At the 2023 remote Annual Business Meeting of the Washington State PTA April 29 and 30, delegates will elect fourteen members to the WSPTA Board of Directors to a two-year term, 2023-2025.
The board positions are: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Advocacy Director, Family and Community Engagement Director, Leadership Director, Membership Director, Program Director, Area A Vice President, Area B Vice President, Area C Vice President, Area D Vice President, and Area E Vice President. Job descriptions can be found here.
More information can be found in the policy manual, sections 5 and 6. In addition, qualifications for each position are located in the WSPTA Uniform Bylaws Article 7, Section 3.
Election of WSPTA Board of Directors
The WSPTA nominating committee provided the slate of candidates to the membership. Candidate information for the WSPTA Board of Directors:
Angela got involved in PTA 19 years ago when her daughter began kindergarten in a community new to their family. She attended her first PTA meeting at Penny Creek Elementary to learn more about what the school was like and help ease the nervousness of being a kindergarten parent for the first time. When she looks back at the first meeting, she realizes that it “was the beginning of my passion for volunteering and advocating for my community. We all have the desire to make a difference in our world and with PTA we can achieve that every day.”
From her first leadership role as staff appreciation chair to today, she has treasured the opportunities and experiences she has had volunteering through PTA. Angela has served on the executive boards of three local PTAs, held council and region service delivery team roles, served on many WSPTA state level committees, as WSPTA Area E Vice President which included serving as Acting Region Director for Region 8 and Region 15, and most recently as WSPTA Vice President.
As President, Angela looks forward to continuing her service on the WSPTA Board of Directors, encouraging leaders, and promoting advocacy and engagement. “As we recover from the challenges of the last few years, it’s evident how vitally important our connections and relationships are, as well as the need to welcome all families to PTA. We can’t advocate for all kids if we don’t welcome all families. I am honored to serve our board and PTA communities as we work to improve the lives of all children and families in Washington.”
Jay was drawn to the mission and reach of the PTA over 16 years ago when her daughter entered elementary school. She was struck by the ability of the PTA to get families and schools working together to ensure that children in our communities are healthy, safe, and supported. Jay shares “Working in PTA for many years has helped me understand that a successful partnership with a wide variety of individuals and organizations is needed to serve this mission”. She believes that it is important for the PTA to work in tandem with the families, volunteers, advocates, and teachers that work to ensure each child is supported and they realize their full potential. As the current WSPTA Leadership Director, Jay has worked to support councils, local PTA leaders, and volunteers in their efforts to ensure our children’s education, success, health, and well-being.
Since starting as a Parent volunteer in the “Read Naturally” program, she has held various positions at multiple levels ranging from the elementary PTA, secondary PTAs, council, Service Delivery Team, Region Director, WSPTA Area B Vice President, and currently serves as the WSPTA Leadership Director. In addition, she has participated on several statewide committees. She believes that this broad experience has given her a better understanding of the organization and will help her guide and support the local PTA leaders to achieve their objectives. “Every position that I have held has given me the opportunity to work with a great group of volunteers and to learn from each other”, she says. Jay has been very committed to developing leaders of the future and guiding them to embrace the principles of inclusivity, diversity, respect, commitment, and a sense of belonging that would aid to their growth as leaders and to the success of their PTAs.
“It is an absolute honor to be nominated for the office of WSPTA Vice President. As the Vice President, I look forward to work collaboratively with my peers at WSPTA Board of Directors as we continue to position the association to meet the challenges of the future while, at the same time, encouraging leaders and promoting engagement, diversity, advocacy in our community”, she says. Jay feels that working with leaders at all levels in the state and providing them resources that will help in their success will give her a great sense of personal satisfaction as it would directly impact the children, parents/guardians, teachers, and school communities.
Melissa Stone (Self-declared)
Curiosity is how I got my start in PTA. Why do the bonds fail? How is education funded in WA? How can PTA be inclusive and assist students with disabilities and their families? How do we advance diversity, equity and inclusion across PTA? How do find and keep volunteers? Why PTA? I channeled my enthusiasm and passion for supporting students, the community and education into PTA and have not looked back.
