* Executive Committee Members
Kristina has been on the board since 2006.
Kristina Mayer, Ed. D., is a specialist in the fields of philanthropy and education. She leads the KLMayer Consulting Group, providing leadership and management strategies for nonprofit organizations and foundations. The firm is located in Port Townsend, Washington, near Seattle. Dr. Mayer has degrees from Seattle University, Gonzaga University, and the Fielding Graduate Institute. Before launching her consulting career, she was a program officer for nearly a decade at both the Stuart Foundation and the Washington Mutual Foundation. Prior to that, she spent twenty years working in education as a school designer, teacher, and principal.
Dr. Mayer’s professional accomplishments include developing the Jefferson County Community Foundation, spearheading the Washington Initiative for National Board Certification and co-creating the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession. In addition, she has been an active member of many nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving education and supporting philanthropy. She holds emeritus memberships in Philanthropy Northwest, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Association of Washington School Principals. Dr. Mayer is a member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG).
Dr. Mayer is a seasoned world traveler. She often combines adventure travel, cultural learning and the application of learning to professional practice. Her concern for the people she has met in developing countries led her to join several Giving Circles to increase economic opportunities in Nicaragua through the use of micro-lending programs and improve safety at a floating hospital on Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Close to home, she has helped to create a community endowment fund and leads an effort to build capacity in the nonprofit agencies in the county where she lives.
Prior to retirement, Deborah Wilds served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of the College Success Foundation (CSF). CSF’s mission is to inspire underserved, low-income students to finish high school and to provide them with the supports and scholarships they need to graduate college and succeed in life.
Dr. Wilds also worked as a senior program officer for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led efforts for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Gates Cambridge Scholars, and Washington State Achievers Program. She also oversaw the early college initiative creating 250 new early college high schools across the country.
Prior to her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Dr. Wilds was the deputy director of the American Council on Education's (ACE) Office of Minorities in Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. She has co-authored several books, written more than 20 articles, and co-authored ACE’s Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education. She was the co-founder and chair of the Board of Directors of New Era Education, an independent school and pre-school located in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 2013, she was appointed to the Washington State Board of Education. She also serves on the boards of College Success Foundation, Washington State Mentors, College Spark Washington, The Corporation for Enterprise Development, and the Seattle University Board of Regents.
Dr. Wilds has a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Planning, and Administration from the University of Maryland at College Park; an M.S. degree from Howard University; and a B.S. degree from California State University, San Diego.
After serving as a language Arts, history, physical education instructor and coach in the Puyallup School District for thirteen years, Judy Jennings left public education to design and implement the Junior High program and curriculum for Puyallup Valley Christian School (now Cascade Christian Schools) in 1982.
In 1988, Judy became the Secondary Principal for Seattle Christian Schools and served in that capacity until 1992 when she became Superintendent. During her tenure there she led the effort in receiving the schools’ first accreditation through NAAS/ ACSI, built a new campus, and strengthened the curriculum to include both special education and AP classes. Upon retiring from SCS in 2005, Mrs. Jennings became the Executive Director of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, where she had served as a Board member representing ACSI schools for 9 years prior to her appointment. In her capacity as Executive Director, Judy also represented the private schools of Washington to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) lobbying in both Washington D. C. and Olympia.
During her educational career, Judy also served in many professional capacities. She was a member of the ACSI Accreditation Commission, President of the Nisqually League 89-92, Representative to WCD 3 for the Nisqually League from 1990-2005 and its president in 94-95, WIAA Board Member from 1995-2005 and President in 96-97. Judy also served as a board member of National Federation of High School Associations from 2001-2005 representing 11 western states. Judy has also been a long time member of Rotary International, serving as president of her club from 96-97.
Mrs. Jennings holds an undergraduate degree in education as well as a Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership, both from Pacific Lutheran University. She is also a certified administrator for the Association of Christian Schools International.
Mrs. Jennings lives in Bonney Lake and has been married to her husband, Fran, for 46 years. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Kevin Laverty has an extensive background in public education. He was appointed to the Central Valley School District board in February 1993 and served there until moving to Mukilteo in late 1994. In 1999, Laverty was elected to the Mukilteo School District board and served for three terms. He also served on the WSSDA board of directors 2000-02 and was elected WSSDA president in 2010.
