Our Team

Meet the wonderful people that make the Playhouse a fun place to be.

Meet Our Board

Debbie Simmons – Board President

Nate Thomas – Vice President

Christy Mershon – Secretary

Carly Bowles – Treasurer

Emily Sutton

Robert Gentry

Larry Simon

Dr. Brandy Hepler

Kelly Cox

Meet Our Admin Team


Michael Toeniskoetter – Executive Director

Michael attended Southeast Missouri State University and has most recently worked at Southeast Missouri Hospital in the neurosurgical department. Michael joined Discovery Playhouse in 2015 as an associate, became Programs Director in 2018 and eventually taking on the directorship in late 2020. Michael’s passions are for education and access. His favorite exhibit is the new “Discover Dinosaurs Paleontology Lab”




 Mary K. Cook – Operations Manager

Mary is a student at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, majoring in Musical Theatre Production, Management, & Design. Mary joined Discovery Playhouse in 2017 as an associate, served as Supervisor from 2018-2020 and took over as Operations Manager in 2020. Mary loves her dog Ringo and her favorite “exhibit” is Stevie the Ball Python!




Joseph Taylor– Education Coordinator

 Joseph is a 6th grade Science and Social Studies educator. Joseph graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelors in Education. Joseph’s passion for education stretches from the classroom to the museum and beyond! Joseph joined Discovery Playhouse in 2018 and took on the roll of Education Coordinator in 2021. Joseph’s favorite exhibit is the Planetarium because, “It’s out of this world!”







Madison Grimmer- Executive Assistant

Thank you to our incredible sponsors!