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

2009 Successes

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

2010 Successes

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.

Ambassador Program Name Town
Cherise Billington EOCF Vancouver
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
Brittany Kirk PSESD Kirkland
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

Click Here

2015 Parent Ambassadors


Ambassador Program Name Town
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
Erik Kaarto EOCF Vancouver
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.

First Last Town
Rosalba Bacilio Walla Walla
Sinoun Buth Vancouver 
Debi Chadwick Orting
Christianna Clinton Oak Harbor
John Cottrell Lakewood
Jessica  Eyle Longview
Debra Gamble Moses Lake
Angelic Goebel Olympia
Holly Hugs Tacoma
Christina  Martin Ellensburg 
Zayda Quintana Federal Way
Shereese Rhodes  Kent
Amy Roark Washougal 
Stephanie  Simmons  Lakewood
Breeann Talbott Friday Harbor 
Brianna Treadwell Rainier
Gabriela Villagomez-Morales Tacoma
Shawnte Willis Spokane Valley 

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.

First Last Program Name Town
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
Mark Geri Opportunity Council Bellingham
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
Shauniece Quins PSESD/MCCFH Tacoma
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.


First Last Program Name Town
Crystal Armstrong Opportunity Council Blaine
Corey Boehm Centralia College ECEAP Centralia
Wendy Bowen Snohomish ECEAP Arlington
Mary Cameron Perillo Snohomish County ECEAP Marysville
Krystina Cummins Puget Sound ESD Des Moines
Stephanie Ellis Kitsap Community Resources  Bremerton
Tienaya Godes Spokane HS/ECEAP/EHS Spokane
Amber Healy PSESD Enumclaw
Jamie Knoblauch Sumner CC Sumner
Shay Krum Bremerton ECEAP Bremerton
Lindsey Lawson Rural Resources Colville
Guadalupe Mendoza Walla Walla HS/ECEAP Walla Walla
Ashley Mucino ESD 1133 Rochester
Mitchel Ostler Benton Franklin HS Benton City
Martha Rodriguez PSESD Renton
McKyndree Rogers Central Valley Early Learning Spokane
Janna Ryan Tumwater CC Tumwater
Brittany Smith Spokane HS/ECEAP/EHS Four Lakes
Alina Swart Lewis Clark Early Childhood Clarkston
Clara Vasquez Granger School District ECEAP Sunnyside
Stephanie Wick EOCF Vancouver

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.


First Last Program Name Town
Silvia Chavez Edmonds Community College Everett
Jessica Deloney Sound to Harbor HS/ECEAP Olympia
Danielle Harper Skagit Islands Heart Start and ECEAP Freeland
Natasha Hill EOCF Vancouver
Sara Hutchinson Opportunity Council Ferndale
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
Brenda Palmer EOCF Vancouver
Blanca Rangel Prosser IDC/ECEAP Prosser
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.



Aaron LaPointe    

Snohomish County ECEAP


Anna Ashe

West County Headstart- Opportunity Council



Ann Miszczak

Educational Service District 112


Belinda Laju

Tacoma Community College Child Care


Brittany Moonan

Child Care Parent



Byron Jackson

Snohomish County ECEAP


Cameron Gomez

Puget Sound ESD


Damayanty Vazquez Miranda

Educational Service District 112


Eduardo Francisco Reyes Rodriguez

Centralia College Early Learning Programs


Esveida Uriostegui

Educational Service 123



Jessica Heavner

Children’s Home Society

Federal Way

Karri Anne Benson

Whatcom County EHS – Opportunity Council


Kassahun Defersha

Bellevue School District



Kathryn Sharpe

Arlington Apple ECEAP


Maria Dullovi

Bellevue School District



Megan Rose Pirie

Central Valley School District ECEAP


Nicole Etheridge

Rural Resources

Kettle Falls

Nijhia Jackson

Child Care Parent


Ramona Magana

Educational Service District 123 


Reyna Gallegos Rosas

Child Care Parent


Sade Chapman

Roosevelt Head Start – Opportunity Council


Sandra Simarra

Puget Sound ESD


Timothy Johnston

Puget Sound ESD – Downtown Bates