In addition to his school board experience, Laverty spent 28 years with Verizon and its predecessor company, GTE, in public relations. He managed the company’s Northwest philanthropy for six years which was heavily weighted toward K-20 education. He has been a member of the education funders group of Philanthropy Northwest, a member of the Partnership for Learning steering committee, board member and chair of the Digital Learning Commons, advisory board member for the Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest and a board member and secretary of the Greater Trinity Learning Academy in Everett. He is a past president of the Mukilteo Schools Foundation.
Laverty and his wife, Tomoko, have two grown daughters and reside in Mukilteo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Santa Barbara, and a Masters in Communication – Digital Media from the University of Washington.
Ms. Connie Fletcher has served on the Washington State Board of Education since 2009. Prior to this she served on the Issaquah School Board for 16 years and as WSSDA President and other officer positions from 2000 through 2003. She was honored for her service with the WSPTA Educator of the Year, the Issaquah Schools Foundation Golden Apple and by the Issaquah Community as Community Volunteer of the Year.
Professionally, she served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations, municipalities and school districts in governance, planning and major gifts fundraising. She also served as a human services planner and administrator for the City of Seattle and for two United Way organizations.
Connie is a native of Minnesota, earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in political science and completing graduate studies in public administration from Mankato State University. She is a Carver Policy Governance Academy graduate.
Fletcher has served on the Washington State Learning First Alliance, the National Association of State Boards of Education Governmental Affairs Committee, the Washington State Army Advisory Board, the Issaquah Kiwanis Club and the boards of several other child welfare and social service organizations.
Connie lives in Issaquah, has four children and three grandchildren.
Before retirement, Mr. Hughes worked for The Boeing Corporation in Seattle, spending the last ten years there as the Corporate Director of Education Relations. This position contributed to Mr. Hughes' passion for education, and he found the work at Boeing both professionally and personally rewarding.
Mr. Hughes has extensive experience working on behalf of students in Washington State, including 29 years with the Lake Washington School Board, six years on the Governor's Council on Advanced Technology in Schools, nine years with the Washington Roundtable's Working Committee on Education Reform, and six years as a member of the WSSDA Board of Directors.
Mr. Hughes graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in economics. He and his wife Linda have two children and four grandchildren.
Tre' has been on the board since 2011.
Tre' is currently the Chief Deputy Assessor for King County. He oversees the Department of Assessments, a $24 million dollar agency that provides more than $3 billion dollars in fair assessments that fund education, roads, hospitals, and fire for King County cities and districts. He formerly served as the Executive Director of Powerful Schools, a non-profit that works to eliminate the achievement and opportunity gap in public schools.
He has spent more than 15 years leading organizations. Tre' previously worked on the staff of a U.S. Member of Congress. In this position, he focused primarily on increasing the graduation rates and college preparedness among underrepresented youth.
Tre' is a global advocate for education equity and his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Tre' was selected as a 2009 ‘40 Under 40 Honoree’ by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Tre' currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Forty, Seattle Public Library, Metro Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Tower Club, and the Tupac Shakur Foundation.
Tre' has a B.A. in Political Science Pre-law from Morehouse College and a certificate in Creating Business Strategy from Columbia University Extension School in Tokyo. Tre' earned a certificate from the Non-Profit Executive Leadership Institute at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and is a graduate of the 2011 Class of Leadership Tomorrow Seattle.
Cindy McMullen has been involved in public education since she was first elected to the Central Valley School District board in 1987. During her 24-year tenure on that board, she served as president five times, worked with four superintendents and saw the construction or remodeling of over one-half of the schools in the district. She was an officer on the WSSDA board, serving as its president in 2007. A current member of the Spokane YWCA Board of Directors, Cindy was also honored by that organization with the Woman of Achievement in Education award in 1997.
