Class Notes Winter 2013

Are You In Here?

Tell us what’s new with you. Did you get a promotion, start a new career, get married, have a baby or retire? Share your good news.It’s simple. Visit EWU’s Alumni Association website or call 888.EWU Alum or 509.359.4550.

EWU Alumni Named Washington State’s Regional Teachers of the Year

Congratulations for carrying on Eastern’s tradition of educational excellence!  

Monte Syrie ’09 MEd, ’95 BA  education
Cheney High School, Cheney School District

Syrie has taught English at Cheney High School for the past nine years. He was first inspired to become a teacher in 1985, when a very cool English teacher in black Levi’s® helped him realize he could stay in the place (school) that had become his refuge and offer the same sanctuary to future generations.

He believes passionately in teacher accountability and that when teachers fall short, it is not necessarily due to lack of ability, but because the system for holding them accountable has failed to guide teachers along the path of continued growth. He believes teachers can do this for each other, in concert with their administrators. Indeed, his own colleagues testify that he does this for them – offering constant inspiration and challenging them to step out of their own comfort zones for the sake of students.

Barbara Fry Quintasket ’92 MEd
Paschal Sherman Indian School, Omak School District

Quintasket, a 26-year veteran teacher, currently teaches sixth- to ninth-grade science. It was a criminology practicum in college that convinced her that she’d rather be a teacher and use education to keep kids out of jail.

Her curriculum is a unique blend of Native American language and culture and science menus. There are no traditional textbooks in her classroom. Instead, students are using the technologies and research materials of today. The result is a classroom full of confident scientists with the ability to collaborate or work independently to solve problems.

Quintasket is also committed to building cultural understanding and community between students of varied backgrounds. For the past four years, she has been a leader in the Connections Through Science and Adventure program, which uses hands-on experience and field study to build camaraderie between students from Paschal Sherman and Omak High.

Brian Sites ’03 BA education
River’s Edge High School, Richland School District

Sites is a National Board Certified Teacher of math and social studies at River’s Edge High School, an alternative school in Richland. His focus is building relationships and resiliency at River’s Edge, which he believes creates lasting results for his students.

Many of his students have had little academic success, so building their confidence is a key component of his instruction. He reminds them to dream big and plan for college or a trade after high school. Not only do 70 percent of Sites’ students have a post-graduate plan, but he is often singled out by graduates as the reason for their success.

Sites recently spearheaded a $100,000 fundraising effort to provide a free daycare center for teen parents. He advocates for National Board Certification and alternative education. His elected officials know and respect Brian, and look to him as an expert resource.

Smith is Maryland’s Superintendent of the Year

The Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland announced in November 2012, that Calvert County Public Schools’ superintendent, Jack R. Smith, PhD, will represent Maryland as Public School Superintendent of the Year for 2013.

In 1985, Smith earned his MEd from Eastern, and in 1980, his BA in education.  His wife of almost 33 years, ’91 Gayle M. Smith, is also an Eastern graduate.  The couple met in Dressler Hall in 1978.

Smith is currently serving in his seventh year as leader of the 16,352 student public school system. Eight years previous to this current assignment he served as a principal, director and deputy superintendent in Calvert County after serving as a principal for six years in Tokyo, Japan.

Swoop Goes Cruising

Thanks to Ron Howe ’70, and nine of his friends, Swoop got to see the world last summer.  The group packed up the 6-foot Swoop cut-out and took him on a cruise on the Danube River.

Back: Warren Wilson ‘59, Dell Secrest ‘63, Swoop, Bill Dick ’67, ’62; Ron Howe ’70 and Paul Rayburn –Middle: Karen Wilson ‘69; Dwyllis Secrest and Nadine Rayburn- Front: Merry (Mills) Dick ’67, ’62 and Susan (Shackette/Kuhn) Howe ‘68

Recent announcements


’12 Demontrice Bigham, BA psychology, has been accepted into the Master of Divinity degree program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y.

’12 Jessica Fasoli, BA education, and ’11 Beau Bailey, BA recreation management, were married July 21, 2012, in Spokane Valley. Beau is a 2nd Lt. in the Army Reserves.

’12 Jeffrey J. Hershey, BS biology, married Erika Salgado on Aug. 12, 2012, in Sequim, Wash. He is attending medical school at the University of New England in Maine. The couple lives in South Portland, Maine.

’12 Chelsea Lawhead, BS exercise science, has joined the cross country/track and field coaching staff at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., where she’ll pursue her MBA. While at EWU, she helped set two school records as a sprinter and served as a track and field intern.

’12 Jeremy Marinos, BA economics, has been hired by Greater Spokane Incorporated as an economic development coordinator. He previously worked for the Institute for Public Policy at Eastern Washington University.

