Michael Stevens – President
Michael Stevens is currently PLATO president. He has been a PLATO member since 2013, a member of the board of directors since 2016, chair of the Communication Committee, 2016-17, and PLATO vice-president, 2017-18. Michael retired from the Wisconsin Historical Society in 2013, where he held various positions, including State Historian and State Historic Preservation Officer. A Milwaukee native, he earned a PhD in history from the UW-Madison. His volunteer work in retirement includes membership on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Historic Landmarks Committee (National Park Service), and the Fitchburg Landmarks Commission as well as president of his condominium association. He continues to write and publish history. With adult children and grandchildren in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and France, Michael and his wife, Therese, continue to rack up frequent flyer miles.
Kathy Brown – Vice President
Kathy Brown is currently on the PLATO Board of Directors serving as Vice President. She joined PLATO in 2014 and has been a member of the Curriculum Committee since 2015, where she served as Co-Chair for several years. Kathy retired from SSM Health/St. Mary’s Hospital where she worked in the Human Resources Department with primary focus on new employee orientation. Kathy also co-founded a small computer training business which operated for 25 years where she helped employees with their software skills. She also taught at the high school and college levels. Kathy received her B.S. from Northern Illinois University and her M.S. in Continuing and Vocational Education from the U.W. Madison. Kathy has 2 children. Her only grandchild lives in Boston, so she can often be found in the Northeast and enjoying travels with her son and his family. Kathy is an active advocate for the disabled, speaking for the needs of her daughter and others.
Patricia Herrling – Secretary
Patricia Herrling is a retired librarian from the UW-Madison and a certified Braille transcriber, translating print into braille for the blind and visually impaired. She has also been the library coordinator for Braille Library & Transcribing Services (BLTS) in Madison for the past 10 years. Patricia has been a PLATO member since 2008 and has taken several PLATO courses throughout those years. She also co-coordinates a course held in the fall of each year on the Sacred Feminine in various religions. Patricia is a member of the the PLATO Website Committee. Her hobbies include reading, walking and knitting.
Scott Kolar – Treasurer
Scott Kolar grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. After graduating from Jacksonville University, he served for nine years in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer. He earned a master’s degree in management information technology from Boston University and then worked in the information technology industry for over 20 years while his wife, Mary, pursued her career in the Navy. Scott and Mary moved to Madison in 2008 when she retired after 28 years. They were drawn to Madison for the wonderful quality of life. Scott has been a PLATO member since 2009. He chaired the Website Redesign Taskforce in 2010. He was an At-large member of the Board of Directors from 2013 until he was elected Vice President in 2015. Elected President in 2016, he completed two terms last year. He was elected as Treasurer in 2018.
Paul Thompson – At-LargePaul Thompson joined PLATO three years ago and has taken two PLATO courses every semester since. He has made presentations at PLATO’s “Global Affairs” class and serves as secretary of the Curriculum Committee. Paul has a master’s in architecture and co-founded the University of Wisconsin-Madison Disaster Management Center. He developed several post-disaster housing reconstruction projects in low income countries. Paul has designed the curriculum, developed training materials and conducted several dozen five- to ten-day workshops on disaster preparedness, refugee emergency response and recovery from conflict in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America for the United Nations and humanitarian NGOs. Paul has lived in Madison for 40 years. He and his wife have one son and one daughter.
Sharon Scrattish – At-LargeSharon Scrattish has been a member of Plato for about four years. She joined the Local Events Committee early on and participated in a number of events, including co-leader of trip to Madison Geological Museum and the Discovery Institute, and organizer and host of the Plato breakfasts, twice a month. Her career was in social work. Because the family traveled a lot, she was a social worker on the South side of Chicago, in Denver CO, and the most time in San Diego CA. Areas of work included child abuse/neglect, adoption services, nursing home service. Her last 15 years before retiring she decided to turn her hobby of “throwing pots” into a full time job. A lot of hard work but able to make a living at it. After retirement Sharon participated in various volunteer activities including political work, and almost three years as a docent at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art at the Overture Center. She finds Plato her favorite volunteer endeavor. Sharon is widowed and has one son Louis. Her husband was an historian for the National Park Service. Her son Lou is an ER doctor at UW. When in the ER he is in charge of the room and mentoring the interns. He is also a Med Flight doctor.