Greg was appointed to the museum board in 2020. He is the Senior Vice President of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation. His primary job is to increase the economic activity of the Greater Yuma region by attracting and expanding base industry within the community. He has previously served as the Vice Chairman of the Arizona Educators Association Federal Credit Union along with The Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Arizona Young Professional board, and the Southwest Technical Education District - Workforce Council. Greg is a native of the Bronx, New York. He has called Yuma home since 2007 when he moved to the area immediately after graduating from Belmont Abbey College. He is super excited to open the museum because he understands that vibrant, healthy communities invest in their children's education from an early age.
Jenny Kaste, Secretary
Jenny Kaste is a transplant to Yuma but has made this community her home. Jenny was part of a military family and moved frequently and traveled often. Her variety of experiences bring a wide perspective to the board. She joined the board in 2014 and serves as the board Secretary. Jenny moved to Yuma directly after graduating from Elmira College in upstate New York with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Anthropology & Sociology. She began teaching 5th grade at Valley Horizon with Crane School District. She has collected a variety of teaching experiences in her years with the district and now teaches at Gowan Science Academy. Jenny first ignited her passion for education when she served as a youth volunteer and logged over 600 hours at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. She later served on a youth committee to help build a Children’s museum in Bangor. She currently lives and works in Yuma County with her husband and son. She is very excited to be overseeing the educational development of the Children’s Museum of Yuma County.
Jim Larson, Treasurer
Jim Larson was elected to serve on the board in March of 2014 and has been actively involved since then. He was elected by the board to be board president from 2017-2019. He is a 2005 graduate of North Dakota State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently working as an Engineer at Southwest Gas. He and his family have called Yuma home since they relocated in 2010 to be close to family. Jim, along with his wife and three children, are very excited about having our very own children’s museum right here in Yuma!
Kristen Smith Eshaya, Board Member
Angel Gutierrez, Board Member
Miriam Limon, Board Member
Miriam Limon joined the Children’s Museum of Yuma County’s Board of Directors in 2021. Born and raised in Yuma, she graduated from Cibola High School and attended Arizona Western College. She is currently the Senior Director of Marketing at AEA Federal Credit Union and has over 17 years of experience in private and public sector marketing. Miriam volunteers with organizations that support local children and education. She is currently serving as Board President of the Education Foundation of Yuma County and as Business Representative on the First Things First Yuma Regional Council. Outside of work, Miriam enjoys going on adventures with her fiancé, Benjamin, and their daughter, Audrey.
Ricardo Perez, Board Member
Ricardo Perez was appointed to the Children’s Museum of Yuma County’s Board of Directors in 2021 to fill a vacancy. He is the Senior Vice President and Operations Administrator for 1st Bank Yuma. He started with 1st Bank Yuma in 2005 moving his way up from teller to his current role overseeing branch operations, I.T., bank security and various other roles. He has previously served in the Yuma Regional Partnership Council of First Things First from 2009 – 2020 and is an active member of his church Agua Viva, serving in the Worship Team and Children’s ministry. Ricardo is a native of Yuma County. He attained his Master’s in Business Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2019 and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC) class of 2017. In June of 2021, Ricardo was recognized in the national Independent Banker’s Magazine (ICBA) as part of their third annual 40 under 40: Emerging Community Bank Leaders. Ricardo and his wife reside in Yuma with their three children.
Kevin Burge, Board Member (In Memorium)
Kevin Burge (March 5, 1974-August 27, 2022) was appointed to the Children’s Museum of Yuma County’s Board of Directors in November of 2013 to fill a vacancy. During his tenure on the board, he served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer and was instrumental in every facet of our development. Kevin was employed by Core Engineering Group, PLLC and worked with them since November 2013. Kevin previously served as the president of the local chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers as well as serving as the president of the Yuma Rotary Club July 2016-June 2017. Kevin was a native Yuman who was excited to move this endeavor forward for area children to enjoy. Kevin graduated from Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff) in 1997 and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering. Kevin is survived by his wife and their two children. He will be greatly missed as the Museum moves forward with opening in our permanent home.
Melissa Rushin Irr, Executive Director
Melissa is a Yuma native and highly respected veteran educator (Bachelor Degree in Special Education from ASU and Masters of Education degree from NAU). In 2017, she joined the Children’s Museum of Yuma County as its second Executive Director. Since that time, she has led the organization’s day-to-day operations and programming overseeing the Summer Children’s Museum at Yuma Art Center from 2017-2019, pandemic response programs, a wide variety of community outreach appearances, advocating for the museum locally, regionally, and nationally, fundraising/grant writing, and developing the exhibit and programming plan for our soon-to-open permanent location on Main Street. When not busy in the museum or in the community, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband of 32 years, Kevin, and their two grown sons, James and Jason. You’ll find Melissa and Kevin attending many community events, traveling to interesting places around the country, and engaging in art, music, theater, and science events wherever they can find them. The entire Rushin and Irr families are looking forward to the opening of the new year-round location of the Children’s Museum so that the children and families in and around Yuma County can enjoy, play, and learn for many years to come.