Changing of the Guard at WSVEF: New Board Roles & New Grant Writers

Change is the name of the game this spring for the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF).   At the organization’s annual April Executive meeting, the group welcomed three new board members and a second grant writer, saw several other board members change positions, and said goodbye to a long-time supporter.

 New to the Board of Directors are Carolyn Rhett, Ross Henry, and Jaime Mack.

Mack is the CEO and majority owner of local aerospace contracting firm Zepher, Inc., and has a child in the local schools.  She brings a wealth of experience and connections to the WSVEF.  “I am hoping my diverse business and educational background can be helpful in contributing creative ideas and connections that support the Foundation’s objectives,” said Mack.   “I truly believe in the vision of the Foundation and am thankful to be part of a community that offers support to this organization.”

Ross Henry is a real estate and marketing professional.   The father of two and his family moved to White Salmon in 2011.  He currently serves on the city’s Planning Commission and on the Community Development sub-committee, among many other volunteer and professional positions.  Henry says he has always been drawn to community outreach teams.  “I could see myself excelling on connecting people and getting people excited to support the WSVEF. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of positive change in White Salmon.”

New Board member Carolyn Rhett has lived in White Salmon for 13 years, and has been very active in local schools.  A frequent volunteer for PTO fundraising events, she has also spent several years helping out the WSVEF with many aspects of the annual Gorge Grape Escape, as well as the grant review process.  “I am so very grateful for the creative, nurturing educators I’ve met through my children’s years in the White Salmon schools,” said Rhett.  “I look forward to joining the WSVEF as a way to support our teachers in their mission to create lasting and meaningful experiences for the kids in our wonderful Gorge community.”

Meantime, Founding Member Jason Spadaro is stepping aside from his Board seat, but he’s not going far.  The SDS President will stay on as an advisor to the Executive Director and Board.   “Jason is one of a handful of community members who started this organization more than a dozen years ago,” said outgoing Board President Dawn Hulbert.  “His support, drive, and ability to cut straight to the core of a matter have been an invaluable asset.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without him.”

Jill Vacek is also stepping aside after several years on the Board.  However, the Insitu Communications Manager will continue to share her expertise as a member of the WSVEF’s PR and Marketing Committee.

Long-time supporter and Board Secretary Kirsten Dennis stepped down after taking a new job at a nonprofit agency in East Portland. “I’m proud to have been a part of the Foundation over the years as a volunteer, grant reviewer, and board member since 2015,” said Dennis.  “The WSVEF is doing incredibly important and impactful work to support our local students and I look forward to continuing to champion and support their mission in any way I can!”

The Board also held annual elections at the meeting.  Anne Stringer becomes the Board President.  Erin Black will serve as Vice President.  Matt Hanson once again takes over the role of Treasurer.  Sandy Slayton takes on the Secretary position, and Dawn Hulbert moves to Past President.

And finally, the Board welcomed Colleen Regalbuto to the grant writing team.  Regalbuto brings a wide array of non-profit experience with her, including several years of marketing, communications and grant writing for One Community Health and Mercy Corps.  “Colleen will be a valuable asset to our grant writing program, which has been so key in providing funding to the White Salmon Valley School District.,” said WSVEF Executive Director Amanda Lawrence.

Anne Stringer