Alumni News & Notes

Spring 2007-2008

James Walsh

(M.Ed Special Ed. '96) was recently featured in the Bellingham Herald for his work as a Whatcom Middle School special education teacher.

Jason Shdo

(Principal Cert '06) was recently hired as principal at Sidney Glen Elementary. Shdo most recently served as assistant principal at Orchard Heights Elementary School and has served in the South Kitsap School District for 21 years.

Jerry Finkbonner

was recently chosen as the Ferndale Record-Journal's 2008 Golden Apple Award winner. , Finkbonner was selected by the community based on his career-long commitment to Ferndale School District and promoting student enrichment for diversity. , Finkbonner is currently on his 30th year of teaching in Ferndale School District.

Karen Koschak

(Cert./M.Ed. '86) was selected to serve as superintendent of the Granite Falls School District. Koschak has 16 years of experience as teacher and six years experience as a principal.

Kathleen Poole

(M. Ed. '96) was recently hired to be the assistant superintendent of elementary education for the Northshore School District. Poole previously served as principal at Highland Middle School in the Bellevue School District.

Katy (Dougharty) Dezendorf

(Secondary Education Cert. '05) has been honored as the Teacher of the Month at Marcus High School in Texas where she was taught for three years. Dezendorf teaches art and serves as the head sponsor of the Art Club and the National Art Honor Society.

Kristen Hammer

(B.A. Human Services '99) has served as Executive Director of Womencare Shelter in Whatcom County for six months. Prior to being selected as Executive Director, she served as an overnight advocate, a woman's advocate, a legal advocate, a teen leader and shelter manager.

Laura McKenney

(B.A.E. '08) was recently hired by the Issaquah School District to teach at the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus as a ninth-grade math teacher.

Laurel Browning

(Superintendent Cert. '06) was recently hired as the Burlington-Edison School District Superintendent. Browning served as the B-E assistant superintendent. In her time as assistant superintendent the district doubled the number of Advanced Placement classes offered.

Leslie Dykstra

(Human Services) was recently hired by the Nooksack Valley School district as a representative of the Communities in Schools organization. As a representative, Dykstra orchestrated the creation of a $2,000 grant program for dropout prevention.

Linda Cowan

retired from her 11-year position as superintendent of the Auburn School District. Cowan spent 30 years of her 40-year teaching career serving the district. As superintendent, she personally interviewed every teacher the district hired and visited classrooms to offer encouragement to students taking the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Linda Woiwod

(B.A.E. '71 and Cert '71) was recently named the College Woman's Programs Council's Educator of the Year by the Washington State Community and Technical College

Marlene Easley

uses the three-dimensional structure of clay to help break through learning caveats that are created by dyslexia. , Easley has helped hundreds of students, ages 6 to 62 overcome both reading and math dyslexia during one-week programs through her business, Dyslexia Unlearned. , Dyslexia Unlearned recently received approval in Education Service District 189 (which includes Whatcom County) to become a Title 1 provider.

Michelle Abernathy

(M.Ed. '96 and Principal Cert. '08) will be the new assistant principal at Kulshan Middle School. Abernathy completed her administrative training at Fairhaven Middle School, where she has taught math and science since 1990.

Morgan Luce

(B.A.E. '07) and Tommy Lingbloom were married on Aug. 11 in Bellingham. The couple met while attending Western. Morgan is teaching science at Mt. Baker High School and Tommy is student teaching at Shuksan Middle School.

Nicholas Nigro

(TESOL '05) has been teaching at the Berlitz International School of Languages in Graz, Austria for over two years. , During his time at Berlitz, Nigro has become fully trained and qualified to teach all courses and specializations, or students ages four to 94. , Nigro is currently teaching Business English around the Styrian countryside.

Richard Jones

(M.Ed. '80) was recently hired as superintendent for the North Kitsap School District. Jones has been the superintendent of the 4,000-student Burlington-Edison School District since 1998.

Rick Dubrow

(Cert '82) is the owner of A-1 Builders, a Bellingham remodeling and custom home building company that is known for its localized and environmentally friendly practices. The company won the 2000-2001 Governor's Award for pollution prevention and sustainability practices

Rob Slater

(Cert '07) is serving as a multi-subject teacher at Clearview High School. This summer he is working at the first-ever Clearview summer school program, chairing and directing a play with his kids as fellow actors in the Skagit River Shakespeare Festival and designing programming for a $200,000 grant directed at reducing the number of students who drop out of high school.

Robbie Whitlock

(Cert '71) retired after teaching elementary physical education in the Bellingham School District for 36 years.

Rochelle Doan

has joined Kitsap Mental Health Services as director of development and community relations. Doan has served as adjunct faculty for the Human Services program on the Bremerton campus since 2002.

Ruby Gubatayao

(B.A.E '78 Cert.) has been sharing her experiences and travels around the world as a Tsimshian elder and resident of the Sitka Pioneers Home as a public speaker. Gubatayao has spent time with the native peoples of Norway, Sweden and Finland and has traveled extensively throughout Alaska.

Sally Neiland

(Human Services '00) is the director of the Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex. , The program is celebrating its 20th year, and has a 93% success rate of sex offenders not committing additional crimes. , The program is being expanded to double its capacity, and a similar program is expected to open in Spokane by 2009. , Two hundred men are enrolled in the program at a time, and there is a waiting list of 1,200 men.

Sam Ryan

(B.A.E. '71) was named assistant director and building official at Whatcom County Planning and Development Services.

Shannon Scott

was hired to fill a principal position at North Elementary School in Moses Lake, Washington. , Scott began her new position on July 1, 2008 after two years of working as principal at Quincy's George Elementary School.

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