Presenters 2018-05-30T00:11:06+00:00

2018 Beyond Paper Tigers Conference Presenters

Dr. Chuck Salina (Keynote Speaker) is an associate professor at Gonzaga University in the School of Education. He is the past chair and teaches in the Department of Leadership and Administration. Chuck has been a principal at all levels of K–12 education. Using a federally funded School Improvement Grant and in collaboration with Gonzaga University and Sunnyside School District, Chuck served as the “turnaround” principal at Sunnyside from 2010 through 2012 and was the Central Office Transformation Facilitator through 2013.  Chuck and his team created rapid growth in the school’s graduation rate and raised morale among administrators, teachers, and students. He has written two books about his process along with Suzann Girtz, who teaches research and assessment in the School of Education at Gonzaga and who acted as grant reviewer and researcher for the Sunnyside Project, and Joanie Eppinga, a freelance writer and editor who conducted interviews and research for the project. Chuck currently takes great joy in assisting formal leaders and teachers in the turnaround process. Chuck can be contacted at or 509.313.3643. Learn more about Dr. Chuck Salina here…

Jim Sporleder retired in 2014 as Principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. Under Jim’s leadership, Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out-of-school suspensions, increased graduation rates and in the number of students going on to post-secondary education. These dramatic changes at Lincoln caught the attention of Jamie Redford, who spent a year filming the documentary Paper Tigers, which tells the Lincoln story. Read an article about Beyond Paper Tigers Presenter Jim Sporleder, “Lincoln High School’s Trauma-Informed Strategies: Jim Sporleder Reflects on Lessons Learned” here…

Lynn Waymer directs development and execution of communications, community engagement and social impact strategies. Formerly Director of Distribution for HBO, she’s worked on creating localized and national partnerships, community screening events and digital social impact and outreach campaigns for KPJR Films including: The Big Picture: Re-thinking Dyslexia; Paper Tigers and Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope and several independent films including Black Women In Medicine and HAPPENING: A Clean Energy Revolution. In addition, she’s consulted with The Yale School of Medicine’s Center for Dyslexia & Creativity and Culture Shift Labs.

Teri Barila is a co-founder and current CEO of the Community Resilience Initiative.  She holds a MS in Fisheries Management and a BS in Biology. She uses her science background to communicate with precision the science of ACEs and resilience.  She is involved extensively in training, consulting, writing and researching in the area of trauma, resilience and community capacity building. Her work has attracted attention in a variety of venues, in part due to the focus Teri places on grassroots organizational development and the focus on the hope of Resilience.

Rick Griffin is currently the Executive Director and a founding member of Jubilee Leadership Academy, a trauma-informed boarding school committed to working with struggling teens. Rick holds a Masters degree in Education and uses his education to develop cutting-edge content and to deliver engaging presentations. He speaks to thousands of groups all over the country and is widely recognized for his work with trauma-informed practices.  His experience allows him to consult seamlessly with schools, businesses, and community organizations.

Brooke Bouchey has a rich history in the social service-field having worked in adult and juvenile correctional facilities. She was best known for her role as the Intervention Specialist at Lincoln High School, where she helped transform the lives of students through dynamic trauma-informed strategies.  Brooke has been instrumental in training and consulting with schools around the country to implement these powerful strategies. Along with her training and consulting skills, Brooke is also a gifted parent educator. Her involvement in ACEs research has created a new understanding of parental resilience, and how to transfer that gift broadly.

Gina Yonts – As a long time Walla Walla educator, Gina has been implementing  ACEs research and Trauma-Informed practices for the past 10 years. Her educational career includes 11 years as a classroom teacher, 11 years in middle school administration and she is currently completing her 5th year as Principal at the elementary level. Gina has worked to develop teams of teachers and school personnel to learn about ACEs research, led professional development for school staff to identify personal triggers and strategies to stay calm amidst chaos, and is currently leading the implementation of Conscious Discipline at Green Park Elementary. Through community partnerships, bringing parenting support to families and systematic approach at the building level, Mrs. Yonts and her team are able to build resiliency in the students entrusted to them.