My PTA service began with supporting my children’s local school PTA and classrooms. I found a calling in education advocacy. Over the years, my PTA work has expanded beyond the local level to include serving on the Lake Washington PTSA Council, Region 2 Service Delivery Team, WSPTA committees, and most recently as a WSPTA board member. In addition, I have a corporate background in marketing and public relations. These roles have helped me develop into the leader I am today. Problem solving through how to best engage families and support PTAs motivates me to keep coming back.
Now is the time for WSPTA to reflect and renew. The world changed dramatically over the past several years and PTAs across the state had to get creative and adapt quickly. Working with leaders, I have come to deeply understand the challenges of PTAs large and small, the impact of training, importance of advocacy, and power of mentorship. I enjoy getting to know leaders personally, so I can help them build PTAs that reflect all families and serve as a relevant resource to their communities. I have seen the impacts mighty volunteers can make and am proud to work alongside them because we can do more together.
I am honored to be considered for the secretary position and would welcome the opportunity. I commit to being collaborative, responsive to member and leader needs, and put diversity, equity, and inclusion into action. I embrace the WSPTA mission and vision to make every child’s potential a reality.
I am the mother of three: 24, 16, and 13, and an Illinois transplant who has found a true home in Western Washington. We are a big gaming family that can often be found sitting around our dining room table playing our favorite board and card games. When I have time to relax, I am usually sitting at my sewing machine or craft table creating costumes for conventions or school plays.
My PTA journey began at a time when the educational needs of our middle child were not being sufficiently met by the school with his medical needs being used as an excuse. I, and parents facing similar issues, worked together with our local PTA to advocate for the necessary changes. Through this experience, I found that we weren’t alone and the PTA contained a whole network of parents fighting for the educational rights of children. I found a home with these educational warriors.
My financial background enabled me to excel in the role of financial specialist on the Region 6 Service Delivery Team for 3 years. My primary focus was working with PTAs to better organize their finances, tax filings, and fundraising. Through well planned budgets, maintaining good legal standing, and creating clear, transparent policies, I believe that every PTA can be successful in supporting their community’s needs, whatever they may be. With strong, community supported PTAs across Washington, we truly can be a powerful voice for every child.
For the last 2 years I have served the WSPTA members as your Area A VP. I have been able to learn the ins and outs of serving on a state board and have enjoyed working to support Regions 1 & 6. Working with such a dedicated group of state leaders has been a valuable learning experience, these are lessons that I will carry into the next 2 years of serving as the financial officer.
Besides being on the board of directors I have also had the opportunity to serve on several state committees. Leadership, Family and Community Engagement, Growth and Development, Corporate Finance, and Bylaws, as well as the more recently formed Special Education Committee. Through these committees I have had the opportunity to meet leaders from across our state and work with them to be a voice for our children and families.
I believe the PTA’s value and purpose is to be a diverse and equitable voice for all children and that should be reflected in our budget. My goal as your WSPTA Financial Officer would be to increase the accessibility and understanding of the state PTA’s budget. Thank you for your consideration.
I began my PTA journey at Bryant Elementary, starting as a volunteer in the PTA’s garden and art docent programs. It was at Bryant that I connected to my true PTA passion in Advocacy. From testifying in Olympia, to organizing Legislative Forums and other advocacy events, to supporting individual members in advocating for their children, I have found great joy in being able to participate to connect with people and to help members create change for the betterment of children.
I have served at the building level as Legislative Chair, Member at Large, and Social Media Chair, and at the Council Level as Advocacy Chair, Vice President/Advocacy, and President. I have been honored to be able to work with National PTA to update the Family School Partnership Standards, to partner with Office of the Education Ombuds both to hold listening sessions and submit comments to the Biden Administration on Section 504 and also to partner with the OEO to lead professional development trainings on Disability Justice, and to represent WSPTA on the Special Education Advisory Council.
I believe firmly that advocacy starts with connecting and listening. This means reaching out across the state, working with interpreters, making meetings accessible, and actively seeking ways to connect to families.
My experience in PTA shows me the power of our voice, and it would be my great honor to serve WSPTA as Advocacy Director.
