Alice Ferguson Foundation Staff

Theresa Cullen, Executive Director



  • Jessica Miller | Program Coordinator, Bridging The Watershed
  • Samantha Battersby | Program Coordinator, Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative
  • Bill Townsend | Education & Facilities        


Land and Heritage

  • Cindi Rudzis | Facilities and Operations Manager
  • Jonathan Wright | Maintenance Associate


Admin & Communications

  • Nicole Watkins | Office Assistant
  • Varya Zhigilei |Director of Communications & Engagement
  • Tori Bitner | Marketing & Communications Coordinator
  • Brittney Gray | Corporate Relations Specialist



Theresa Cullen, Executive Director
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Theresa is a Prince George’s County native having spent her childhood in Hyattsville (Adelphi), attending and graduating from Prince George’s County public schools.  She spent summer vacations at state parks in Maryland and West Virginia and has continued this tradition with her own family. She fondly remembers canoeing with her family’s Grumman along the Potomac River.  She has spent 27 years in the field of education with 12 of those years teaching outside of the United States, most recently in Switzerland where she was the Head of The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). She holds two Master’s degrees in Leadership and in Education.  Environmental education and sustainability have been a focus of Theresa’s work with students and teachers and she is thrilled to be a part of AFF supporting its mission to the greater DC and Maryland regions. When not at AFF, Theresa is busy with her high-school aged son and middle-school aged daughter.  On and off the farm, Theresa can be seen with her close friend and companion, Sadie, a poodle/pointer mix rescue.


Tori Birtner, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
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Tori grew up in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Her passion for agriculture developed during her years as an FFA member throughout middle and high school. Before attending college, Tori was nominated to serve on the Virginia FFA State Officer team, in which she deferred her education and traveled the Commonwealth visiting agriculture programs and speaking with students about the importance of leadership, opportunities in the FFA, and careers in agriculture.

Tori graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Sciences and Bachelor’s in Public Relations, along with a minor in Leadership and Social Change. Pursuing an opportunity to educate, Tori spent three years as a middle school agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor before joining AFF in summer of 2019. Though she is not directly in the classroom, working for AFF allows her to combine her loves for promoting hands-on education and communicating to others about such opportunities and their importance through a variety of media channels. Her marketing and communications experience comes from interning with the National Association of Agricultural Educators and working as the Media Specialist for the Virginia FFA Association for several years.

Currently, Tori lives in Winchester, Virginia with her husband. When she is not in the office, you can find her cheering on the Virginia Tech Hokies, traveling or crafting the latest Pinterest-inspired DIY projects. 


Samantha Battersby, Program Coordinator, Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative
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Born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Samantha knew from a young age that she wanted to make a difference and inspire people to love and care for the planet as much as she does. When she is not at work doing what she loves she is usually hiking (and taking pictures) at State and National Parks with her fur children and fiancé.




Jessica Miller, Coordinator, Bridging The Watershed
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Jessica grew up in Prince William County, Virginia. She studied geology and geography at George Mason University. Serving with Americorp as a Student Conservation Association intern in various National Parks cemented her desire to work in the conservation field. Before coming to the Alice Ferguson Foundation, she worked in North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia for the National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service. She has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys gardening, hiking, biking, crabbing, and birding.



Cindi Rudzis, Facilities and Operations Manager

Cindi’s childhood was spent exploring the forests and shores of the Potomac and Mohawk Rivers, the bayous of Louisiana and even a little time along the Thames. After graduating from Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, she returned to Virginia and later Southern Maryland, where she pursued her career as both an illustrator and art director, concentrating on marketing support via visual communication and publishing. She brings her deep appreciation of the local ecosystem, familiarity with both farm animals and resident wildlife, and creative problem solving to balance the natural beauty, agricultural function, and vibrant learning atmosphere at AFF. Most days, she’s just happy to be in the barnyard, doing chores and looking after the four legged residents of Hard Bargain Farm. Cindi spends her spare time painting and creating stained glass works centered around the nature, allegory, history and myth.  She and her husband John live in Accokeek with a small herd of horses, a flock of Hog Island sheep, numerous chickens, their much loved dogs, barn and house cats, and Albus Dumblebuns, the house rabbit. 


Bill Townsend, Educator Associate
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Bill Grew up in Accokeek, working on Hard Bargain farm and exploring the Potomac River. After graduating from Springfield College with a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation Management, he spent several years teaching English as a second language in Taiwan and photographing Asia. When he returned, his love of the great outdoors lead him back to Hard Bargain Farm as a Naturalist and wildlife photographer. When not teaching children about nature and agriculture in southern Maryland, he spends his time kayaking, climbing, hiking, and traveling.


Jonathan Wright, Maintenance Associate
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A life-long resident of southern Maryland, Jonathan graduated from the University of Maryland in 1982 with a B.A. in Archeology. After spending time in the Middle East as an archaeologist, specializing in mortuary excavations and doing historic excavations in the Mid Atlantic, Jonathan settled again in Prince Georges County. He has worked for the last quarter century at two outdoor education foundations on the Potomac shore. When not working he actively pursues the ever elusive Micropterus Dolomieu.