Danielle Garbe joined Sherwood Trust as CEO in 2015.  Founded by Donald and Virginia Sherwood, Sherwood Trust is a private foundation that has served the Walla Walla Valley since 1991.  Danielle previously served as a Foreign Service Officer from 2001 to 2015 with diplomatic assignments in Indonesia, Lebanon, and Washington, DC, with rotations to jobs in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Energy, and National Security Council at the White House.  She attended Whitman College on a scholarship from the Sherwood family, and after graduation went on to earn her Master in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Jane Ellen Stevens is founder and publisher of ACEs Connection, a community of practice social network that helps communities integrate practices and policies based on the science of adverse childhood experiences. ACEs Connection is supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, the Sarlo Foundation, the Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund, and Genentech. Stevens has been a health, science and technology journalist for more than 30 years. Her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and National Geographic.  Read The Impact of Data on Community Growth: ACEs Connection’s Framework and Tools…

Laura Porter has more than a decade of experience leading successful implementation of ACE Study concepts in Washington State in partnership with over 30 communities and nine Tribes.  In addition to her work in Washington, Laura works with leaders in over 20 states, providing education, facilitation, and empowerment strategies for building self-healing communities.  Laura provides support and services to a wide range of groups… from parents and youth who are convening neighborhood conversations, to philanthropic leaders and government officials who are using ACE science in investment and policy decisions.  She and Dr. Robert Anda founded ACE Interface to help leaders to use ACE concepts to build Self-Healing Communities.  Laura loves to travel, garden, learn, and play with her children and grandchildren.

Linda Shaw is the Western Region manager for the Solutions Journalist Network, working with newsrooms in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska.  She previously served as editor of Education Lab, a solutions-focused project at The Seattle Times that provides in-depth reporting on promising practices in public schools.  She has worked as a reporter as well as an editor, mostly at The Seattle Times and mostly covering education.  In 2008, she was named beat reporter of the year for large newspapers by the Education Writers Association.  In 2016, she was part of a Seattle Times team that created the award-winning multimedia project on race called “Under Our Skin.”

Claudia Rowe has covered social issues and public education for nearly 30 years, most recently as a staff reporter on The Seattle Times Education Lab project. Her solutions-oriented coverage of school discipline contributed to changing state law on student suspensions and expulsions. Claudia also has written for The New York Times, Mother Jones and numerous other publications.

Twigy Tellez is the Director of New Horizon Early Learning Center in the Vista Hermosa Community in Southeast Washington. Having been trained by C.R.I. Twigy leads Trauma Informed practices at New Horizon and offers periodic trainings to Broetje orchards management, one of the largest orchards apple in country. Twigy Formally served as the Director of Trauma Informed Care at Nueva Esperanza Leadership Academy for 2 Years prior to New Horizon ECEC.  Read Beyond Paper Tigers Presenter Showcase! Increasing Access to Trauma-Informed Care: Twigy Tellez’s Spanish Language Translation.

Jim Byrnes is the Executive Director of Friends of Children of Walla Walla. Friends matches caring, consistent adults to children in the community and in nearly all the public schools in Walla Walla and College Place, WA. The Friends program trains mentors in ACEs and resilience and has seen significant results in children in the program.


Tony McGuire is the Building Maintenance Technology Instructor for Walla Walla Community College and teaches Basic Carpentry Skills at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.  With more than 22 years of experience in the construction trades, he literally built his career with his own two hands.  Tony is as talented with his words as he is with his hands.  As an accomplished presenter with scores of practical experience with ACEs and Resilience, Tony educates and entertains his audiences. His most transforming trauma-informed work takes place on a daily basis with his students from Washington State Penitentiary, where he uses CRI  resilience materials to teach life skill resilience strategies for employability when inmates return to civilian life. Tony speaks to the benefit his focus on resilience as a life skill, tied to work force and employment, is making with the men he teaches daily. Learn more about Tony’s approach to teaching resilience strategies here…

Troy Fitzgerald is the youth pastor at University Church in College Place, WA. He is a board member of the Friends organization and conducts non-denominational leadership and mentoring training to high school students in peer-to-peer mentoring programs.