Lizzy believes that family and community engagement is a critical part to the success of PTA. This area has not always been a focus of PTA or schools, but that has changed over the years for the better. Through her own journey on what it means to engage families and communities, she has had to re-think what that looks like and that the definitions of family and community has different meanings for different people. Her own self-awareness of what family engagement is begun with an equity conference she attended 5 years ago and getting to meet a national leader in this work. It was only the beginning of her learning odyssey. Working as an employee in a school district, she has come to understand even more the importance of family and community engagement and how PTA is a part of being a bridge between families, schools, and communities. As an advocate, she has worked with legislators to bring attention of the need to have a family engagement coordinator at every school. This is still something that she hopes will be achieved one day.
The position of Family and Community Engagement Director is relatively new, which is a testament to PTA’s commitment to families and recognizing the role they play. Lizzy has been fortunate to work with other amazing members who share a similar passion for family engagement and bring such varied and rich experiences to the organization as a member of the FACE, DEI, and Special Education Committees. She also recognizes that there is a lot of work still to be done. Families and communities are dynamic and how best to bring them together so that each is still honored individually for their uniqueness but also as part of a greater community is a challenge that we must all rise up to meet. Another key part to this role is to focus on the engagement piece and how we do this. This is an area that we can and will do better in. Lizzy is excited to already see some of the work being done at the state level, but also at the council and local PTA levels as well. She is seeing members explore new avenues, stepping out of their comfort zones, educating themselves and each other on families and communities that don’t look like the ones they come from, and sharing information with each other on ways they are engaging their communities.
Lizzy’s hope is to carry on the work that others have started as well as move forward in new directions. If she is elected, she will continue to learn along with others the value of family and community engagement and what that looks like. As the title holder of this position for a short time, she recognizes that the real job is to listen and be a facilitator for all the voices within and outside of our PTA family so that everyone can be heard and know that they matter.
Tori Emerson is a dedicated mother and education advocate with a passion for the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Tori began her involvement in the PTA when her young teenager started school, and she has since served in various leadership positions at the local, council, regional, and state levels, including Area E Vice President on the WSPTA board of directors. She is now looking forward to serving as the Washington State PTA Leadership Director, and her extensive experience and dedication make her well-suited for this role.
As a mother to a creative teenager, Tori understands the importance of supporting children and families in the education system. Her involvement with the PTA has spanned many years, during which she has worked tirelessly to advocate for the needs of students and families. Her unwavering commitment to the PTA has been an asset to the organization, and she has made a significant impact on the community.
In addition to her work with the PTA, Tori has over 23 years of experience in education as full-time and substitute teacher and coach. She has been involved in curriculum development and has served on district curriculum teams, providing her with an understanding of the education system. This experience has given her valuable insight into the needs of students and families, and has equipped her with the skills necessary to excel as the Washington State PTA Leadership Director.
Tori has also served on several Washington State PTA committees, such as the Leadership Committee, Membership Committee, Growth & Development and Bylaws Committees. She has also been able to recently serve on the National PTA Membership Committee. Her participation in these committees has allowed her to make a tangible contribution to the larger cause of supporting and advocating for children and families. She has received recognition for her contributions and her dedication to the cause.
Tori is an effective leader with a friendly and professional demeanor. She has excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and is always open to new ideas and perspectives. Her ability to bring people together and inspire them to work towards a common goal is a key strength, and it is this quality that makes her well-suited for the role of Washington State PTA Leadership Director.
In summary, Tori Emerson is a highly qualified and experienced education advocate, mother, and PTA member. Her extensive involvement in the organization, her experience in education, and her commitment to the cause make her an excellent candidate for the Washington State PTA Leadership Director role. With her leadership skills and dedication, Tori is poised to make a positive impact in this role and continue to be a valuable member of the PTA community.
My name is Jenn Talingo and I am so honored to be nominated for the Washington State PTA Board of Directors as the Membership Director. I am married and have three children that range in age from 21 to 9. I have always had a love of volunteering and stepping up to whatever role is needed in order to help others and disseminate information. I have been actively involved in PTA since my middle child was in 1st grade, so for about 8yrs. I originally joined the PTA to have something to help occupy my time. I quickly learned that PTA was more than I had thought. I started out as a volunteer coordinator not entirely knowing what I was coordinating and then went on to be a reflections chair. I immersed myself in everything reflections to attempt to make it the best program it could possibly be in my child’s school. I was so fired up the first time I attended Legislative Assembly, and I realized the mission and vision behind PTA. I have held multiple roles from treasurer to reflections chair, to volunteer coordinator, to president. I’ve held these positions not only at the local PTA level but also some at the Council, Region, and State level.
