2005 – 2011
  • Nicole Tindell : 2000 – 2013
  • Burt Elliott: 1998 – 2014
  • Bill Cook: 1998 – 2005
  • Julia Osborn: 1997 – 2017
  • Kathleen Hardman: 1997 – 2007
  • Elayne Haggan: 1995, Founding Member
  • Virginia Bowers: 1995 – 2018, Founding Member
  • Mark Langton: 1995 – 2016, Founding Member
  • Gina Smurthwaite: 1995 – 2005, Founding Member
  • Jeff Alexander: 1995 – 2003, Founding Member
  • Paul DiNubilo: 1995 – 1998, Founding Member