Past Parent Ambassadors
2009 Parent Ambassadors
2009 was the inaugural year for the WSA Parent Ambassadors program. Our 2009 crew set a great standard for future years, and had an impressive record of advocacy success!
2009 Parent Ambassadors:
- Kylee Allen, Skagit Islands Head Start
- Keith Angotti, Children’s Home Society Early Head Start (Walla Walla)
- Bianca Bailey, Kittitas County Head Start/ECEAP
- Mary Braae, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor HS/ECEAP/EHS
- Cecily Dilworth, Tacoma Public Schools Head Start
- Heather Gerrard, Snohomish County ECEAP
- Tafra Jones, Puget Sound ESD Head Start
- Lucy Kee, City of Seattle ECEAP
- Brandy Larsen, Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program
- Maria ‘Goretti’ Manzo-Kittelson, Community Child Care Center (Pullman)
- Carmella Martin, Puget Sound ESD Head Start
- David McCormick, Snohomish County Head Start
- Sara Pearl, Community Child Care Center (Pullman)
- Melody Quinn, Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS
- Lizandra Sandoval, Puget Sound ESD ECEAP
- Stephanie Scherling, Mid-Columbia Children’s Council
- Mandie Swainston, Puget Sound ESD ECEAP
- Connie Woodhouse, Puget Sound ESD ECEAP
Our Parent Ambassadors had many successes in 2009, and we wanted to share just a few:
Ambassadors Mobilize to Prevent Cuts to ECEAP
The most tangible success so far has been the work ambassadors did in preventing deep cuts to ECEAP—our state’s preschool program. Because of their work the program was only cut by a less than 2 percent, despite the budget crisis in our state. Ambassadors did the following:
Educated parents and staff in their local programs about the legislative climate.
- Mobilized ECEAP parents and staff to contact their lawmakers via the phone and e-mail. Over 3,000 e-mails were sent to state lawmakers as a direct result of ambassador mobilization efforts.
- Met with lawmakers at our state capitol. Ambassadors met regularly with lawmakers and helped organize opportunities for parents and staff to join the campaign and come to the capitol.
- Testified at appropriation and budget hearings. Several ambassadors presented testimony to key committees about the need to preserve funding for ECEAP.
- Authored several letters to the editor and participated in media interviews. In particular, we had two very active ambassadors that started a letter to the editor campaign.
Ambassadors Help to Develop Child Care Subsidy Legislation
Many of our ambassadors have found that the child care subsidy system does not work for them and their families. They brought their concerns and policy recommendations to the Director of our state’s department of early learning several months ago via a conference call. As a result of their work the department is in the process of drafting legislation to make the changes requested by our ambassadors including changing the authorization periods and capping co-payments.
Ambassadors Have Seats at Many Key Early Learning Tables
One of the most effective elements of the parent ambassador program has been the success we have had in getting the “parent voice” at key decision making tables. Here are just some examples:
- Three ambassadors sit on the Department of Early Learning’s parent advisory group.
- Ambassadors are involved in the state’s early learning planning process.
- Ambassadors are members of the state wide early learning coalition. The coalition is in the process of developing a “Parent Caucus” which we would co-convene with Moms Rising. The Parent Caucus will be funded by dollars from the Gates Foundation.
- Ambassadors are involved with the National Head Start Association’s Government Affairs team and take part in monthly conference calls.
- One Ambassador was appointed by Governor Gregoire to serve on the state’s Early Learning Advisory Committee.
Local Advocacy Training
Ambassadors took the lead on creating a ‘Fall Blitz’ effort to train parents in their local area and educate parents about issues important to low income families and ways to advocate.
ECEAP Champion Award
Ambassadors worked in partnership with Every Child Matters to create an “ECEAP Champion” event in Bremerton in October honoring the work of Representative Kathy Haigh.
