Meet the team

WSSDA’s in-district workshops and retreats are led by WSSDA staff and consultants. The consultants are a group of trainers with impressive credentials and extensive experience to guide and support school directors in their governance role. Each consultant has been selected for expertise in the areas of service most often sought by school boards and districts. They can help boards tackle and resolve issues unique to each district. Areas of expertise include team building and leadership development, strategic planning, board-superintendent relations, vision setting, community engagement, group facilitation, conflict resolution and problem solving.

WSSDA Leadership Development Staff

Tricia Lubach, Director of Leadership DevelopmentTricia Lubach joined WSSDA’s staff in 2014, but she was a WSSDA member for many years before that. She has served on the Quincy School District Board of Directors since 2005, with multiple stints as board chair, vice-chair and legislative representative. As an active WSSDA member, she served on the Legislative Committee and graduated with the Leadership WSSDA class of 2013. Based in central Washington, Tricia enjoys providing support and professional development to boards on both sides of the Cascades. A WSU graduate with a degree in Business Marketing, she spent more than 20 years as a communications consultant with experience in public relations, market research and analysis, writing and media relations. This confluence of communications expertise and boardsmanship experience gives her the knowledge and drive to help others reach their potential as educational
Christine Najarro, Leadership Development CoordinatorChristine NajarroChristine Najarro joined the WSSDA team in 2020. She has previously worked in marketing and public relations in the high tech industry as well as event planning and community outreach for non-profits. Growing up in Minneapolis, she studied Communications at the University of Minnesota. Christine is grateful to be a part of WSSDA and serving its members through Leadership

Eastern and Central Washington Consultants

Scott Dolquist Scott Dolquist is a founder and co-director of an educational consulting firm partnering with schools and organizations to implement research-based programs with a high impact on student achievement.  He began his career as a middle school teacher and, after completing a master’s degree in educational administration, served as a middle school principal for thirteen years.  Scott then worked with a national school reform organization based in New York City, first as an instructional coach and regional director, then as National Director of Program Design and Professional Development. In this capacity, he led the design and delivery of professional development for a network of over 100 schools throughout the country, partnered with school boards and superintendents to open new schools, and co-developed tools to capture implementation and outcome data.
Lorri Edwards
Lorri Edwards is co-director of an educational consultant firm that partners with organizations seeking to impact student learning through effective implementation of research-based initiatives.  Lorri has Teaching and Educational Administration degrees and many years of experience in adult education as an instructional coach, university program director and adjunct faculty. She also has extensive experience as an elementary school teacher in both public and private school settings. Lorri has served on several boards and advisory committees with a special interest in continuous quality improvement. Her tenure as a school director on the Kettle Falls School Board from 2009 to 2015 adds to her rich background of experiences.
Cindy McMullen
Cindy McMullen is a recycled school director, having served on the Central Valley School Board in Spokane from 1987-2011, then serving four years on the State Board of Education, and being re-elected to the Central Valley Board in 2015. She has been active in WSSDA, graduating from Leadership WSSDA in 1998, being elected to the Legislative Committee, serving on WSSDA’s Board of Directors and finally elected President in 2006.  She was a WSSDA Cadre member from 2003-2011 and has presented numerous trainings and conference sessions over the years.Cindy is a retired attorney who specialized in municipal law serving small cities, towns and special purpose districts over her 35+ years of practice.  In 2005, she was the President of the Washington Association of Municipal Attorneys. Cindy brings a great deal of knowledge and experience from her extensive background in education and law to support school directors. She is well-versed in boardsmanship, school law, superintendent evaluation, board self-assessment, conflict resolution and board protocols.