Cindy has been practicing law in Spokane since 1978, specializing in Municipal Law. She represents a number of small cities, towns and special purpose Districts. She is a principal in the law firm of McMullen Law Office, P. S. with her husband, Dennis. She is a 30-year member of WSAMA, the state’s municipal attorneys association, serving as its president in 2006.
Cindy is a life member of Girl Scouts and a former troop leader. She also served as a board member and vice president of the Eastern WA / N. Idaho Girl Scout Council.
Cindy holds a BA degree in Political Science from Stanford University and a JD degree from Gonzaga School of Law. She and Dennis have three married daughters scattered across the country, and is a proud “Grams” to two grandsons in the San Francisco area.
Peter Maier has been on the Board since May 2013. He worked on K-12 education policy issues for many years. He lives in Seattle, where he attended Seattle Public Schools as did both of his children. He was deeply involved in their schools’ PTSAs and was twice awarded a PTSA Golden Acorn.
Peter was active in the I-728 initiative campaign (personally collecting over 1000 signatures). He then began working on school levy campaigns and twice led successful levy campaigns in Seattle, serving as President of Schools First Coalition (Seattle’s levy campaign committee) from 2002 to 2007.
Peter was elected to the Seattle School Board in 2007 and served a full term until 2011. While on the Seattle School Board he was the board representative to WSSDA and often advocated on behalf of schools in Olympia as the board’s legislative liaison.
In 2012 Peter returned to Schools First Coalition as Treasurer for the successful February 2013 Seattle levy campaign.
Peter’s day job is an attorney in private practice with his own law firm. He specializes in representing individual consumers in Lemon Law claims and represents small businesses and non-profits. He has taught classes in law at Edmonds Community College and has been repeatedly recognized by his legal peers as one of Washington State’s “Superlawyers”.
At home Peter enjoys jogging, struggling with crosswords, cooking, and spending time with his wife of 35 years Liz Tennant. Both of their children are now adults. Daughter Anna lives in the Bay Area, taught in Oakland Public Schools and now is studying educational policy at Berkeley. Son Stephen lives in Seattle and works for Amazon.
Peter’s formal education after graduating from Seattle Public Schools was at Oberlin College (B.A. with highest honors in economics, 1974) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1981).
Originally from the Bronx, New York, Dr. Daniel L. Plung earned his MA and Doctor of Arts degrees in English at Idaho State University. Prior to that he completed his BA in English at the City College of New York, and attended the Bronx High School of Science, a nationally recognized school and a forerunner of current A-STEM programs.
Dan has taught as an adjunct at the University of South Carolina business school and in the Liberal Arts programs at Washington State University - Tri-Cities, and at Idaho State University—including courses taught on the nearby Indian Reservation.
Dan is currently Director of Project Services for a $2.7 Billion remediation project at the Hanford nuclear site. Responsible for the business, administrative, and infrastructure programs (e.g., Human Resources, Information Technology, Finance, Labor Relations, Contract Management, Procurement, and Facility Services and Leases), he is also charged with development of business and contract strategies.
He is currently a member of the board of Columbia Industries, a not-for-profit organization focused on developing the work skills of people with disabilities and the Hanford Concerns Council, an independent forum for resolving Hanford employee safety, health, and environmental concerns. Previously he served on the Corporate Advisory Board for the communication program at New Mexico Tech, the board of the Aiken County United Way, and was a founding board member of the first charter school in Aiken County, South Carolina.
Dan lives in West Richland. He is married and has two sons, both of whom live in the Tri-Cities.
Jeffrey C. Estes, MEd, is the Director, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Education at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. He is responsible for strategy execution and evaluation of the Laboratory’s efforts to 1) strengthen and advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Washington State; 2) improve the Laboratory’s education programs for students, faculty and K-12 teachers; 3) deliver against the STEM education expectations of the U.S. Department of Energy-Office of Science; and 4) connect PNNL to Battelle’s Education and STEM Learning Initiative.
Before joining PNNL, he was a classroom teacher and museum educator. Currently, he is leading a PNNL project to design, implement, and mature a local STEM education collaboration zone, called the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory (Collaboratory). The Collaboratory highlights the power of PNNL and Battelle to impact the educational ecosystem and serve as a model for amplifying and accelerating progress in addressing our STEM education and workforce challenges.