I have a passion for helping PTAs problem solve, troubleshoot, rebuild, and rebrand. I know I have big shoes to fill from previous Membership Directors and I hope to build upon what those before me have done and continue to reinvent and carry forward new ideas. PTA is a membership organization and I look forward to helping grow our membership. I also cannot wait to dive in and help troubleshoot, problem solve, and help every PTA become well versed in MemberPlanet. I consider myself someone that is very collaborative and I look forward to working with all the local PTAs and hearing what is needed to help build membership.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” This quote resonates with me, when I think of the years I have served on various PTAs. I have worked and fought hard for students and teachers, to ensure there are programs for students and resources for teachers. I work diligently, to encourage others to join the PTA cause and to empower us as volunteers, to make an impression.
From the time my oldest child entered public school, I willingly and without hesitation joined the PTA. I joined the PTA, to make a difference. A difference not just in the lives of my children at school, but all children. PTA programs, from the science fair to art contests; to running the concession stand at a football game; add to the life and culture of our schools. Without the PTA, schools would not be the same.
My PTA journey started over 10 years ago and I have not stopped since. Over the years, I have taken on multiple roles, in numerous PTAs. Where there is a need, I raise my hand and gladly say “I can help.”
When the COVID pandemic struck, PTAs and PTA programs suffered tremendously. But Covid could not restrain my passion for PTA programs-especially the Reflections program. As the state Reflection co-chair, along with a committee of dedicated volunteers, we pushed forward to maintain the integrity of the program and adopting to the challenging environment set before us. Quickly turning an in-person program into a virtual program, took teamwork, communication, and leadership to establish a revised Reflections program with structure and new processes. Although there were triumphs and setbacks during this process, I gained tremendous experience managing a challenging project and utilizing the unique skills sets of my committee members, to accomplish the task.
As the Programs Director, I hope to elevate the WSPTA programs, by reaching out and promoting to all schools, to ensure there is awareness of programs across the state. Connecting with local PTAs, councils, and regions, I intend to build increased awareness and increase participation in state programs. Reaching out to underrepresented groups and ensuring all have an equal opportunity to participate in programs, is an important goal of mine.
I believe in the work that PTA has done and continues to do, to improve the educational experience and to advocate for all children. I am honored by this opportunity to be nominated as the next Programs director. When I started in the PTA 10 years ago, I never imagined, I would be in a position to be a nominee for a state board position. With my extensive PTA experience and guidance from the board of directors and past program leaders, I hope to take Washington state PTA programs to a higher level of participation and outreach.
The joy of PTA is that the strength of the organization comes from community. By centering the voice of every individual and/or community, a successful PTA leader amplifies the voices of others around them. These days, it seems we’re all feeling overburdened and overwhelmed. Now more than ever, WSPTA needs to ensure that support comes in the ways that PTA leaders need. It’s my goal to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible. We want to encourage new members to take leadership roles, ensuring diversity and a community centered voice. By serving on the WSPTA Board as Area A Vice President, it will be my goal to provide positive support to our PTA volunteers in leadership roles with simplicity, consistency and connection as my central focus.
One of my past services to the Washington State PTA was through leading the Reflections program. By seeing the artistic expressions of students from all over the state, I got first-hand knowledge of the vastly different communities of Washington State. Each area has its own unique gifts and challenges to overcome. By far my most memorable moments will always be hosting our Reflections celebrations and getting to meet the families who participated in the program, as well as the dedicated PTA leaders who gave so much time and their own creativity. Seeing people from all backgrounds and geographies come together is what makes PTA. While Reflections is just one aspect of the PTA organization, I think it’s a great starting point for what we need to keep in our focus: our community.
I see the role of Area A Vice President as one of service. The role should empower others to accomplish more than they ever thought possible, and do it in a way that still allows our volunteers to be present in their own lives. I want to create reliable avenues of communication and sources of information that clear log jams that make advocating for our children a lot easier for everyone.