Jodi Grove – After being a traditional Kindergarten teacher for six years, Jodi Grove was given Heather Forbes’ book,Help for Billy, by her father, Jim Sporleder. Reading this book was a life-changing experience for her, and ever since then, Jodi has led a movement for advocating and helping students impacted by trauma. Currently, Jodi is the Behavior Specialist for an elementary school in Walla Walla, Washington. She has created a “Calm Room” and several other strategies that have been profoundly effective in helping struggling students learn to self-regulate in a safe and loving environment.

J. Andrew Rodriguez – is the Director of Commitment to Community, a Blue Mountain Action Council program in Walla Walla, Washington.  Andrew is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the University of Texas at Austin. He is a former Director of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs. Originally from the Texas Gulf Coast, Andrew has lived in Washington State since 1990. He is the author of two books of poetry, and his work is included in anthologies of Pacific Northwest poets.

Catherine Wolpert – is a passionate early childhood professional with 25 years experience in curriculum development, classroom teaching across the ages from preschool to adults, administration, speaking, coaching and consulting. She holds a BS in Elementary Education, Masters in Early Childhood Administration/ Leadership and Management and a current doctoral student in Early Childhood Education. She is currently the Education Coordinator and Trauma Smart Coach  for WWPS Head Start ECEAP Preschool.She is an adjunct faculty for the Walla Walla Community College where she teaches online Early Childhood Administration.  She serves as a Board Member for the Kid’s Place on Whitman College Campus and a frequent contributor to the Union Bulletin Family Forum.  She resides in Walla Walla and loves spending time with her seven children.

Shasta Meyers – has worked in the service industry for more than 15 years.  She has an AAS in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing her B.S. in Business Management.  She absolutely fell in love with the teachings of trauma informed care and the ACE study findings as it helped put the pieces together in her own life.  Shasta is an Associate Trainer through the Community Resilience Initiative.  She facilitates trauma peer support groups, teaches trauma informed classes for Center for Sharing’s work training program, and routinely co-hosts trauma teaching classes with Brigette from Mindful Art which incorporates art into the learning. Read more about Shasta at our ACEs Connection blog…

Brigette Phillips – has a passion for individuals who are dealing with grief, childhood trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault, or other traumatic experiences.  She received her BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Eastern Washington University in 2008 and completed her Chemical Dependency program at Columbia Basin College in 2010.  She has worked with many individuals as a drug and alcohol counselor. Throughout her work, she has used art as a way to help clients improve self-esteem, learn new coping skills, and develop mindset changes. Brigette owns Mindful Art and brings many forms of healing to those in need through various art projects.  Read more about Brigette at our ACEs Connection blog…

Dave Martinez is currently an assistant principal at Sunnyside High School. He was member of the administrative team prior to and during the transformation at Sunnyside High School.  His current “gardens” at SHS include the Science Department, the Counseling Department, and Student Life, which includes student leadership and assemblies.  Before engaging in his administrative work, Dave taught Leadership, Language Arts, and Special Needs transitions at the high school level.  Prior to teaching, Dave worked as a juvenile probation officer and in a youth treatment facility.  Dave has presented to several organizations and has shared his stories about the work with several schools seeking to enhance their school culture.

Kelly Kreutz is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, certified yoga teacher, veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and founder of Withinsight Mind & Body.  She has been trained in Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy, Critical Incident Stress Management, and is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.  Withinsight Mind & Body was born from the passion for overcoming mental suffering and accessing internal resources.  Withinsight refers to looking inward for the innate wisdom and strength residing in us all.

