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College of Education

Advisory Board

Advisory Board = Advice-ory Board

These are some of our biggest advocates. They give us advice on how to carry out our mission, vision, values, and strategic goals. And we listen! Because they have a wealth of experience and wisdom. We are better because of them.

Meet our board



Joan Berry — Retired. Former educational counselor

Joan graduated from WSU in 1972 with a degree in History, and minors in English and Political Science. She began her teaching career at Central Kitsap High School. She completed her fifth year and a master's degree in Educational Psychology at the UW in 1977. Joan then started her counseling career at Central Kitsap, moved to Rogers High School (Puyallup School District) and then to Washington High School (Franklin Pierce District). In 1990, she left education and opened a private counseling practice in Puyallup, Washington. After 10 years of private practice, she returned to the Puyallup School District, where she retired in 2012. She's been married to George since 1972, has one son Adam (wife Jennifer), and 5 year old twin grandchildren Lila and Tyler.

Denise Blevins — Idaho Juvenile Justice Commission Member

Denise is a 1983 graduate of the University of Idaho with a BA in Sociology. She has been a licensed social worker in the State of Idaho since July 1983, working for the Department of Health and Welfare in both Grangeville and Idaho Falls. In 1987 she moved back to Moscow and was employed by Latah County Youth Services from June 1987, until retiring in October 2012. She has been a Governor appointed member of the Idaho Juvenile Justice Commission since June 1999, and as a part of that Commission, advised Governor Otter on juvenile justice issues and programming. She is married to Barry Blevins and has one daughter, Aubrie.
Rod Brooks

Rod Brooks


Eric Carter


Betsy Charles — Executive Director of the Veterinary Leadership Institute

Dr. Betsy Charles graduated from WSU in 1996 with a degree in Biology and Physical Education (Athletic Training). She also completed her doctorate in veterinary medicine there in 2003. After spending 6 years in private practice working solely on horses while also developing future veterinarians, she completed a residency in diagnostic imaging and is now focused on teaching the art of veterinary radiology. She has stayed connected to the vet school at WSU by serving as a facilitator since 2004 in the college’s Diagnostic Challenge program. Currently, Dr. Charles is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA and serves as the Executive Director of the Veterinary Leadership Institute. She enjoys spending time with her husband of 24 years, playing with her dogs and riding her horse Lenny.

Drake Charles — Head of School at Linfield Christian School

Drake Charles graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor of Science degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in 1996, and earned a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Biola University in 2010. Drake worked in executive leadership roles in the private sector and in ministry before settling in Temecula California where he currently serves as the Head of School at Linfield Christian School, an independent, private, K-12 college-preparatory institution. Drake is married to Dr. Betsy Charles who is also a WSU graduate and a whole-hearted Cougar fan.

Heather DeLong — Lead on Global Events at BitTitan

Heather grew up in Ephrata and is a 2003 WSU graduate from the school of Hospitality Business Management. After graduation she went to Washington, DC where she worked in every facet of events for several non-profit associations. During this time, she also completed the Event Management Certificate Program at George Washington University and attained the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. In 2009, she moved to the Seattle area where she has been working in corporate event management for technology companies. She is currently the Lead on Global Events at BitTitan, a quickly growing startup and industry leader in cloud services enablement, where she oversees 100+ worldwide events each year, including their Global Partner Conference.

Abbie Demeerleer


Sarah English — Manager with Libraries of Stevens County

Sarah English is a 1995 and 1996 graduate of the College of Education. She now utilizes those classroom management skills and research methods as a library manager with the Libraries of Stevens County. Sarah is president of the Northeast Washington Cougs Club, co-chair of Light Up the Park Chewelah, and a sustainer of the Junior League of Spokane.

Mary Fossa

Kathy Frandle


George Frasier — Executive Director of the Green River College Foundation

George Frasier serves as the Executive Director of the Green River College Foundation. Mr. Frasier is an expert in non-profit leadership and operations, fundraising, planned giving, intentional relationship development, and leadership training. In his role at GRC, he also is responsible for the student housing operation. Prior to coming to GRC, Mr. Frasier worked for 23 years in the YMCA system serving in progressively more responsible roles in the Spokane and Seattle Associations. Mr. Frasier has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Washington State University ('84), and an MBA from Western Governors University (2014).

Walt Gmelch — Longtime Educator

Walt Gmelch served the College of Education for 18 years as Professor, Associate Dean, Interim Dean, and Chair of the Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology Department. Subsequently he served as Dean of the College of Education at Iowa State University and Dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. Currently he is Professor of Leadership Studies and Co-director of the UCEA Center for the Study of Academic Leadership with Kelly Ward at WSU. He also co-directs the USF-WSU International School Leadership Program in Asia (EARCOS). Gmelch earned a Ph.D. in the Educational Executive Program from UC Santa Barbara, a masters in Business Administration from UC Berkeley, and a bachelors degree from Stanford University. As educator, management consultant, university administrator, and former business executive, Gmelch has conducted research and written extensively on the topics of leadership, team development, conflict, and stress and time management. He is proud of his WSU heritage – and lives by the mantra, “Once a Coug, always a Coug!”