Ambassadors meet with federal officials
Eight ambassadors went to Washington D.C., where they met with each of their lawmakers, developed their own training session for other parents at the NHSA Leadership Conference, and provided strategic comments to key early childhood leaders including Joan Lombardi, the new child care administrator, the new head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, and legislative staff.
Another ambassador arranged for his Congressman to visit his own program. As a result of the meeting, Rep. Larsen told our ambassador that he has a much better picture of how Head Start works with the whole family and not just the child.
2010 Parent Ambassadors
We had great Parent Ambassadors for 2010, from all over Washington. Many have testified in Olympia on ECEAP and Working Connections issues, and they’ve all visited their legislators! Congratulations to our 2010 Ambassadors:
- Robb Atherton, Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP
- Stephenie Browne, Spokane County ECEAP
- Rachelle Ensor, Kitsap Community Resources
- Immaculate Ferreria-Allah, PSESD ECEAP
- Gloria Fortune, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor ECEAP
- Elizabeth Grillett, PSESD Early Head Start
- Kendra Gunion, Kitsap Community Resources
- Lorie Kavaklian, Aberdeen School District ECEAP
- Tamara Long, PSESD ECEAP (Multicultural Family Center of Hope)
- James McBride, Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP
- April Ritter, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start
- Brian Rose, Kitsap Community Resources
- Lisa Sullivan, ESD 113 Sound to Harbor
- Wayne Ueda, Spokane County ECEAP
- April White, Early Childhood Opportunities NW (Bellingham)
- Tiffany Simkins, Lewis County Head Start
The most impressive accomplishments of the 2010 parent ambassadors were the legislative victories. We achieved significant results despite a more than $3.8 billion state budget deficit. Parent Ambassadors helped to secure victories in three major areas: child care subsidy reform, ECEAP entitlement, and funding. Their work was integral to the passage of these key policy changes and in minimizing cuts to early learning.
House Bill 3141
Parent Ambassadors were the driving force on House bill 3141, which makes significant improvements to the child care subsidy system. The legislation extends the child care subsidy redetermination period for families enrolled in Head Start, Early Head Start, and ECEAP. Under current law parents receiving child care subsidies face multiple hurdles and red tape to maintain their eligibility. Often families are reauthorized every 3 months. This leads to families being knocked out of the system and their child losing access to quality child care. This new policy change will put the child at the center of the system and build in more stability for providers and parents. The victory is all the more remarkable because this policy change had been sought by advocates for more than 15 years and was initially opposed by the Governor.
Ambassadors were involved on many levels:
- Ambassadors helped develop and conceive of the legislation. When our chief sponsor Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Shoreline) and our coalition wanted to know how various aspects of the bill would impact real families, ambassadors were called upon for advice and input.
- Ambassadors testified at several House and Senate hearings. On several occasions, legislators followed our Ambassadors out into the hall during and after hearings to ask follow-up questions and get more information about their experiences.
- Ambassadors mobilized parents back at their local programs to contact their lawmakers during the legislative session. Hundreds of e-mails were sent asking lawmakers to support this legislative change. Ambassadors also made frequent contacts to the Governor’s staff.
- Ambassadors participated on conference calls with key stakeholder groups, our early learning coalition, and with Dr. Bette Hyde, the director of the Department of Early Learning.
House Bill 2731
In most legislative sessions the passage of the child care subsidy reform bill would be enough. But parent ambassadors also helped to secure another piece of landmark legislation, House bill 2731, which will make our state’s preschool program an entitlement for all low income children by 2018. This legislation prohibits the state from cutting ECEAP in the next legislative session and requires lawmakers to begin providing funding to serve the more than 4,000 eligible kids sitting on wait lists. Ambassadors were successful in discussing the benefits of high quality early learning programs and the need for funding increases. In two examples, ambassadors from our Spokane ECEAP program met with all of the key early learning champions in the Senate in the beginning of the session and in the House parent ambassadors met with the key sponsor of the bill, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) to ensure that the legislation built off of ECEAP with full comprehensive services and parent engagement. It is a testament to the hard work and effectiveness of our ambassadors and other early learning advocates that this commitment was made by the legislature in a period of such financial turmoil.
