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107th WSPTA Convention Guest Speakers


General Session Speakers

General sessions will take place on Saturday, May 16 starting at 3:00 pm and on Sunday, May 17 starting at 1:00 pm. Each session will feature some inspiring speakers that you will not want to miss. Learn more about the speakers below.

Leslie Boggs, President, National PTA

General Session – Saturday, May 16, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

Leslie Boggs is the 56th president of National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association. A leadership development expert from Odessa, Texas, Boggs has over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA. Boggs will serve as president of National PTA until June 2021.

Previously, Boggs served as National PTA president-elect and chair of several national committees. At the state level, Boggs served as president of Texas PTA from 2014-2016 and was president of New Mexico PTA from 2003-2005.

A mother of three and a grandmother of four, Boggs is a dedicated and passionate advocate for children and their right to receiving a quality public education no matter their demographics, ethnicity or household income.

Boggs believes that servant leadership empowers others to reach their potential and is guided by the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

View National PTA’s welcome to convention video.

Amy Campbell, Washington State Teacher of the Year

General Session – Saturday, May 16, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

After earning her Master in Teaching, Amy realized her deep passion for supporting students with unique learning needs and returned to school for an endorsement in special education. She has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary School for 12 years. In her position as a teacher of students with significant learning challenges, she collaborates with staff, parents, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student’s unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community. Amy does not live in a world of deficits. She lives and teaches a world of possibilities, potential, and opportunities.

Amy believes all children can learn, and to achieve her vision of academic success for all she implements innovative strategies geared to students’ strengths. She develops ways, through collaboration with general education teachers, to integrate her students into their communities. She believes in the power of inclusion when everyone can participate in learning together and experience diversity as an asset. Amy’s personal life mission is to change the way people view people with special needs and change the way people with special needs see themselves.

JMarie Johnson-Kola, Founder and Chief Engagement Officer, Diverse Community Connectors LLC

General Session – Sunday, May 17, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

JMarie is a collaborative, high energy, visionary leader who has a passion for empowering and connecting people in order to change the world.

She is the Founder and Chief Engagement Officer for Diverse Community Connectors LLC, the successful small business she started in 2013 to pursue her passion.
JMarie is also a National Award Winning former WSPTA Outreach Director. This 10-year Marine Corps Veteran was born in Louisiana and considers herself a citizen of the world. She is pursuing a PH. D in Transformative Social Change with a focus on Diverse Communities. She has more than 20 years of work experience in Outreach, and Family and Community Engagement. She has been trained in Public Participation, Stakeholder, Crisis & Media Communications, Family Engagement, Facilitation, Mediation, Collaboration, Mass Communications, and Public Campaigns. She is an avid volunteer in local community organizations and her school district.

“My SHERO, Maya Angelou once said, ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.’ YES! I am so down with that!!!.”

Erin Jones, Education and Systems Consultant

General Session – Sunday, May 17, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Erin Jones has been involved in and around schools for the past 26 years. She has taught in a variety of environments, from predominantly Black to predominantly White to some of the most diverse communities in the nation. Erin received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007, while teaching in Tacoma and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008, while teaching in Spokane. She received recognition at the White House in March of 2013 as a “Champion of Change” and was Washington State PTA’s “Outstanding Educator” in 2015. After serving as a classroom teacher and instructional coach, Erin worked as an executive for two State Superintendents.

Erin left the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012 to work in college-access at the school district level. She left her job to run as a candidate for State Superintendent and was the first Black woman to run for any state office in Washington state, a race she lost by a mere 1%. Erin has 3 adult children – a daughter who graduated from Central Washington University and works for the Equity in Education Coalition, a son who recently graduated from Harvey Mudd College and started graduate school at USC and one who attends college and coaches high school football with her husband of 26 years, James, who is a teacher and football coach in North Thurston School District.

“It is the number one job of every adult to be a mirror to reflect the beauty and talents of the young people who come across our paths.” – Erin Jones


Additional guest speakers

WSPTA is pleased to provide some professional development webinars featuring community leaders. Learn more about these guest speakers below.

