Spring is the season of growth and change, and the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) is no exception.   The organization today announced the departure of two long-time board members, and the arrival of a new recruit.

Founding member and past President Sue Davis will be leaving the organization after eight and a half years of tireless efforts and gratifying achievements. “I’m grateful to have been able to work closely with our dedicated administrative team, to review and fund many excellent projects that have come before our board from teachers and community members, and to have learned so much from fellow board members,” said Davis.  “I feel that one of our biggest achievements has been to raise community money to help our schools bring back the kinds of enrichment that declining federal and state dollars no longer allowed.”

In addition to helping found the WSVEF, Davis served as Board President for three years, Vice President for two years and was the Founding Secretary. She was also a crucial player in the planning, organization, and success of the Foundation’s annual Gorge Grape Escape fundraiser for many years.

“Sue has been a driving force and invaluable member of the organization,” said Board President Jason Spadaro.  “We will miss her energy, ideas, and contributions.”

Also stepping down is Board Secretary Peggy Neuman.  Neuman has been with the WSVEF since September 2008 as a liaison between the different PTO’s and the Foundation.  She has also played an invaluable role in the development and streamlining of the organization’s granting process since 2010.

WSVEF Executive Director Anne Marie Slater says the group’s granting process was cumbersome initially.  “It took a long time and a lot of paperwork to apply back in the day,” said Slater.  “Peggy has been key in working with the district to streamline and fine-tune the application process, bringing it to the much more simplified place it is today. She has been very constructive. We will miss both of these board members dearly.”

“It was an honor to help the Education Foundation grant funds to meaningful projects in our schools,” said Neuman.  “I am proud of all the WSVEF has been able to accomplish in the eight years since its inception.”

The organization today also voted to elect a new member to the Board.  Kirsten Dennis currently is the Office and Human Resources Manager at local firm Zepher, Inc, but she’s probably best known to most community members for her many years teaching kindergarten and first grade at Whitson Elementary School.

Dennis began working in education because she believes it is the great equalizer, allowing all children to have the same opportunities for fulfilling lives. She’s still passionate about it.

“Working with young children has always been a big part of my life, and even though I’m no longer working as a classroom teacher, I still want to be involved in education.  Working with the Foundation can help me do that,” said Dennis.  “I know I can help make a difference, and do something worthwhile for our schools.”  Dennis has a daughter currently attending Columbia High School.

Meantime, Board elections reconfirmed Jason Spadaro as President for another term.   Kate Stevenson serves as Vice President, while Matt Hanson continues in his role as Treasurer, and Dawn Hulbert was voted Secretary.  Other board members are Esina Alic, Doug Miller, Scott See and Anne Stringer.

The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.  At least 25% of every donation goes to the WSVEF’s endowment fund, which will allow for continued grant funding into the future.  For more information, or to make a donation, visit or call (509)493-1175.


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