Ambassadors Help Ward Off Budget Cuts
While many states made cuts to children’s services and early learning, Washington State did not make any deep spending reductions to early learning. One of the main reasons that cuts did not take place was the Parent Ambassador Program. Ambassadors successfully fought off large proposed cuts to both ECEAP and child care. Our ambassadors participated in multiple events and activities sponsored by our coalition. Several of our ambassadors became so effective in their presentations they were called upon regularly by other coalition partners for speaking roles and quotes were included in various publications.
2011 Parent Ambassadors
Our 2011 Parent Ambassadors are off to a fast start this year. Already Ambassadors played a pivotal role in defeating the Governor’s plan to drastically cut child care assistance. Ambassadors have provided regular testimony on key issues that impact children and families including funding for early childhood education, TANF, and WAKIDS—a kindergarten readiness assessment process. Ambassadors have been featured in newspapers, TV and radio including coverage on KIRO 7, NPR, KING 5, and KHQ.
|Stephanie Bates||Educational Opportunities for Children & Families||Vancouver, WA|
|Jennifer DeHaan||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start||Olympia, WA|
|Catrina Dodson||Mid-Columbia Children’s Council||Goldendale, WA|
|Rebecca Gallegos||Snohomish County ECEAP||Startup, WA|
|Sam Gallegos||Snohomish County ECEAP||Startup, WA|
|Angelica Gonzalez||Puget Sound ESD Head Start||Auburn, WA|
|Lisa Grenia||Lower Columbia College Head Start/EHS/ECEAP||Longview, WA|
|Sonja Lennox||Puget Sound ESD Head Start||Tacoma, WA|
|Shawna Macagba||Upper Skagit Child Development Center||Sedro-Woolley, WA|
|John McClure||Spokane County ECEAP||Spokane, WA|
|Amanda Meirndorf||Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP||Kelso, WA|
|Eula Motelet||Puget Sound ESD ECEAP||Tacoma, WA|
|Daralyn Nichols||Tacoma Public Schools||Tacoma, WA|
|Amanda Pope||Spokane County Head Start||Spokane, WA|
|Jessica Powers||Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program||Clarkston, WA|
|Misti Shapansky||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start||Elma, WA|
|Surina Warren-Nash||Educational Opportunities for Children & Families||Ridgefield, WA|
|DesiRae Zabel||Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program||Clarkston, WA|
2012 Parent Ambassadors
Our 2012 Parent Ambassadors got their first training during the huge snow and ice storm in January, and they’ve managed to channel that crazines and energy into some incredible advocacy and success already. Parents have testified before committees in Olympia on ECEAP, Working Connections funding, our 12-month subsidy eligibility bill, and Universal Pre-k. They’ve made themselves a constant presence with their legislators, visiting the Capitol for Have a Heart for Kids Day, bombarding them with thoughtful emails and calls, and managing to get many, many letters to the editor published in their local newspapers.