Nancy Bernard, Program Manager, Washington State Department of Health

Class 1603: Your Child’s Health and Safety Matter
Saturday, May 16 at 7:00 pm

Nancy Bernard, REHS, manages the WSDOH Indoor Air Quality and School Environmental Health and Safety Programs, providing technical assistance, resources, and training for local health jurisdiction and K-12 school staff. Areas addressed include IAQ, wildfire smoke, asthma triggers, integrated pest management, noise control, lighting, communicable and zoonotic diseases, cleaning, disinfection, playgrounds, lab, art, and shop safety, hazardous materials, and school design. She has a MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from Tulane University, a BS in Environmental Health and a BA in Health Education from the University of Washington, and served on the Lake Washington School District Board of Directors for 20 years. www.doh.wa.gov/schoolenvironment, www.doh.wa.gov/IAQ

Shaton Berry, Chief Operating Officer of Purposeful YOUth Detroit

Class 1702: Diversity Panel
Sunday, May 17 at 11:00 am

Shaton Berry is a public servant working for the Federal government for over 18 years.  Shaton has been involved with PTA for the past 16 years.  She was President of Michigan PTA from 2011 through 2013.  She served as the Chair for National PTA’s Nominating and Leadership Recruitment Committee from 2017-2018.  Shaton currently serves on the National PTA Leadership Committee. Shaton is a certified TCBI trainer and grassroots advocacy trainer through National PTA.  Shaton’s family structure is unique because she does not have any biological children; she raised her two younger brothers, Anthony (30) and Deontae (28).   Shaton truly believes in the mission and purposes of PTA and wants to ensure its place as a world class association for families.  Shaton also serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Purposeful YOUth Detroit, a non-profit organization that focuses on the empowerment and mentoring of girls ages 6 – 18.

Donna Cameron, Author

Class 1703: Raising Kind Kids, Promoting Kind Cultures in Schools and Changing the World
Sunday, May 17 at 7:00 pm

Donna Cameron has spent her career working with nonprofit organizations and causes, where she has seen kindness in action and been awed by its power to transform. While she considered herself a reasonably nice person (with occasional lapses into crankiness), she knew that true kindness was a step above. When she committed to a year of living kindly, she learned that it takes practice, patience, understanding . . . and a sense of humor helps, too. Since its publication in 2018, Cameron’s book, A YEAR OF LIVING KINDLY, has won more than a dozen literary awards and is now in its 4th printing. She lives in the Puget Sound area and is a frequent speaker at meetings and events.

Mikhail Cherniske, Legislative Program Specialist, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Class 1802: State Legislation and Seated Lunchtime Practices
Monday, May 18 at 5:00 pm

Mikhail Cherniske is the Legislative Program Specialist at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction where he works on implementing legislative bills that impact school meals. This includes Breakfast After the Bell, expansion of the Community Eligibility Provision, and Seated Lunchtime improvements. Prior to OSPI, Mikhail worked in the Washington State Senate as a Legislative Assistant.

Ethan Delavan, Director of Technology, The Bush School

Class 1501: Media Literacy is for Everyone
Friday, May 15 at 3:00 pm

Ethan Delavan has been teaching media arts, drama, and technology in the Seattle area since 1995. Currently, the Director of Technology at The Bush School, Ethan has been involved with media literacy since helping the National Association for Media Literacy Education run their conferences in 2011 and 2013. He serves on the board at Action 4 Media Education, a Washington state education outreach group, and has helped teachers and administrators around the country improve how they leverage media and technology to enhance the student experience and modern literacies.

Jess and Nick Garcia, Community Advocates

Class 1602: Why and How to Put the “S” Back into PTSA
Saturday, May 16 at 5:00 pm

We are an advocacy team who, after years of navigating different aspects of the school system, learned the importance of self-advocacy. We are passionate about advocacy and empowering students and their communities.

Jess Garcia has spent years in the PTA advocating for students, families, and educators. Her passion is creating a community of support and resources that empower students to help them get ready to launch into the world.

Nicholas Garcia is a student in high school who has personally experienced the importance of self-advocacy in his own educational journey. The support of his community of educators, family, and friends has helped him thrive to be an advocate now for others.

