Bernheim Welcomes Three New Trustees in 2022

By Amy Joseph Landon

Bernheim is thrilled to welcome three new Trustees in 2022. Michael Aldridge, Richard Kessler, and Chris Rasheed will bring valuable experience and perspectives to our already talented Board of Trustees.

Michael Aldridge

Michael Aldridge is formerly the longest-serving Executive Director of the ACLU of Kentucky, a position he held since 2008. In that time, he and his team implemented the organization’s litigation, legislative, and educational programs around civil liberties issues.  Michael is a three-time graduate of the Rockwood Leadership program, Leadership Louisville’s Bingham Fellows, and in 2017 he was named to the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

Michael graduated from Centre College in 1993 with a B.A. in Art & Religion. He loves the breadth of what Bernheim has to offer and especially appreciates the Arts in Nature program, which connects visitors to the arts within the natural environment. Michael and his husband Matt reside in Jeffersonville, IN with their son Kaleb and dog Cookie.

Richie Kessler

Richard (Richie) Kessler is an aquatic ecologist and conservationist and teaches multiple courses in biology and environmental science at Campbellsville University. He has been involved with numerous conservation efforts in Kentucky, most notably serving on the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board for 24+ years including roles as its Project Review Chair and Board Chair.  He was the Green River project director for The Nature Conservancy for nearly 10 years and helped lead local and national efforts to formalize the first ecosystem restoration project between TNC and the U.S. Army Corps, which included establishing ecological flows thru a reoperation of the river.

A native of Greensburg, KY and was first exposed to the wonders of Bernheim while he and his wife lived in Bardstown in the 1990s. Richie and his wife Sonya have been married 31 years and reside in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  They have one child, Samuel, who is completing his B.S. and B.A. at the University of Louisville. Bernheim was the “go-to” location for quiet walks and bike rides, especially on Sunday afternoons, as well as an opportunity to discover native plants and cultivars for the home landscape.

Chris Rashed

Chris Rasheed was born in Louisville, KY and has lived in San Francisco, CA and Washington D.C. He taught at and eventually coordinated The Street Academy for Young Black Males, founded in 2003. These efforts manifested into Carter G. Woodson Academy, W.E.B. DuBois Academy and Grace James Academy for Girls. Chris currently teaches Creative Writing and Activism & Artistry at W.E.B. DuBois Academy for boys. He is a Kentucky Education Association Delegate and serves on the Jefferson County Teachers Association Board of Directors.

Chris collaborated on “Courageous Imagination, HERO + SHERO Journeys,” a program that engaged 6th-8th graders to work together to analyze water, air and soil disparities in connection with socio-economic disparities and propose solutions as future policy leaders and hone their interests and ignite their passion into the community.

Working with youth in the community and classroom is Chris’ passion and calling. He was the winner of the 2017 Hilliard-Lyons Excellence Award, in recognition of Outstanding Teaching, named Commonwealth Ambassador, received a proclamation from Louisville Mayor Fischer for Outstanding Teaching, won the Green Spark award for the environmental justice work done by an organization he co-created, and for being Mentor and Musical Collaborator for the acclaimed social/environmental justice hip hop group, The Mighty Shades of Ebony. In 2019, Chris was awarded the Fellowship from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement for his life’s work in the community. He is a musician, writer, mentor, social/environmental justice community activist, poet, artist, and sports enthusiast.

We thank our entire Board of Trustees for their service and support, and we look forward to getting to know our three new members.

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