|Parent Ambassador||Program Name||Hometown|
|Martha Chavez||Puget Sound ESD ECEAP||Kent|
|Tiffanie Coe||Puget Sound ESD ECEAP||Tacoma|
|Carine Crooks||Lower Columbia Head Start/ECEAP||Kelso|
|Jamie Devries||Lower Columbia Head Start/ECEAP||Kelso|
|Nicole Erickson||Snohomish County Head Start||Monroe|
|Natasha Fecteau||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremerton|
|Sarita Garibay||Chelan-Douglas Child Development Association||East Wenatchee|
|Crystal Garvin||Opportunity Council||Bellingham|
|Nicole Gonzalez||Walla Walla Public Schools||Walla Walla|
|Trena Haywood||Puget Sound ESD Head Start||Auburn|
|Sarah Hogan||Kitsap Community Resources||Kingston|
|Leslie Horn||Snohomish County Head Start||Monroe|
|Consuelo Jimenez||Denise Louie Education Center||Seattle|
|Erika Lopez||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start||Hoquiam|
|Nicole Matthews||Puget Sound ESD/Children’s Home Society||Kent|
|Maryan Miae||Neighborhood House||Seattle|
|Shaena Nelson||Community Child Care Center||Endicott|
|Jennifer Ross||Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS||Spokane|
|Leanna Stevenson||Chelan-Douglas Child Development Association||Wenatchee|
|Dezarie Taylor||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor Head Start||Olympia|
|Jacquelyn Wolcott||Mid-Columbia Children’s Council||White Salmon|
|P.A. Graduates & 2012 Peer Mentors|
|Robb Atherton||Peer Mentor (2010 P.A., Lower Columbia College HS/ECEAP)||Kalama|
|Wayne Ueda||Peer Mentor (2010 P.A., Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS)||Medical Lake|
|Sonja Lennox||Peer Mentor (2011 P.A., Puget Sound ESD Head Start)||Tacoma|
|David McCormick||Peer Mentor (2009 P.A., Snohomish County ECEAP)||Everett|
|DesiRae Zabel||Peer Mentor (2011 P.A., Lewis Clark Early Childhood Program.||Clarkston|
2013 Parent Ambassadors
The 2013 Parent Ambassador team did a fabulous job. They were been at our State Capitol in Olympia testifying on key issues, advocating with lawmakers, and helped put together an amazing Lobby Day in March. They have had letters to the editor published and have completed “teach backs” in their local communities. Ambassadors have already been part of some important successes including the passage of two early learning bills that will improve the early childhood system. While the budget is not yet completed ECEAP is well positioned to receive a meaningful increase in the state budget. Thanks to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Ambassadors are also receiving financial literacy training and are participating in a pilot IDA program in which they are saving for specific career goals including college attendance. We would like to thank our core funder the Peppercorn Foundation for their continuing support of the Parent Ambassadors Program and helping us launch this amazing program.
|Parent Ambassador||Program Name||Hometown|
|Stephanie Bare||Bright Beginnings for Kittitas County||Ellensburg|
|Martha Banda||Granger Early Childhood Center||Outlook|
|Rebecca Boyer||Mid-Columbia Children’s Council||Goldendale|
|Emma Chapman||Kitsap Community Resources||Bainbridge Island|
|Charity Edwards||Snohomish County ECEAP/HS||Everett|
|Betuel Gonzalez||Chelan- Douglas Child Services||Wenatchee|
|VIctoria Hilt||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremmerton|
|John Jones||Tacoma Public Schools Head Start||Tacoma|
|Terra Luff||Lower Columbia HS/ECEAP/EHS||Longview|
|Ginger Finau||Puget Sound ESD||Kent|
|Yvonne MInnier||Northeast WA Early Childhood Program||Kingston|
|Rebecca Nielsen||Denise Louie Education Center||Pullman|
|Guyanthony Parramore||Puget Sound ESD||Seattle|
|Benjamin Parrish||Puget Sound ESD Educare||Seattle|
|Marciela Rodrigez||Puget Sound ESD||Kirkland|
|Benjamin Smith||Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS||Airway Heights|
|Cecilia Smith||Seattle Public Schools HS||Seattle|
|Jennifer Thomas||Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS||Spokane|
|Kayle Troester||Skagit Islands HEad Start||Wenatchee|
|P.A. Graduates & 2012 Peer Mentors|
|Crystal Garvin||Peer Mentor (2012 P.A, Opportunity Council)||Bellingham|
|Nicole Gonzales||Peer Mentor (2012 P.A, Walla Walla Public Schools)||Walla Walla|
|Jennifer Ross||Peer Mentor (2012 P.A., Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS||Spokane|
2014 Parent Ambassadors
We have chosen our Parent Ambassadors for 2014! These parents will be going through a yearlong parent advocacy and leadership training program.