I have worked in education most of my life, starting with caregiving and teaching, and adding parent and volunteer roles along the way. I’ve worked within PTA for almost eight years now, including five with Bellevue PTSA Council, and three with the Region 2 Service Delivery Team. I know these are incredible areas filled with dedicated and devoted people that are working to make sure each child has the very best childhood possible. One thing in common with nearly every experience I’ve ever had is children learning and growing; helping children develop skills and passions has been one of the most important activities of my life.
Early in my PTA days, one of the most impactful things I heard was that Washington State PTA continually strives to maintain grassroots advocacy opportunities; as a result, anyone can bring an issue to our membership to be considered, an incredible process I was able to actively participate in a few years ago. I look forward to being able to continue to engage in this advocacy work by supporting leaders as they uplift concerns and build relationships that encourage our schools and communities to place student well-being, safety, health, and growth first when the toughest decisions are being made. I am excited to continue this work by connecting our leaders to pertinent information, training and resources as they in turn prepare their teams to advocate on behalf of our children. I enjoy collaborating to break through roadblocks that might make a PTA or Council feel they’re being held back from experiencing the success they strive for, and would be honored to have the opportunity to continue this work as the Area B VP. I know our organization to be incredibly impactful, and feel that success comes from empowering leaders to feel confident raising our collective voice as loudly as necessary to make changes needed for every child to be able to realize their future dreams.
Like most of life’s most joyful and rewarding pursuits, PTA is about bringing many together to raise that collective voice when challenges arise with our families, schools, and communities, whether that challenge is seen within an individual classroom or statewide. It can be daunting for an individual to tackle some of the problems that arise in our communities, and I value the incredible changes we foster when we work together.
In this role I would strive to support emerging Region 5 and Region 2 leaders as they continue to empower our leaders to support the dreams of their communities as they work toward a better experience for each and every child. I look forward to continuing to grow relationships between the WSPTA Board and Regions as we join together to not only further the PTA goals and mission, but to be responsive to youth and family needs. I’m continuously encouraged by the incredible dedication I see towards our children and families, and honored to have been nominated to continue supporting that work in the coming years.
My name is Melissa Ebbeson and it’s my privilege to be nominated as the Area C Vice President. Over the last 8 years, I’ve served in various PTA leadership roles, including Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President at my children’s elementary school and Highline Council, and most recently Washington State PTA Region 9 Director. I’ve helped serve on various committees for Washington State PTA such as Advocacy and Resolutions, Bylaws, and Resource Development and Highline Capital Facilities Advisory Committee and Supporting Partnerships in Education and Beyond for the last 2 years.
Through all these positions, I have met the most amazing people. I’ve worked with multiple levels of leadership at our smallest PTAs, who have struggled due to COVID 19, to our Washington State PTA. I’ve had the opportunity to help leaders get their PTAs back on track and set brand new PTAs up. It’s an exciting time to be part of Washington State PTA!
I’m inspired to have learned from previous people who have held this position, as well other leaders I’ve admired. Outside of my volunteer work with PTA, my occupation is in Customer Service, which I feel works hand in hand with all parts of PTA. From basic people skills to tougher situations, my entire career has been involved with people.
As part of representing Area C as their Vice President I will carry on Jennifer Ritchie’s efforts in Region 10 as well as continue to serve and assist leaders in Region 9. I will further efforts to communicate to our local leaders and gather input as to what our members want to see in our area as well as our State organization. I will motivate and encourage our local leaders to be and do the best they can, taking one step at a time especially since most of these members are new to holding leadership positions.
As a person who likes to learn all the time, I’ve taken all opportunities available for training and growth. Most of what I’ve learned through PTA training has been helpful and more applicable to everyday life. I will mentor our new and existing leaders with all our prospective training, convention, conferences, etc.
I will always stive to be a better person than I was yesterday and learn from previous mistakes and help all humans however I can. My passion in life is family and speaking for children and families who don’t always have an opportunity. It would be an honor to continue serving Washington State PTA families.
I am honored to be selected by the WSPTA nominating committee for the position of Area D Vice President. Area D covers Regions 3, 4, 11 and 12. The area VP oversees the region directors and represents the membership in those regions on the WSPTA board of directors.
