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Alumni News & Notes

Spring 2018-2019

Alexa Nigretto

Alexa Nigretto, BAE, Elementary Education, 2014, received a "Great Teacher" Promise Award from Bellingham Public Schools for her work teaching kindergarten at Cordata Elementary School. This award recognizes her exemplary contributions towards The Bellingham Promise, the district’s strategic plan.

Cindy Brune

Cindy Brune, M.Ed., children's literature emphasis, 1987, is retiring from Mary Purcell Elementary School after 40 years as a librarian. She also attended Mary Purcell Elementary as a child.

Jason Smith

Jason Smith, Superintendent Certificate, 2012, was named the Jostens Renaissance educator of the year! This is a prestigious award given out to only two educators from a list of 6,000 schools across the country.

Michelle Kuss-Cybula

Michelle Kuss-Cybula, Superintendent Certificate, 2014, is the new superintendent of the Cle Elum-Roslyn School District! She will finish out this school year as principal of Sehome High School, where she has worked for four years, and begin work in Cle Elum in July.

Shawn Woodward

Shawn Woodward, Superintendent Certificate, 2009, is the new superintendent of Mead School District in North Spokane. Board president Carmen Green cited Woodward’s “high energy” and his “focus on building principles of education" in his previous position at the head of the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

Winter 2018-2019

Joseph Castilleja

Joseph Castilleja, Superintendent Certificate, 2018, was featured in the Yakima Herald for this fun twist on John Lennon's "Imagine" that Castilleja performed to announce a snow day. He is the current superintendent for Mabton School District.

Natalie Newman

Natalie Newman, BA, Physical Education and Health, 1991, is the new director of Ershig Assistive Technology Resource Center (EATRC) at Woodring College of Education.

Saron McKee

Saron Mckee, BA, Human Services, 2004, and MA, Rehabilitation Counseling, 2007 was named the Director of ADA Compliance for the City of Philadelphia.

Summer 2017-2018

Christina Castorena

Christina Castorena, M.Ed., student personnel administration, 1993, served as interim president at Edmonds Community College, where she is vice president of student services.

James Werle

James Werle, BAE, general science-secondary, 1995, recently became executive director of the United States Unified Community Anchor Network program for Internet2, a nonprofit computer networking consortium.

Michele Waddel

Michele Waddel (Principal Cert. '04), was named principal of Evergreen Middle School in Everett.  She previously served as dean of students as well as athletic director while teaching history and English at Lynnwood High School.  She also coached cross country.

Paul Meehan

Paul Meehan, BAE, physical education, 1983, was recently named head men’s soccer coach at Gonzaga University.

Scarlett Kanistanaux

Scarlett Kanistanaux, BAE, art – elementary, 1979, is an artist in Erie, Colorado, who sculpts portraits of nuns and monks of the Buddhist tradition. Her work has been honored at the Colorado Clay Show and the National Sculpture Society and is now represented at Piece Art Gallery in Vail, Colorado.

In Memoriam

Charlotte Brand

Charlotte Brand, Residency Administrator (Principal) Certificate, 1978, a retired teacher and principal in the Bellingham School District and later a faculty member in elementary education at Woodring on June 28, 2018.

Spring 2017-2018

Maggie Thorleifson

Jackson High School's robotics team led by Maggie Thorleifson, MEd, Instructional Technology, 1992, placed second in the FIRST Robotics Competition National Championship.

Susan Bartee

Susan Bartee, BA, Human Services, 2014, works as an employment specialist at TRAC Associates in Seattle. She recently shared some thoughts about her experience in the Everett Human Services program with Western Today.

Wally Lis

Wally Lis (Superintendent Endorsement '06), was named superintendent of the Wishkah Valley School District in Aberdeen.  Lis was superintendent for the Quilcene School District for seven years prior.

In Memoriam

Bernice Vossbeck

Bernice Vossbeck, BAE, Elementary Education, 1944 and Residency Administrator (Principal) Certificate, 1976, a long-time teacher in and the first woman principal in the Lynden School District on May 12, 2018 in Lynden. Lynden's Vossbeck Elementary School is named in her honor.

Winter 2017-2018

Eldred Vidal Vázquez

Eldred Vidal Vázquez, MIT, Secondary Education, 2017, was hired to teach French at Mount Vernon High School. He is a member of the Martinez Fellowship, which supports teachers of color in starting their careers.

McKenzie Thomas DeCoite

McKenzie Thomas DeCoite, BAE, Early Childhood Education P-3, 2012, was named a Teacher of the Year by Catalina Hills School District Foundation in Tucson, Arizona.  DeCoite teaches Pre-K at Valley View ELC. 

Meagan Curran

Meagan Curran, BAE, Language, Literacy, and Cultural Studies (Elementary Education), 2016, was featured on the cover of The Bellingham Herald Feb. 7, 2018 in her Promise K classroom at Alderwood Elementary School.

Fall 2017-2018

Jenni Baldwin

Masters in Teaching 2009. Jenni has been teaching Upper School English at The Overlake School in Redmond, Wash. for the past 5 years. She recently earned her National Board Certification.

Spring 2016-2017

Carol DeFeo

Carol DeFeo (2000, teacher certification) is a third-grade teacher at Sand Hill Elementary School in Belfair.

Colt Warren

Colt Warren (2014, B.A., history/social studies; "14, Master in Teaching) recently became a teacher and head wrestling coach for Blaine High School.

George A. Dennis

George A. Dennis (1970, BAE, English; secondary) retired in 2011 after 35 years at Lower Columbia College immersed in teaching, assessment, program management and curriculum development. He received the distinction of faculty emeritus in 2012 and now writes for Fish Alaska magazine and volunteers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.