How long have you lived on Mercer Island?
And in the Seattle area?
27 years, minus two stints in Asia with my husband and my older two children -- 1.5 years in Tokyo and 4.5 years in Shanghai.
Where are you from originally?
The northeast – mostly. New York City and rural central Massachusetts.
What’s your professional background? Because I had been a college journalist, I started out as a reporter covering local government, environmental, and health news. Later I went back to school and became a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in feeding therapy, working at Seattle Children’s Hospital both before and after our time in China. In China I co-founded a pediatric therapy clinic, Olivia’s Place, which was eventually purchased by a major Chinese hospital chain. Occupational therapy is still my profession, though during the pandemic I decided to pursue an additional credential in mental health (a Master’s in Social Work, or MSW) so that I can address my feeding therapy clients’ anxiety, etc. around eating, and work with their whole family on the interpersonal dynamics around eating when needed.
What’s your educational background?
I have a BA in U.S. history and literature from Harvard University. When I went back to school I got a post-baccalaureate degree in zoology (BS) and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, both from the University of Washington. I will be finishing my Master’s in Social Work degree at Fordham University in June (diploma expected in August). I did this degree online, though my practicum was completed in-person through a local youth social services agency. For the last nine months, I have been the school social work intern at two Bellevue elementary schools as part of this practicum.
Community/volunteer experience: Whatever I do, I do it 100 percent. For a full accounting of my community volunteer work, please see my LinkedIn profile. A summary, in chronological order: Therapy dog handler (Pet Partners); founder of online parenting support group (NE Seattle Moms & Dads, received a City of Seattle Good Neighbor Award for this); troop leader, trainer, and council member (USA Girl Scouts Overseas in Shanghai); special needs foster parent (Baobei Foundation); coordinator of pro bono projects (Olivia’s Place); board member (Olivia’s Foundation); steering committee member (Sustainable M.I.); founder (Team Ewan); fundraising chair (Team Ewan Guild); therapy dog handler (Project Canine); therapy dog handler (HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response); board member (Refugee Artisan Initiative); team lead (HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response).
What experience do you have in our district as a parent?
As a parent, I have had children in four of the six Mercer Island Schools, in both the general education and high cap programs. I have been a class parent and a weekly library volunteer. I have sat on the parent side of the table in IEP/504 meetings for my children and cheered them on at their Destination Imagination, band, robotics, and theater events. (Our oldest children, who are twins, graduated from MIHS in 2022; their younger sister is in 4th grade.)
What skills do you bring to the board? I can draw a direct line from most of my work and volunteering experiences to what I do on the board. My greatest strengths are in listening, communicating, bringing people together, and thoughtful problem solving. See comments from my supporters for their perspective on my strengths.
Why should we re-elect you?
Three reasons: a) I've been doing a good job, b) I'm well suited to this role, and c) for the sake of stability for the district as Dr. Rundle moves into the second year of his administration. We will already be losing two out of five current board members this fall (because they are not running for re-election); it would be better to keep an experienced board member in the third seat.