I would like to tell you about myself outside of my PTA life. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 32 years. We have lived in Washington State for 20 of those amazing years. I am a mother of five adult children, four sons and one daughter and a grandmother of one sweet grandson. I have worked in the Richland school district as a para-professional substitute and as an aid on school buses that transport special needs children. I also help place foreign exchange students from across the world in homes in Eastern Washington. I have volunteered as a director of a state beauty pageant. I do volunteer work teaching crafts at an assisted living center. Through my church I have also had the opportunity to lead and teach various ages of children and adults. I currently teach a young children’s Sunday school class ages 8-9. I love to volunteer. I have gained many skills through my volunteer work.
I have had the opportunity to serve in many positions in PTA such as a local PTA officer, Council Officer, Service Delivery Team Member, Region Director twice and I served on the WSPTA Board of Directors. I’ve also served on many state PTA committees and continue to support and help PTAs not only in my region but in regions around the state. I have also attended 15 WSPTA Conventions and 3 National PTA Conventions. PTA has given me the opportunity to grow personally by improving my communication skills, leadership skills and self-esteem. If I serve as WSPTA Area D Vice President I will be able to give back to this wonderful association that has helped me grow as an individual and taught me to be an advocate for all children.
PTA has offered me many opportunities to mentor and teach and learn. I hope to be able to share my knowledge with PTA Members and with the WSPTA board of directors. PTA does not just change the lives of children it also can change the life of the people volunteering on behalf of children.
One of my goals in life is to help the people that surround me to become successful. I do this by encouraging, mentoring, teaching, listening and learning. This is one reason why I decided to run for Area D Vice President.
My name is Craig Willis, and I am running as a nominee for Washington State PTA (WSPTA) Area E Vice President for the 2023-2025 term. The WSPTA Nominating Committee selected me as their candidate for this position, after a thorough interview and review process. It is truly an honor to be a nominee and, if elected, I promise to work diligently to provide support, recognition, and leadership development to PTA leaders throughout WSPTA Area E as well as to other PTA leaders as appropriate.
During my time in PTA, I have been a member of multiple WSPTA committees and teams, including Nominating Committee, Leadership Committee, Programs Committee, and Convention Activities SubCommittee. At the Council level, I have been President, Vice President, and Communications Chairperson. At the local level, I have been President, Vice President, Secretary, and Communications Chairperson, among multiple other roles. I have also been a member of the WSPTA Region 7 Service Delivery Team (SDT) as our Everett PTSA Council 7.3 Representative, and in that role would interact regularly with the Region 7 Director, Area E VP, and other SDT members. As Council President, I have not only provided support, recognition, and mentorship to local PTA leaders and Council Board of Directors for our school district, but also to PTA leaders and local PTAs elsewhere in our Region, Area, and beyond.
But being a qualified Area E Vice President candidate goes beyond which positions have been held. I try to lead by example, including making certain to attend, receive training at, and promote attendance for key WSPTA and National PTA events, as well as encourage participation in WSPTA and National PTA programs and activities. I have also developed various resources and documentation at local and Council levels which have helped PTAs overcome challenges, find leaders, and participate in events. During Spring 2022, I received Crystal Level for the WSPTA Leadership Service Award, which recognizes and acknowledges PTA leaders who have attained leadership skills in all levels of PTA, and I was President of the 2021-2022 Outstanding PTA Council of the Year as recognized by WSPTA.
On a personal level, I take responsiveness and communication in high regard, which will be assets to all of the PTA leaders within WSPTA Area E. In the role of WSPTA Area E Vice President, I want to help find PTA leaders within WSPTA Area E who I can help further nurture leadership development as well as help those leaders gain confidence for potentially more expansive roles within Councils, Region SDTs, or beyond. I will also continue to encourage all PTAs to be as representative as possible regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Being WSPTA Area E Vice President is not about any one person or action; we are all in this together to help ensure that all PTAs and PTA leaders have the opportunity to succeed.
I ask for your consideration and your vote. Thank you.
The officer elections will take place during the WSPTA Convention being held in the Spring of 2023.
To help delegates make an informed decision about their vote, candidate information will be located on the website prior to the convention.
Refer to the policy manual, section 7, for more information about elections.
Elections Oversight Committee
The Elections Oversight Committee (EOC) oversees the election process. The committee shall review all materials for compliance with WSPTA Policy. All concerns raised during the election period shall be directed to the EOC chair.