|Amber Buckley||Lower Columbia College HS/EHS/ECEAP||Longview|
|Yolanda Hererra||Centralia College ECEAP||Centralia|
|Samantha Hummel||Bright Beginnings for Kittas County||Ellensburg|
|Drayton Jackson||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremerton|
|Julianna Johnson||Snohomish County ECEAP||Sultan|
|Mayra Lopez||Granger School District ECEAP||Granger|
|Heather McBride||Lower Columbia College HS/EHS/ECEAP||Longview|
|Rami Messier||Spokane County HS/ECEAP/EHS||Airway Heights|
|Kimberly Mugler||Puget Sound ESD||Auburn|
|Lynda Popplewell||Puget Sound ESD||Tacoma|
|Brandi Rigby||Opportunity Council||Maple Falls|
|Rayah Rooks||ESD #113- Sound to Harbor Headstart/ECEAP||Olympia|
|Marybell Russo||Snohomish County ECEAP||Everett|
|Grace Ssebugwawo||Puget Sound ESD||Federal Way|
|Susana Zermeno||Puget Sound ESD||Kent|
|Chelsea Zuniga||ESD #113- Sound to Harbor Headstart/ECEAP||Olympia|
2015 Parent Ambassadors
|Abril Mitchell-Ward||Puget Sound ESD||Kent|
|Angela Loria||Puget Sound ESD||Tacoma|
|Araceli Gonzalez||Chelan Douglas Child Services||Wenatchee|
|Carolyn Solitaire||Puget Sound ESD||Tacoma|
|Christina Kohout||Olympic Community Action||Forks|
|Darsheen Sargent||Seattle Public Schools||Seattle|
|Francisco Rios||Granger School District ECEAP||Granger|
|Jacquelyn Bouchard||Lower Columbia College Head Start/ECEAP/EHS||Longview|
|Jessi Goodman||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor||Olympia|
|Joan Talarico||Suquamish HS/EHS/ECEAP||Suquamish|
|Kathryn Smith||Spokane County HS/EHS/ECEAP||Spokane Valley|
|Katrina Storms||Bright Beginnings for Kittitas County||Ellensburg|
|Laura Faviola Aguillares Meza||Skagit Islands Head Start||Burlington|
|Maria Cruz||Puget Sound ESD||Auburn|
|Nicole Stacey||Opportunity Council||Bellingham|
|Nukisha Jackson||Puget Sound ESD||Auburn|
|Rosie Sosa||Mid Columbia Children’s Council||Underwood|
|Sandra Pineda||Inspire Development Centers||Toppenish|
|Shannon Turner||Kitsap Community Resources||
2016 Parent Ambassadors
We have chosen our Parent Ambassadors for 2016! They started their Parent Ambassador year long journey this March and are excited to learn great advocacy and leadership skills. We have parents from all around Washington State and are excited to see how they grow over the next year.
2017 Parent Ambassadors
We have chosen our Parent Ambassadors for 2017! They started their Parent Ambassador year long journey this March and are excited to learn great advocacy and leadership skills. We have parents from all around Washington State and are excited to see how they grow over the next year.
|Dale||Allen||Puget Sound ESD||Kent|
|Jacqui||Barney||Deer Park Elementary||Deer Park|
|Nicki||Beer||NE Washington Early Childhood||Kettle Falls|
|Daree||Blake||Central Valley School District Early Learning Center||Spokane Valley|
|Ashley||Chambers||Tacoma Head Start||Tacoma|
|Crystina||Crews||Inspire Development Centers||Yakima|
|Claudia||Franson||Educational Opportunities for Children and Families||Vancouver|
|Sherri||Hall||Children’s Home Society||Federal Way|
|Stacy||Hammond||Bright Beginnings of Kittats County||Ellensburg|
|Maria||Lewis||Snohomish County ECEAP||Lake Stevens|
|Aaron||Linkemyer||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremerton|
|Stephenie||Mischo||Skagit Islands Head Start/ECEAP||Oak Harbor|
|Esbeidi||Ochoa||Granger School District||Granger|
|Xochitl||Palacios||Snohomish County ECEAP||Marysville|
|Victoria||Waller||Skagit Islands Head Start/ECEAP||Concrete|
|Jessica||Weeks||Educational Opportunities for Children and Families||Vancouver|
2018 Parent Ambassadors
We have chosen our Parent Ambassadors for 2018! They are starting their Parent Ambassador year long journey this March and are excited to learn great advocacy and leadership skills. We have parents from all around Washington State and are excited to see how they grow over the next year.