Danielle Cannon began working in the behavioral health field in 1998.  She has vast experience in working with youth in the behavioral health, juvenile justice and child welfare systems as a therapist, mentor, trainer and administrator.   She is licensed as clinical social worker in Idaho and Washington as well as a recently graduating with her Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) certificate.  Her passion for body and breath awareness as a part of a successful clinical practice has won her many accolades by colleagues and administrators alike.  She lives in North Idaho with her husband and children and moonlights as a bulldog rescuer. 

Sarah Del Toro and Kelly Bolson work for the Kennewick School District in the capacity of Family and Community Engagement.  Sarah and Kelly both feel they have the best jobs because they get to help schools move from parent involvement to family engagement where authentic relationships are formed and nurtured.  Sarah and Kelly strongly believe academic success involves engaging the whole child, which is why the Kids at Hope framework resonated so loudly with them.  They are Kids at Hope trainers and love to share the message of believing in ALL kids, no exceptions whenever they can.

Hy’D (Heidi) Andrews, a philanthropist and a group motivator. Hy’D has her Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing for The Art Institute of Seattle and worked for Costco Wholesale in marketing and management for 24 years. She gained her Certificate of Achievement in the Principals and Techniques of Fundraising. She left her Costco career to fulfill her journey in philanthropy for causes she believes in. She has been volunteering to raise money for charities for over 15 years. Hy’D has raised money for local booster clubs, PTA’s, YWCA’s,  Distinguished Young Women Organization, hospitals and has been a board member and president of a non-profit women’s group. Hy’d is the Director of Development and Operations of the Northwest Children’s Home

Anastasia KibbyNorthwest Children’s Home Trauma Informed Mentor, has her bachelor’s degree in psychology from WSU and is currently working on her Masters in Social work from the University of Denver.  She has worked in residential care for 3 years.  She currently trains staff in the Mandt system, QPR, and Trauma Informed Care.

Valerie AllenNorthwest Children’s Home Trauma Informed Mentor,has worked in residential care for 12 years in various roles and is currently training and developing Trauma Informed Care principles in the staff at the Northwest Children’s Home. 


Michelle Higgins teaches social studies classes at Walla Walla High School. She’s an advisory board member for the Southern Poverty Law Center/Teaching Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama and a facilitator for the American Association of University Women’s “Start Smart” salary negotiation workshops for college students. During the 2017-2018 school year, she spearheaded a successful movement to de-track English, Social Studies and Science classes at Walla Walla High School.

Tim Meliah was born and raised in Walla Walla. He received his Bachelor Degree from Eastern Washington University and his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington. Tim has spent his career working with youth and their families in a variety of capacities. He has served as the Director of Catholic Charities Walla Walla since 2008.

Rose Welser, MSW has been working with children and families in Walla Walla since graduating with her Master of Social Work at Walla Walla University in 2014. Her work has included assisting families in need of emergency services, providing support and education for parents of children ages birth to three through home visiting services, and as a medical scribe in a pediatric healthcare setting. Currently, her role as an integrated behavioral health care coordinator has allowed her to better provide holistic support for families and children through both combining her experience in medical health care with mental health care, and her knowledge of community resources. 

Meagan Anderson-Pira holds a Master’s in Psychology from Western Washington University.  Since 2010 she has served as the Community Director for Children’s Home Society of Washington in Walla Walla.  With 20 years’ experience in early learning, Meagan believes in the power of collective impact.  She has worked on several partnership projects including The HUB on 3rd (a center for teens with childcare, health and mental health care, and an overnight shelter) Behavioral Health Integration at the Walla Walla Pediatric Clinic, and the First 1000 Days project with Washington State Frontiers of Innovation.

Lindsay Engh, MPH, CHES, is the Executive Director of The Health Center, a school-based health center, in Walla Walla, WA. Previous to joining The Health Center, Lindsay worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In this role, she was stationed in Walla Walla, Washington where her primary role included developing a School Safety Inspection program and facilitating the School Health Advisory Committee, which evaluated local school district policies and practices affecting student health through the use of the CDC School Health Index.