’11 Lauren Dotter, BA accounting, and Chaz Goble were married Aug. 18, 2012, in East Wenatchee, Wash. She is an accountant at a construction company in Spokane, where the couple resides.

’11 Levi Estes, MOT, and ’10, ’07 Meg Smith, DPT, BS biology, were married on Aug. 15, 2012, in Coeur d’Alene. She is a physical therapist and he’s an occupational therapist in Spokane.

’10 Keenan Bowen, BA communication studies, has been hired as an advertising specialist for Tribute Media, a Web development and marketing company in Boise, Idaho. He previously worked at Kelly/Brady Advertising in Spokane.

’10 Stefanie Hill, BS community health, and ’10 Nicolaus Hoerkorn, BS community health, were married Aug. 25, 2012, in Bellevue, Wash. They are both health coaches and live in Bellevue.

’10, ’04 Lance D. Kissler, MS communications, BA graphic communications, has been promoted to senior community development officer in Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU)’s marketing department. He started working there in 2010, as new media and marketing officer. Lance was named EWU’s 2012 Inspirational Young Alumnus.

’10 Lauren Nissen, BA communication studies, has been hired as the fund development specialist for Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. She previously worked as a marketing associate for the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.


’08 Kasey Knox, BS biology, and Matt Wilberding, were married Aug. 25, 2012, in West Richland, Wash. She is a tissue culture technical specialist at Signature Genomic Laboratory. They live in Spokane.

’07 Candice Nell, BA education, married ’06 Chris Cwik, BA communication studies, on Oct. 13, 2012, in East Wenatchee, Wash. Candice is a kindergarten teacher in the Cheney School District and he is a paramedic in Spokane.

’07, ’00 Stephen A. Taylor, MA public administration, BA finance, has been named city manager of Kelso, Wash. He previously served as the city administrator of Connell, Wash., and spent seven years on the Spokane Valley City Council.

’06 Raenell Rafferty, BS applied developmental psychology, graduated with a master’s degree in education, school counseling, from Loyola University Maryland, in Baltimore, Md., and has been hired as a high school counselor for the Montgomery County Public Schools.

’05  Shann Ray Ferch, MFA creative writing, is one of 12 authors nationwide who will receive an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for American Masculine, (2011; Graywolf Press) his collection of short stories.

’05 Katie (Moffit) Mauseth, BA education, and her husband Scott welcomed a baby girl Shannon Nichole, in February 2012. Katie completed her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University in Nebraska, in July 2012.

’02 Holly Doering, MFA, has been hired as a technical writer for Imprezzio Inc. She previously taught composition at Spokane Falls Community College and served as an editor for the Better Business Bureau.

’01 Tasha Hansen, BA finance, and Drew Rodman were married on Aug. 18, 2012, in Spokane. She is an employee of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. They live in Auburn, Wash.

’01 Max Held, BA music, has been hired as an associate by the law offices of Dunn and Black P.S., Spokane.

’00, ’96 Farran W. Bognar, MSW, BA social work, is enjoying retirement in Florida and the recent birth of his new granddaughter, Vivienne Alise. He has a new service dog named Tyrone. Farran says, “It’s hard deciding whether to swim with Tyrone or go to bed. This is the life. Work on.”


’99, ’82 Terrie Ashby-Scott, MSW, BA communication disorders, has been appointed to the Inland Northwest Community Foundation’s Grants Committee.

’99 Ginni Blackhart, BA psychology, recently received tenure and a promotion to associate professor of psychology at East Tennessee State University.

’99 Amy S. Meyers, BA recreation management, is an Air National Guard Airman 1st Class. She graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

’98 Geoff Stone, BS chemistry/biology, married Denise Haworth, June 24, 2012, in Las Vegas. He is a rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service of Kennewick.

’97 John Soennichsen, MFA creative writing, has received the John McClelland Award, presented by the Washington State Historical Society for his Columbia magazine article, “A Toe in the Water: J. Harlen Bretz’s First Field Exploration of Eastern Washington’s Channeled Scablands.” John lives in Cheney.

’95 Stacy Davis, BS physical therapy, has earned ASTYM certification. She is a physical therapist at Kootenai Health Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

’95, ’84 Sara Sexton-Johnson, MS communications, BA business management, has been hired as district director of workforce, continuing education and corporate training for Community Colleges of Spokane. She previously served as interim executive director of e-learning and off-campus programs at EWU.

’95 Melanie Tucker Thompson, BA applied psychology, has been appointed as acting assistant vice president for Student Services at Northern Illinois University.

’92 Christina K. Campbell, BS nursing, BA English, is working as a nurse at a pediatric clinic and at an outpatient surgery center in Beaverton, Ore. She says she enjoys the variety.

