Meet the Staff

Kayla Echols

Health & Fitness Center Coordinator

Kayla Echols, PWSC Health & Fitness CoordinatorKayla grew up in Georgia where she met and married her husband of 4 years.  Kayla’s husband joined the Coast Guard and they left the south to enjoy the coastal life. After a brief period in Corpus Christi, Texas, they were offered the opportunity to come to Alaska. Excited to start a new adventure, she and her husband moved to Valdez. 

Kayla has a passion for living a healthy lifestyle. She believes that fitness is necessary for not only physical health, but mental as well. Since moving to Alaska, Kayla has enjoyed the many outdoor recreational activities Valdez has to offer. Hiking, biking, and skiing have become some of her favorite alternatives to the gym. Besides working out Kayla enjoys DIY projects, a good book, and road trips.

Her love for fitness and her background in the beauty industry has  motivated Kayla to help others feel good through exercise. She strives to create a positive, learning environment where anyone can achieve their fitness goals.

 

Sarah Histand

Health & Fitness Instructor

Sarah Histand, PWSC Tabata Bootcamp InstructorSarah Histand is teaching group fitness classes. Sarah believes that fitness can be fun and that we are often capable of more than we realize. She brings this passion and excitement for possibility to her classes and her work at the Health & Fitness Center. 

Sarah is a lifelong Alaskan, having grown up in Soldotna and worked around the state before moving to Valdez in 2013. She is a wilderness adventurer, a yoga junkie, and a bookworm. She loves Valdez for its outdoor recreation access, wild weather, and supportive community. Sarah has a Master’s degree in Social Work, is the Chair of the Sound Wellness Alliance Network (SWAN), and an AFAA certified Personal Trainer. She is also a certified Tabata Bootcamp Instructor, PiYoTM Instructor, Spinning® Instructor and a Wilderness First Responder.

 

Donna Lane

Health & Fitness Instructor

Donna Lane, PWSC Health & Fitness InstructorDonna Lane leads two classes at the Health & Fitness Center: Bodies in Tune and Longevity Stick Art. Leading these classes allows her the fun of encouraging others to work out and also keep herself active. She enjoys the social aspect of exercising with friends as well as the physical and mental benefits. Certified in Longevity Stick Art, she is currently studying to become a certified AFAA Group Fitness Exercise leader. 

Born in New York City and raised in a suburb, Donna moved to Texas to attend college where she received a BA in Architecture. She has worked as an architect in a variety of position ranging from historic building researcher, landscape architect, and state park planner. She has lived in Alaska for more than 30 years including 22 years living aboard a sailboat. Donna feels quite lucky to have lived in three such different locations. She enjoys biking, gardening, community volunteering, reading and being fit.

 

Amber Mehlberg

Health & Fitness Instructor

Amber Mehlberg is a Certified Personal Trainer at the Health & Fitness Center and also teaches group fitness classes. She grew up in Alaska and now lives in Valdez with her husband and two children. Amber’s personal experience of lifestyle change through fitness helps her approach her work as a trainer at the Health & Fitness Center with understanding and compassion. A couple years after having her youngest child in 2007, Amber found herself still struggling to lose the “baby weight”. When she tipped the scale over 180 lbs. and tired of being out of shape and feeling unhealthy, she decide to make a choice for change and began running and exercising and making good food choices. Loosing over 50 lbs and becoming healthy empowered her to take charge of her life and go after her goals. She wanted to become a Personal Trainer to teach other people that good fitness is attainable and empower them to go after what they want and succeed. She believes that there is nothing you can’t achieve if you believe in yourself and are willing to work hard and never give up.

 

Michelle Worby

Health & Fitness Instructor

michellewebsitepicMichelle Worby is a Yoga Instructor at Health & Fitness Center. She graduated from Adrienne Reed Power Yoga School with certifications in Power Forms of yoga including Flow, Yin, and Restorative. Michelle moved to Valdez in March, 2014 from Palatine, Illinois where she owned her own studio for over four years.

Michelle’s love for yoga started in 1991 after she experienced some challenging health issues. Yoga helped her move through these health issues and toward a better quality of life. After personally experiencing how transformative yoga can be, Michelle became a teacher to share with others what yoga had given her. Michelle gets so excited to teach each class and help students feel the best they can. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Michelle says, “I just love yoga and seeing the progress of students as they grow in their own yoga practice.”

 

Sarah Jorgenson-Owen

Health & Fitness Instructor

sarahjobiopicSarah Jorgenson-Owen​ (aka Sarah JO)​ is a certified PiY​o LIVE! (TM) ​Instructor, TurboKick LIVE! (TM) Instructor and Tabata Bootcamp ​(TM) ​​Trainer. Sarah also moonlights as the current Spin Instructor at the Fitness Center.

Growing up in Minnesota, Sarah spent her first 25 years indoors and inactive. After moving to Valdez in 2007, she became enchanted by the amazing natural beauty surrounding her and started getting out into nature by hiking, biking, and rollerblading. She took up running in 20​11 and hasn't looked back since. If you don't catch Sarah at her primary workplace, Copper Valley Telecom, you can generally find her out running the local trails and roads, attending or teaching a Health & Fitness Center group class, exploring one of our many National Parks, or simply sharing a glass of wine with friends. Sarah can't imagine living anywhere but Valdez, where she can stay busy organizing events like Valdez Gold Rush Days and the RHR Music & Art Fest. Sarah is an active member of the community and has a passion for volunteering and supporting various community organizations and events.​

 

Heidi Franke

Health & Fitness Instructor

Heidi website bio picture
 

Heidi Franke has lived in Valdez for twelve years.  She moved to the area as a wilderness guide with Anadyr Adventures, and now works at PWSC as an Academic Advisor.  She enjoys many artistic endeavors, including painting, acting, special effects make-up, and dance. She demands that her exercise also be fun, whether that's hiking with her husky, ice skating on the glacier lake, SUP’ing in the Port of Valdez, or cancan kicking. That’s why she loves teaching Zumba!  Heidi discovered Zumba several years ago and fell in love with the energy, the music, and learning new steps.  After Valdez went without an instructor for a long time, Heidi decided to jump in and get certified, and she’s been teaching Zumba for two years now.