With over 12 years of town and regional planning experience, Shawn possesses a deep desire to maintain Teton Valley’s tremendous qualities and apply the lessons he’s learned throughout his professional career to his role as director of VARD.
Shawn obtained a BS in Urban Planning from the University of Utah in 2001 and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming in 2011. Shawn has worked in a variety of communities in the Intermountain West, including Jackson Hole. He has contributed his professional skills to serving in governmental, private-sector, and volunteer capacities. Though a native of Kaysville, Utah, Shawn’s family was one of the original homesteaders in Teton Valley. While working as a planner for the Town of Jackson, Shawn moved to Teton Valley, a place he loves and knows well because of his deep family roots and fond childhood memories of visiting his large extended family that lived here. He is also an avid skier and mountain biker.
Program Director / Staff Attorney
An Idaho native, Anna credits her ten years of experience guiding on rivers throughout Utah, West Virginia, California, Oregon, and Idaho as the cornerstone of her interest in resource management. After studying ecology in Nunavut and Nepal, she earned her B.A. in Biology, with a French minor, from Colorado College in 2000. After college, she worked in plant genetics and diabetes research for the U.C. Berkeley Plant Gene Expression Center and U.C. San Francisco Department of Medicine. Anna then retired her petri dishes and went to law school, earning her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco in 2006. She specialized in land use and water law, interned with the Attorney General’s Energy Task Force, and worked at a private water law practice focused on California Clean Water Act litigation. Upon graduation, Anna returned to Idaho to work for another private water law practice in Boise which focused on transactional work in the Snake River Basin Adjudication. She joined the VARD staff in 2007, focusing on program work in the cities and county. She is also a member of the Idaho Bar. Anna currently serves on the Driggs Parks Committee and has served on the Teton County Economic Development Steering Committee. She is also Pathways Chair for the Teton Valley Trails and Pathways Board of Directors, and has served on the Board of the Driggs Downtown Community Association.
Program & Development Associate
Niki Richards was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and has called Idaho home for over 20 years now. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with Environmental Science emphasis from Idaho State University in 2008. She serves on the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance Board and has been a consultant working with many diverse communities over the past decade as the planner and manager of civic projects. Niki values VARD’s mission and is dedicated to wild places, responsible development, and preserving quality of life in the Teton Valley. She enjoys snowboarding, biking, clean air, clean water, and all things outside, as well as raising her awesome 9 year old son, very sassy cat, and 5-month-old Border Collie/Aussie ball of energy. There is no other place she would rather call home.
Steve McDonald grew up in southern Wyoming and has spent the last 20 years in Eastern Idaho. He was drawn to Teton Valley by his passion for skiing and hiking and his love of small town life. He shares a home in Driggs with his partner and their 4 children, 5 chickens, 2 cats and 1 naughty, but lovable, dog. In his spare time, he teaches pottery on the wheel at Teton Arts in Driggs. He earned a BA from the University of Washington in Seattle, but lives in Idaho for the skiing. Steve works for Valley Advocates because he loves the quality of life that is possible here in Teton Valley and wants to see it preserved for those who live and work in this beautiful place.
Graduate School Summer Intern
Taylor Cook grew up in Lincoln Nebraska and has been coming to Teton Valley every summer and winter for the past 3 years with his family. He enjoys cycling and hiking around the Valley with his two Irish Wolfhounds. He graduated in 2017 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Geography and minors in Political Science and Community and Regional Planning. Currently he is wrapping up his Masters’ Degree in Community and Regional Planning. He is writing his Masters’ Thesis on vacant subdivisions here in Teton Valley, which is how he got linked up working at VARD for the summer. His internship a joint project between VARD and the Teton County, Idaho planning department. After graduation in December, he hopes to be employed in Teton Valley or within close proximity, as he loves the community and lifestyle that it offers.