Estes serves as Co-Director of the Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) Partnership, a 2013 KCTS-TV Golden Apple Award winning program. LASER is a collaborative model for catalyzing and sustaining science education reform. Using Battelle and Department of Energy resources, he manages a set of professional development, outreach and technical assistance activities, provided by PNNL, that enable LASER efforts to improve the learning and teaching of science, K-12.
Prior to focusing his efforts on STEM education and outreach, Estes was the steward for a PNNL program that provided hundreds of internships, fellowships and other opportunities for students, graduates and faculty. These include technical and business positions for high-school students through post-graduate research associates. Finally, he represents PNNL as part of Battelle’s Education and STEM Learning Initiative at Battelle-managed laboratories across the nation. This includes Laboratory participation in the STEMx Network, a multi-state network which includes Washington state.
Jeff holds undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as K-12 teaching certification from Western Washington University.
Holly Koon is a National Board Certified science (biology/chemistry) and CTE agriculture teacher at Mt. Baker Senior High, a rural, high poverty, high performing school. In two decades of teaching, she has taught an academically diverse population of students; including those in sheltered, at-risk programs.
Recently, Holly has served at both the district and state levels as a lead facilitator for National Board Certification, as the coordinator for her district’s transition to the new teacher/principal evaluation model (TPEP), and as the lead negotiator for her district’s interest-based collective bargaining process. Over her career, Holly’s love for students and teaching has inspired her to become a passionate, multi-venue advocate for standards-based accomplished teaching in all subject areas, STEM education, CTE, closing the achievement gap, and assuring that schools have sufficient resources to provide every child an equitable opportunity to achieve their potential. Holly’s advocacy has been dedicated to helping craft common sense approaches to blending all the above imperatives into best-practice models that are viable and sustainable at the school level.
Holly is married to Max Duncan, a National Board Certified special education teacher at Kendall Elementary. Holly and Max live in Maple Falls with their son, Aidan, who attends school in the district where his parents teach.
A lifelong resident of Washington state, Randy Dorn has been an elementary and middle school teacher, a principal and a legislator. For nine years he was executive director of Public School Employees of Washington, the second largest educational employee’s organization in Washington state.
In 2008, Dorn was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. In his years as state superintendent, he has replaced the existing state assessment system with a shorter system, argued successfully against cuts to education funding, expanded early learning opportunities for all students and championed an updated teacher and principal evaluation system. He also established partnerships with major businesses, including Microsoft and Boeing, to help students gain real world skills they can apply to the job market or the classroom.
Dorn and his wife, Kaye, live in Eatonville and have three grown sons.
Eli Ulmer is a senior at Columbia Basin Secondary School in Moses Lake, Wash. Eli began his term with the Board on May 8, 2012, during the Board’s meeting in Yakima. Eli was the ASB president of his school and also takes part in activities with the FBLA and FFA programs at his school. “I view this position with respect,” said Eli. “I am ready to engage myself in the Board’s work.” Eli’s past experience with different methods of schooling throughout Washington were key factors in his selection. “My position on the Board will allow me to share my voice and perspective which I believe will be an asset not only to the Board but to my community as well.”
Mara is the current western Washington student Board representative. Mara is a junior at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Wash. She is excited to begin serving the Washington State Board of Education as the newest student representative. As the daughter of a teacher in the Seattle Schools District, Mara has always been interested in the progress of education and how things can "work differently to be better for everyone." She hopes that her view from the standpoint of a student currently experiencing public education will be valuable input for the Board as it continues to reshape education in Washington.
Mara was just re-elected to be a class senator, and is also the new Key Club President. She also participates in varsity girls swimming, varsity girls water polo, the Shoreline/LFP Youth Court, the Chansons Vocal Ensemble, the Viva Voce Chorale, and the Shorecrest Chapter of the National Honors Society. Of her new position, Mara says, "I'm very honored to have been appointed to a position that allows me to have the experience of working with these particular people and with this system - something I don't think many students get the opportunity to do."