Tom Kersting

Tom has taught woodshop for more than 25 years. He has a way of making children shine past their perceived limitations in both the projects they build and the people they become. He is revered as a local community gem among parents, some of whose kids, even up to age 12, must literally be bribed out of the woodshop at pick-up time. Tom has refined an unparalleled system of interest-based hands-on learning that builds children’s own problem solving skills in a challenging and safe environment where they grow socially and emotionally along with the complexity of their projects. Boys and girls alike leave Tom’s woodshop filled with pride, confidence and irrefutable physical proof that their dreams can become a reality.

Tom is currently seeking an apprentice with the depth of care, character, humility and commitment to learn and carry on his child-advocacy and woodworking crafts for many generations of Planet Kids to come. E-mail

James Reynolds

James was a Planet Kid himself more than twenty years ago! He grew up roaming the creeks of Mill Valley, playing drums in rock bands at Tam High, and building toy submarines and wooden snakes at The Planet. Now after six years as a founding director of children’s center Podcasts for Peace in Managua, Nicaragua, James has taken his heart home as a core member of The Planet Staff.


In May of 2018, he promised himself that co-founder Dave Kersting’s stroke and retirement would not mean the death of his community’s magical Neverland. With the support of alumni families and parent volunteers who feel the same (please reach out–lots of ways to help!), he will be ensuring that The Planet evolves as needed to serve future generations, while holding true to its roots in minors’ rights, lo-tech, interest-based learning and positive discipline. He believes in what the Planet has proven over the past 30 years: that if adult authority is used in a way that prioritizes authentic listening, respect, humility and care for children, instead of adults’ logistical or emotional convenience or unexamined tradition, then only the barest, yet carefully chosen and consistently enforced restrictions on children’s freedom are necessary to ensure physical and emotional safety for all, develop personal responsibility, and create an optimum environment for learning and living a happy, productive, and kind life.


To find out how you can be of service to The Planet and its mission in the community, please e-mail