Sheri Gazitt, Founder, Teen Wise

Class 1402: Creating Space for Your Child’s Joy
Thursday, May 14 at 7:00 pm

Sheri Gazitt is the founder of Teen Wise, a company dedicated to helping teens and parents through the difficult ups and downs of adolescence. She advocates for teen mental wellness by advising foundations, appearing on TV and Radio shows, and writing for magazines. Coach Sheri also provides private coaching for girls (8-18 years old) who need help navigating friendships, taming stress, claiming their confidence, and finding their inner joy. Her latest program encourages parents to create space for their child’s inner joy through mindful parenting.

Additional Information from Sheri:

CREATING SPACE FOR JOY: prioritizing joy over achievement while still fostering motivation and success

Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed amongst our student population. Many people are pointing their finger at social media, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. Another underlying cause is that we as a society are so focused on academic achievement and busyness that we forget to foster joy, creativity, curiosity, and excitement in our kids. In this interactive presentation, we’ll discover what well-intentioned parents can do to change their parenting strategies and create space for their child’s inner joy. Are you willing to make space for you?

Teen Wise would like to offer this free webinar to your school communities on May 28 at 7:30 pm. Individuals can register at http://tinyurl.com/2020Joy. We’ll also be offering attendees access to a FREE online summer session called YOU GOT THIS: SUMMER. Short videos with super joyous challenges to make sure their summer is filled with joy. We hope to see you there!

Anna King, Business Owner

Class 1702: Diversity Panel
Sunday, May 17 at 11:00 am

Anna King has over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA, including Oklahoma PTA President. She was elected President-Elect of National PTA in June 2019. Besides PTA, Anna is also involved in many community activities, board member of the Douglass Law and Public Safety Academy, Salvation Army volunteer, co-lead for Moms Demand Action NE Chapter and Advisory Board member of the WestEd Advisory Board.  King is a co-owner of a family mobile catering business. She is married to Glenn King, has three children and nine grandchildren. She loves being a nana, believes everything is possible for all children and being inclusive is an important component for our association!

Frank Kwan, Consultant

Class 1702: Diversity Panel
Sunday, May 17 at 11:00 am

Frank is an active volunteer with National PTA, currently on the Leadership Committee. He served on the National PTA Board of Directors as both an appointed and elected member.

Frank has been involved with many PTA Committees, including two terms as chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach Committee. He was also elected to the National Leadership and Development Committee (now NLRC) and served on the Capital Campaign, Communications, Finance, Reflections, Resource Development, and Strategic Outreach committees.

While serving as chair of the Diversity Committee, his committee oversaw the Jan Harp Domene Awards, national convention diversity workshops, the Hispanic/Latino Initiative, expanded the PTA Diversity Toolkit, and conducted diversity training for the National PTA Board of Directors.

Frank is currently a consultant in strategic communications, emergency response, and organizational development for k-12 schools and non-profits. He recently retired from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, where he oversaw communications and marketing for the nation’s largest regional education agency supporting 80 k-12 school districts with 1.6 million students. His background includes extensive experience in broadcasting as an Emmy-winning producer at KNBC TV in Los Angeles California.

Frank is a past president of the National School Public Relations Association, a founder of the Asian American Journalists Association, and holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). He has been senior lecturer in ethnic studies at the University of Southern California.

Frank is the proud father of two adult children who live in the Seattle area. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has been active in many civic organizations and a founder of groups supporting scholarships for high school and college students.

Craig Willis, Communications Chair, Everett PTSA Council 7.3

Class 1203: Social Media: Setting Guidelines for a Successful Online Presence
Tuesday, May 12 at 7:00 pm

Craig Willis has been active in PTA for the past five school years. He is the current Communications Chair for Everett PTSA Council 7.3, after having spent the previous three years in the same role for Forest View Elementary PTA 7.3.7. He lives in Everett, Washington with his wife Kerri, two daughters, and two dogs. In his spare time, Craig likes to hike, climb mountains, go to hockey games, and write.