’91 Randy Casto, BA business, has been hired by Columbia Bank as senior vice president and team leader of the company’s Spokane Private Banking department. He has 23 years of banking experience.

’91 Laura Lesser, BA business administration, has been promoted to Spokane Teachers Credit Union’s Main Branch manager. She previously served as manager of STCU’s Indian Trail Branch.

’90 Tony Rugel, BA government, has been appointed Superior Court Commissioner for Spokane County Superior Court. For the past eight years he served as assistant attorney general for the Department of Social and Health Services.

’90 Jamie Skogstad, BA business, has been hired by Imprezzio Inc. in Spokane as a client solution director. She previously worked for Esterline as business development director.


’89 Greg Bever, BA general studies, has been appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to serve on Community Colleges of Spokane’s board of trustees for a second five-year term. He previously served as publisher of the Spokane Journal of Business for 15 years, retiring in January 2012.

’87 Robin G. Milne, BA professional accounting, has been hired as the director of finance for Jefferson City, Mo. She has more than 20 years of government consulting experience in financial administrative operations. She previously served as director of consulting for CGI Technologies of Fairfax, Va., where she worked as a sale executive and accounting manager since 1991.

’87 Jess Walter, BA journalism, has had his book, Beautiful Ruins, named book of the year by Esquire magazine. The book was also been named “best audio book narration of 2012” by and is one of The New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2012.”

’86 Mark A Purvine, BA sociology/social science, has been hired as the principal of Castle Rock High School in Castle Rock, Wash. Originally from Eugene, Ore., he began his teaching career in the Beaverton school district near Portland. He has taught in the Spokane area and most recently, at a Department of Defense middle school in Fort Campbell, Ky.

’85 Jim Campasino, BA personnel management, has been hired by Greenstone Homes as sales manager at Kendall Yards in Spokane. Previously he served as founder and president of Innovative Capital Partners Inc.

’85 Terry Neal, BA accounting, was awarded U.S. Bank’s Pinnacle Award for employee achievement. He serves as vice president of commercial real estate for the company in Spokane.

’83 Karen Burkhardt, BA accounting, has been hired as a manager at McDirmid, Mikkelsen and Secrest P.S. in Spokane. She previously served as a partner with Burkhardt, Dierdorff, Shriver and Walther PLLC.

’82 Patrick Garrity, BA finance, has been promoted to director of lending strategy by Spokane Teachers Credit Union. He has been with STCU for 19 years.

’80 Jeff Verble, BA industrial technology, has been hired by Spokane Teachers Credit Union as commercial lending manager. He has 29 years experience.


’77 John Goheen, BA radio/TV, a three-time winner of National Press Photographers Association Television News’ “photographer of the year” award, is an independent filmmaker and instructor at Loyola University in Chicago.  His documentary, V-Day 11.11.11., examines what it means to be a veteran in America.

’75 Jay P. Parikh, BA theatre, has joined Maryland Public Television as managing director of the station’s Content Enterprises unit, bringing more than 30 years experience in the entertainment industry, broadcasting and program development/distribution. Previously, he held a number of executive positions at KCTS-TV, the PBS station in Seattle.

’74 Karl Wilkinson, BA education, has joined Soleil Real Estate in Spokane. He previously worked as an agent for ReMax Real Estate.

’73 David G. Brown, BA biology, and wife Karen celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary recently at their home in Tracyton, Wash. Dave is now retired from Radiological Engineering.

’72 Bob Bodnar, BA physical education, served as the head coach of Pasco High School’s wrestling program for 18 seasons. Three Big Nine Conference “Coach of the Year” awards, four Big Nine Conference championships and 65 state placers later, the retired physical education, science and Spanish teacher was inducted into the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in October 2012.

’71, ’64 Keith Vradenburg, MEd and BAE physical education, taught and coached for more than 40 years before becoming mayor of Entiat, Wash., in 2008. He grew up in Entiat, a town of 1,200, located in Chelan County.


’69 Gary Hammond, BS geology, retired from Franklin County, after 35 years as a real estate appraiser in the assessor’s office.

’68 Daniel L. Lambert, BA social work and sociology, completed 40 years of work with WorkSource Spokane, the Washington State Employment Security Department in September. He is the supervisor of the Business, Veteran and AmeriCorp staff at WorkSource Spokane. He plans to retire in February 2013.

’65, ’57 Albert J. Semprimoznik, MA school administration, BA physical education, and wife Gayle, recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. Al retired as a school principal from Wilbur Elementary in 1982. He has enjoyed fishing trips to Alaska for 14 consecutive years. The couple has two sons Greg and Jeff, who carry on the family wheat and barley farm in Wilbur, Wash.



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