Newest Members of the WSSDA Board of Directors

Four school directors began 2024 as the newest members of the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) Board of Directors. A fifth person was appointed later and a new president and president-elect were sworn in at the WSSDA Annual Conference. The elected board members are:

Melissa Beard

Tumwater School District
WSSDA Vice President
Melissa is a veteran of WSSDA’s Resolutions Committee and a graduate of the Leadership WSSDA program. She also served as Tumwater’s board chair during the pandemic, where she appreciated how well everyone shared their individual perspectives and then worked together to find solutions. She believes every WSSDA member should have a sense of belonging and wants to be a part of ensuring this.

Kate Espy

South Kitsap School District
Director Area 4
Kate is a retired nursing professional with a career that spanned 43 years. She currently serves as the president of the Kitsap Support Advocacy Counseling Board, is past president and current member of Port Orchard Soroptimist, past president/member/volunteer of Girls on the Run West Sound, and past president of the South Colby PTO. She was appointed to her board in 2021 and elected in 2023.

Jill Oldson

Richland School District
Director Area 11
Jill has served as the legislative representative, vice president, and president of her local board and is a graduate of the Leadership WSSDA program. She’s also a board member of the Benton Franklin Boys and Girls Club and has served in other youth-focused community groups. She is a veteran of WSSDA’s Resolutions Committee, Legislative Committee, and is the vice chair of the Federal Relations Network.

Liza Rankin

Seattle Public Schools
Director Area 2
Liza is nearly a life-long resident of Washington state having lived on both sides of the Cascades. She has a decade of experience in advocacy and PTSA leadership, and two children enrolled in her district. Through the Council of Great City Schools, she has worked on developing policy and governance skills through extensive training and the study of effective school boards across the country.

Fifth Person Appointed in January

Whitney Smith

In January, Whitney Smith was appointed by the WSSDA Board to assume the seat previously held by Aurora Flores of the Manson School District. Aurora gave several years of tireless service to her local board and committees within WSSDA and even served as WSSDA’s president. Please join us in thanking Aurora for her service as we welcome Whitney to the board as Director Area 7’s representative.

Elected to her board in 2019, Whitney is a lifelong Eastmont resident and graduate of her school district. She has served as her board’s legislative representative and has been an active participant in WSSDA’s General Assembly and the annual WSSDA-WASA-WASBO Day on the Hill. She has completed training as a Montessori Guide and worked in education and youth services in the Wenatchee Valley for nearly a decade. She has served on multiple Parent Teacher Organization boards, including a term as PTO president. She has three children, two of whom currently attend Eastmont schools.

New WSSDA President and President-elect also Sworn In

Left to right: Sandy Hayes, Derek Sarley, Melissa Beard

Each year, toward the close of the WSSDA Annual Conference, newly elected WSSDA board officers are sworn in. For 2024, Sandy Hayes of Northshore School District became president and Derek Sarley of Walla Walla School District was sworn in as president-elect. “I’m excited to be moving into this role at a time when school directors have an opportunity — and need — to provide a clear, compelling vision for the future of public education,” Sarley said.

See all election results from the end of 2023, inclusive of elected committee positions, Educational Service Districts, and the State Board of Education.