Our Team

Show-Me Institute

Brenda Talent

Before joining the Show-Me Institute, Brenda Talent served as counsel to the Saint Louis law firm Bryan Cave. She has argued cases before the Missouri Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Missouri, and has litigated cases in the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Donor Development Manager

Sara Meyr Addison is from Southeast Missouri and earned her B.A. in 1991 from Missouri State University. In 1992, she represented Missouri in the Miss World America pageant. In 1994, Sara completed her post-graduate diploma from the University of Birmingham in England. She has traveled extensively as well as lived and worked in several different countries.

Director of Development

Jessica Gatewood joined the Show-Me Institute as Director of Development in July 2016. She previously served as Director of Development and Director of Corporate Relations at Lindenwood Unversity.

Education Policy Research Assistant

Abigail Hoyt graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2018.

Director of Government Accountability

Patrick Ishmael is the director of government accountability at the Show-Me Institute. He is a native of Kansas City and graduate of Saint Louis University, where he earned honors degrees in finance and political science and a law degree with a business concentration.

Research Assistant

Philip Oehlerking graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in political science. His research interests include transportation policy and government transparency.

Director of Research and Education Policy

Susan Pendergrass was Vice President of Research and Evaluation for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools before joining the Show-Me Institute. Prior to coming to the National Alliance, Susan was a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education during the Bush administration and a senior research scientist at the National Center for Education Statistics during...

Policy Analyst

Graham Renz is a policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute.

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Emily Stahly is an analyst at the Show-Me Institute. She earned her B.A. in politics from Hillsdale College in Michigan and is researching education with the Show-Me Institute.

Executive Assistant

Scott Tanner joined the Show-Me Institute in July of 2013. He earned a B.A. in political science from the College of Wooster. Scott previously worked for the Mitt Romney campaign in Iowa during both the caucuses and the general election of the 2012 cycle. In between, he worked at the Iowa State House for a legislative session.

Elias - Web

Elias Tsapelas earned his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Missouri in 2016. Before joining the Show-Me Institute, he worked for the State of Missouri’s Department of Economic Development and Office of Administration—Division of Budget & Planning.

Patrick Tuohey
Director of Municipal Policy

Patrick Tuohey is the Director of Municipal Policy at the Show-Me Institute.

Kelvey Vander Hart
Development Assistant

Kelvey Vander Hart is originally from Des Moines, Iowa, and joined the Show-Me Institute through the State Policy Network Apprenticeship Program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri.

Fellow and Senior Writer

A former foreign correspondent who spent four years in the Middle East and served as Business Week’s London bureau chief during Margaret Thatcher’s first two terms as Britain’s prime minister, Andrew is a regular contributor to leading national publications, including the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal.


Scott Tuttle is a policy intern at the Show Me Institute.

Show-Me Opportunity

Director of Communications

Mike Ferguson is Director of Communications at Show-Me Opportunity. His media work includes producing and hosting “Missouri Viewpoints,” which airs on television and radio throughout the state each week. He has also hosted radio talk shows in Kansas City and Columbia. He has served in several local offices in Grandview, Missouri, including on the city’s Board of Aldermen.

Frank Catanzaro
Social Media Coordinator

Frank Catanzaro is social media and video coordinator for Show-Me Opportunity.

Mike Ederer

Mike Ederer joined Show-Me opportunity in 2015. He earned his bachelor's degree at Truman State University and his master's degree in English at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Before joining SMO he worked for 20 years in the publishing industry, primarily editing medical and social science textbooks.

Graphic Designer

Greg Kenkel, a Saint Louis native, has been in and around the design field for over 15 years. He earned his bachelor of arts degree studying graphic design and photography at the University of Missouri‑Saint Louis. His passion for art began at 7 years old taking painting classes at the Saint Louis Art Museum, which he continued for the next 6 years.

Multimedia Manager

Zach Lawhorn joined Show-Me Opportunity in 2018. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Missouri. Prior to joining SMO he worked in marketing and strategic communications for the University of Missouri School of Health Professions and was a senior media producer at Mizzou Video Production.

Bennett Lewis

Bennett Lewis Joined Show-Me Opportunity in 2017 after graduating from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. As an undergraduate he earned bachelor’s degrees in English and music theory.