Western Washington Consultants

Amy Cast
Amy Cast brings a wide variety of school board and marketing management experience. As a director on the Northshore School Board, Amy has served in every officer position, including Audit Chair, Legislative Chair, Vice President and President. As President, she oversaw a community-wide strategic planning process, lead the effort to rewrite the entire district policy structure, oversaw the development of a comprehensive equity policy, and led a national superintendent search.Amy’s marketing management career began at a Fortune 50 company where she oversaw national product management programs. For the last 20 years, she has owned a web design and marketing company where she designs and implements digital marketing programs that support her small business clients and their growth goals. Throughout her career, she has used research-based communications practices to strengthen her community.
Vanessa Edwards
Vanessa Edwards was a Marysville School District board director for four years. During her term, she was the President, Vice President, and Legislative Chair, Policy Chair and Equity Chair. During her term, she helped with defining the district values, and a community developed Strategic Plan. As President, she oversaw the first district Educational Equity Policy, a Staff Harassment Policy, and Students Board Representative Policy.Her focus on equity, a student centered education and an inclusive environment helped align the district values and strategic plan. Vanessa has over nine years of experience working in the K-12 public schools. She believes in the strength and importance of student voice in education and empowering them to own their path to success. She volunteers with many organizations in the community, and believes that legacy is not what you leave at the end, but what you do during your life.
Mary Fertakis
Mary Fertakis served on the Tukwila School Board from 1995-2017, was the 2012 WSSDA President, served two terms on the WSSDA Board, one term on the Legislative Committee, and is a Leadership WSSDA graduate. She served on WSSDA’s Closing the Achievement Gap Task Force, Urban Issues Committee, Diversity & Multicultural Action Team, Chaired the Federal Relations Network, represented WSSDA on the Expanded Learning Opportunities Council, and served on the Early Learning Work Group for Washington State’s ESSA plan development process.Mary is the CEO of M FERTAKIS Consulting, LLC, specializing in equity issues across the P-12 education system. She is also a consultant with the National School Boards Association Equity Department, providing training and assistance to state school board associations on diversity, equity and inclusion. She serves on the Racial Equity Policy Design Team (PSESD/ WSSDA), which created a process for school district leadership teams to develop Race & Equity policies.Fertakis holds B.A.’s in Political Science and International Studies from the UW, an ELL Teaching Certification from Seattle U, an M.Ed. in Education Policy from the UW, and certification in P-3 systems from the UW’s P-3 Executive Leadership Institute. She has received certifications from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s P-3 Institute and Family Engagement Institute.
Sandra Zavala-Ortega
Sandra Zavala-Ortega was appointed to serve on the School Board for Vancouver Public Schools In April of 2021 and continues to serve on the board after being elected in November 2021. Sandra is the first Latina Director on the Vancouver school board.Sandra is a proud daughter of Mexican Immigrant parents. She started her education experience as a non-English speaker, she took part and graduated from what used to be known as the English Language Learner program in the fourth grade. Sandra graduated from Fort Vancouver High School in 2007 and attended college at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, WA. Sandra studied Community Services with a minor in Psychology. As a college student she served as Senator of Cultural Diversity, established the AHANA (African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian-Pacific Islander, Native American) Connections Orientation in 2010 that is still flourishing today.After college, Sandra started working for the Vancouver School District as a Family Community Resource Coordinator. She directly supported the needs of the culturally diverse students and families. She has worked in various capacities as a Homeless/Unaccompanied Youth Liaison, Church Secretary, Interpreter, and currently she works from home.Sandra is a proud mom to her son, who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder.
Sandra’s passion is to learn, educate and advocate for education especially disadvantaged youth, sexual abuse awareness, mental health and autism.“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown.
Lori Oviatt
Lori Oviatt is an experienced school board member, serving the Riverview Board of Directors since 2006. Her background as a public-school educator as well as a technology consultant provides her with vast knowledge and experience to support board members from many perspectives. She is an active volunteer and community member with experience on site-based councils, communication committees, strategic planning, superintendent search committees, co-curricular committees and technology committees.In addition to her role as a board director she also serves as an honorary member of the WIAA board of directors, SeaKing District 2 board and WSSDA’s Annual Conference planning committee. Lori has a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instructional Technology. Lori believes in empowering others to be who they want to be.
Luckisha Phillips
Luckisha Phillips has served on the Federal Way Public School Board since October 2018. Luckisha is a native of Washington and has lived in the greater Federal Way area for 10 years with her husband and four children. Two of her sons attend Federal Way Public Schools while the other attends an independent learning school in Seattle. Luckisha’s youngest son is a budding FWPS student in an in-home daycare in Federal Way.Ms. Phillips has over 20 years of experience that centers on children and families. She is a working mom, currently teaching in our local community colleges. She has worked mostly in the nonprofit sector with direct service agencies like The Boys and Girls Club, YMCA Children’s Crisis Team, and YWCA Reentry and Reunification. She has also been a teacher in early childhood education classrooms, birth-to-three centers, and special needs classrooms. Her experience will help inform policy work to support children with special needs, children with adverse experiences, and all families trying to navigate the school system.Ms. Phillips is a very active volunteer and has sat on the Seattle Children’s Tiny Footprint Guild, The King County Youth Diversion Committee, The Children of Incarcerated Parents Committee, and the South King County Homeless Coalition. Luckisha has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in social work from the University of Washington. With a passion for addressing the intersectionality of race, class, gender, education, and environment, Mrs. Phillips looks forward to partnering with the community and combining efforts to move our schools forward.
Cassandra Sage
Cassandra Sage served as a board director in the Lake Washington School District, filling the role of legislative representative. She advocates for students and families at the local, state, and national level in the areas of education, mental health, housing, and disability rights. Casandra works as the development manager for the non-profit organization Influence The Choice whose mission is to prevent youth substance use through the promotion of mental, social and physical health.Cassandra has a background in education and has spent the past 20 years working as a Family Advisor for Seattle Children’s (SCH) hospital. She is also a facilitator for the SCH program Promoting Resilience in Stress Management, (P.R.I.S.M). This program is designed to support parents who have children in the ICU. Additionally, Cassandra is a founding member of the Equity in Communication Collaborative Action Network, which creates weekly video broadcasts in Spanish with up to date information for LWSD and Bellevue School District families.
Maya Vengadasalam
Maya brings a strong business and finance background and is currently employed as a Business Process Analyst for the Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma. Until recently, Maya served as a school board director in the Kent School District for the past eight years. She has served on numerous district committees and was recognized for her diversity and equity initiatives by the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) and United Way of King County. Prior to her election to the school board, Maya managed a translation/interpretation non-profit and the for-profit localization arm of n-Link Corporation. Maya and her husband of 35 years live in Kent and have a married son working in banking and finance. She attended Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida where she majored in business administration and accounting.
Patty Wood
Patty is an experienced school board member, serving the Kelso School Board since 2002. Her leadership roles within that capacity include board chair, committee work, superintendent hiring, passing a levy and negotiations. Patty’s service as a leadership consultant since 2007 has focused on essential board skills for new and veteran directors including operating principles, board goals, board and superintendent evaluations, agenda setting, finance, roles and responsibilities and board standards.  A formal education in engineering precedes her work in public education with service at local, regional, state and national levels.  She’s served on WSSDA’s Legislative Committee, Board Standards Task Force, Trust Lands Task Force, and chaired the Federal Relations Network.  She currently serves on the boards of WSSDA and Education Northwest.