Vicki Gordon — Owner of Gordon Estate Winery

Vicki Gordon was born and raised in Colfax, Washington. She attended WSU from 1969-1971 and married Jeff Gordon ('71) in 1971. Their daughter Katie ('98) and son-in-law, Marc Nelson ('98) have three sons, and the oldest, Isaac, is a freshman at WSU this year. Ms. Gordon and her husband own and operate Kamiak Vineyards farm, Gordon Estate winery, and Gordon Estate Wine Bar, with help from Katie, Marc and the boys. In addition to the College of Education, Ms. Gordon also serves on advisory board for the Carson College of Business (Tri-Cities). She is on the WSU Foundation's Board of Governors and serves on several committees there, as well. She is a member of the Yakima Federal Savings and Loan's Board of Directors. She loves to golf when she finds the time!
Kay Higgins

Kay Lynn Higgins — Retired. Former teacher and education administrator

Kay Lynn is a 1967 WSU graduate in English/Education. She taught and as an administrator in Ephrata, Wellpinit and Granger, Washington. She currently volunteers for WSU scholarship fund raisers, Susan G. Koman events and the Spokane Valleyfest. She and her husband, Ron, have a consulting business (Education Resource Associates) assisting small businesses with personnel, leadership and goal setting. She has three children who own their own businesses and 10 awesome grandchildren.
Ron Higgins

Ronald C. Higgins — Retired. Former teacher and education administrator

Ron is a 1967 WSU graduate in Political Science/Education as well as holding a Superintendent Credential from WSU. He currently volunteers for WSU scholarship fund raisers and the Spokane Valleyfest. He and his wife, Kay Lynn, have a consulting business (Education Resource Associates) assisting small businesses with personnel, leadership and goal setting. He has three children who own their own businesses and 10 awesome grandchildren.

Tricia Hukee —


Mary Kauffman-Cranney — Director of Philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy of Washington

Mary Kaufman-Cranney is a 30 year veteran of fundraising/development. Since 2010, she has served as the director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy of Washington. Prior to her joining The Conservancy, she served for several years as the director of development for Seattle Opera and 20+ years as head of development with the YMCA of Greater Seattle. Mary was recognized as Washington’s 2015 AFP Fundraiser of the year. She has served on the Washington AFP Board for a decade, in leadership roles to AFP’s Major Gift Symposium and no serves on the world wide campaign committee for TNC’s $4B philanthropic campaign. Mary is married to Tom (of 28 years) and has two children. Mary is a graduate of WSU with a degree in RPA from the education department.

Joan Kingrey

Diana Kirkbride

Jaki Lake — Retired. Former teacher and instructional coach

Jaki graduated from WSU in 1971 with a degree in English Education and earned her MA in Education from EWU in 1997. During her 31 year career, she was a high school English teacher in Richland, Medical Lake, and at Shadle Park High School, where she also served as English Department Head and Instructional Coach. Currently Jaki serves in leadership roles at her church, in P.E.O., and in Spokane Area Retired Educators Association; in addition she volunteers at a local thrift store, delivers for a feeding ministry, and tutors high school students. Travel, reading, knitting, spending time with her husband, kids and grandkids, and cheering for the Cougars are among her favorite pastimes.

Jack McKay — Executive Director of the Horace Mann League of the USA

Jack McKay earned full professor rank from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and was also awarded Emeritus Professor and the Roskins Endowed Chair position there. He served as the Department Chair in the Educational Administration at both UN and the University of the Pacific, but now is serving his 20th year as the Executive Director of the Horace Mann League of the USA. He’s married to Judy and they have two children and four grandchildren.


Dennis Milliken — Retired. Former teacher and administrator

Milliken spent 14 years teaching agriculture education and 26 years in school district administration, with a focus on Career and Technical Education. In the six years prior to retirement from Northshore School District in 2009, Milliken was Director of Instructional Services and Assessment. In 2009, he joined the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction as Director of STEM Education, retiring in 2013. In 2010, Milliken served as chair of the Legislature-required Work Group that developed a comprehensive report on STEM Education in Washington that was adopted by the Governor and Legislature. He holds two degrees and administrative certification from WSU and lifetime membership in the WSU Alumni Association.

Lynda Paznokas

Skip Paznokas


Betsy Perry — Teacher and Small Business Owner

Betsy Perry received her bachelor's degree from WSU in elementary education. She has been teaching elementary school for 12 years. She currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband and her 2 year old daughter and her 5 year old son. The family also owns a spice business in the Old Mill Shopping District within Bend. Betsy loves spending time with her family, being active and being outdoors.

Steve Rasmussen


Judy Rogers — Retired. Former teacher and software project manager

Judy is a native Washingtonian. She was born in Ellensburg and graduated from WSU in 1974 with a BS in Computer Science and minor in Math. She worked various software development projects at different companies in the Puget Sound area. She later returned to school at Seattle University and earned a Masters in Teaching. She then taught in the public schools until retirement. She now spends her time as a community volunteer, including doing a ton of good work with WSU and the College of Education.

Sandy Saffell

Boyd Swent

Advisory Board mission

The WSU College of Education Advisory Board is an active body of volunteers charged with:

  • Interacting on a personal and professional level with the dean, faculty and students;
  • Responding to information sessions about college programs, initiatives, and strategic plans;
  • Providing perspective in areas of specified expertise;
  • Creating strategies that will position the college for greater recognition and leadership opportunities within the state and nation;
  • Advocating for the college with associates, friends and others;
  • Supporting with time and financial resources the strategic initiatives of the college;
  • Offering guidance and leadership during the Campaign for Washington State University.
Advisory Board commitment

The board meets twice annually, once in Pullman and once in either Seattle or one of the urban campuses, with occasional smaller groups convening at other times around particular areas of interest.

Members are asked to support the College of Education at the President’s Associates level of commitment ($1,000, $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000) per year. The funds support the College of Education Advocacy Board Fund, established to provide funding for unrestricted college operational support, scholarships, faculty research, or special initiatives.

In addition to establishing a closer relationship with faculty, members of the Advisory Board may be called upon to cultivate relationships with other alumni, friends and supporters of the College.  When appropriate, the development team may invite Advisory Board members to be part of a planned solicitation of financial resources from individuals and/or corporations.

Washington State University