|Corey||Boehm||Centralia College ECEAP||Centralia|
|Mary Cameron||Perillo||Snohomish County ECEAP||Marysville|
|Krystina||Cummins||Puget Sound ESD||Des Moines|
|Stephanie||Ellis||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremerton|
|Guadalupe||Mendoza||Walla Walla HS/ECEAP||Walla Walla|
|Mitchel||Ostler||Benton Franklin HS||Benton City|
|McKyndree||Rogers||Central Valley Early Learning||Spokane|
|Brittany||Smith||Spokane HS/ECEAP/EHS||Four Lakes|
|Alina||Swart||Lewis Clark Early Childhood||Clarkston|
|Clara||Vasquez||Granger School District ECEAP||Sunnyside|
2019 Parent Ambassadors
We have chosen our Parent Ambassadors for 2019! They are starting their Parent Ambassador year long journey this March and are excited to learn great advocacy and leadership skills. We have parents from all around Washington State and are excited to see how they grow over the next year.
|Silvia||Chavez||Edmonds Community College||Everett|
|Jessica||Deloney||Sound to Harbor HS/ECEAP||Olympia|
|Danielle||Harper||Skagit Islands Heart Start and ECEAP||Freeland|
|Whitney||Johnson||Walla Walla Public Schools||Walla Walla|
|Cristyn||Kelly||Kitsap Community Resources||Bremerton|
|Teela||Lanchester||Bates Technical College – PSESD||Tacoma|
|Nevada||Little||ESD 113 Sound to Harbor HS/ECEAP||Aberdeen|
|Rosa||Mariscal||Meadow Crest ECEAP – PSESD||Renton|
|Daniela||Martinez||Inspire Development Center||Connell|
|NgocLoan||Nguyen||City of Seattle ECEAP Policy Council||Seattle|
|Melissa||Padilla||Bellevue School District||Bellevue|
|Jessica||Reese||Children Home Society of WA||Covington|
|Elizabeth||Rhonemus||Downtown Bates Early Head Start||Lakewood|
|Manuela||Tomas Martin||Centralia ECEAP||Centralia|
2020 Parent Ambassadors
Parent Ambassadors 2020 began their year long journey in March and are excited to learn great advocacy and leadership skills. We have parents from all around Washington State and are excited to see how they grow over the next year.
This year with COVID-19 changing the ways we interact and do our training it is already proving to be interesting. With social distancing protocols in place, we are being creative in the ways we are all working together this year. Our parents are being nimble and flexible to the changes happening in our nation and specifically in our state as they are on their Parent Ambassador journey.
Snohomish County ECEAP
West County Headstart- Opportunity Council
Educational Service District 112
Tacoma Community College Child Care
Child Care Parent
Snohomish County ECEAP
Puget Sound ESD
Damayanty Vazquez Miranda
Educational Service District 112
Eduardo Francisco Reyes Rodriguez
Centralia College Early Learning Programs
Educational Service 123
Children’s Home Society
Karri Anne Benson
Whatcom County EHS – Opportunity Council
Bellevue School District
Arlington Apple ECEAP
Bellevue School District
Megan Rose Pirie
Central Valley School District ECEAP
Child Care Parent
Educational Service District 123
Reyna Gallegos Rosas
Child Care Parent
Roosevelt Head Start – Opportunity Council
Puget Sound ESD
Puget Sound ESD – Downtown Bates