Leadership & Staff

Leadership & Staff2018-10-08T15:53:03+00:00

Amara is proud to be led and supported by a stellar cast – our Board of Directors, Advisory Councils for King and Pierce counties, and staff.

Board of Directors


Robin Rothe, President
Trustee, Thomas C. Wright Foundation

Hillary Carey, Vice President
Chief Business Officer, Rwanda Girls Initiative

Nora Duffy, Secretary
Owner, Optimum Business Consulting

Holly Johnson, Treasurer
Community Volunteer

Paul Abodeely
Community Volunteer

Dan Absher
President, Absher Construction

Libuse Binder
Executive Director, Stand for Children Washington

Ben Danielson, MD
Medical Director, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic

Anne Bryson Doyle
Foster-Adoptive Mother and Mentor

Dorothy Graham
President, The Graham Group Consulting Services

Paul Goebel
Chief Operating Officer, Coordinated Care

Lori Langston
Community Volunteer

Billie Riggs Otto
Chief Strategy and Risk Officer, Absher Construction

Staci Pendergress
Community Volunteer

Cathy Pew, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington

Ginny Trethewey
Community Volunteer

Jamal Whitehead
Attorney, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender


We were honored to have had Walt Zabriskie as our Board Treasurer and dear friend of Amara for over 10 years. His commitment to children and our community was incomparable and he will be forever missed. 

In the image to the left, Walt gazes at the beautiful bench on our Seattle campus dedicated in gratitude to his support. 


Pierce County Advisory Council


Dan Absher, Chair
President, Amara Board of Directors Liaison, Absher Construction

Frank Cuthbertson
Pierce County Superior Court Judge

Bruce Dammeier
Pierce County Executive

Susan Hettinger
Amara Board President Emerita

Michael Mirra
Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority

Scott Selden
CEO, Selden’s Furniture

Marilyn Strickland
Former Mayor of Tacoma

King County Advisory Council


Alan Frazier, Chair
Chairman and Founder, Frazier Healthcare Partners, and Managing Partner, East Seattle Partners

Dean Allen
CEO, McKinstry

Joel Benoliel
Senior Vice President, Administration & Chief Legal Officer, Costco Wholesale (ret.)

Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret.)
President and CEO, Center for Children & Youth Justice

Brad Brown
Senior Vice President, Digital Retail and Customer Support, REI (ret.)

Phyllis Campbell
Chairman, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Pacific NW Division

Jean Enersen
Anchor, KING 5 (ret.)

Steve Graham
Managing Partner, Seattle Office, Fenwick & West, LLP

Fred Jarrett
Senior Deputy King County Executive

Robert Moser
President and CEO, Laird Norton Wealth Management

Deanna Oppenheimer
CEO, CameoWorks

H. Stewart Parker
Principal, Parker BioConsulting

Representative Eric Pettigrew
Washington State House of Representatives

Paul L. Wyckoff
Tech Infrastructure Designer

African American Outreach Advisory Council


Nora Duffy
Amara Board Member

Carla Saulter
Community Advocate

LaShaun Bellamy
Marketing Consultant

Zynovia Hetherington, MSW, M.Ed
Director of the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program University of Washington, School of Social Work

NaKeesa Frazier-Jennings
Community Advocate

Ida McRae
Mental Health Counselor at Therapeutic Health Services/Program Facilitator at Somali Family Safety Taskforce

Amara Staff


Kara Andersen
Family Support Specialist

Liesl Arceneaux
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Carrie Bassett
Development Manager

Kristina Bates Greene
Foster Care Specialist

Danielle Blechert
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Caroline Brandau
Pierce County Engagement Specialist

Rebecca Brazell
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Martha Buchta-Spevack
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Diana Bui
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Erin Chambers
Pierce County Development Manager

Julianne Bukey Peterson
Associate Director, Program Impact and Evaluation

Deborah Collins
Foster Care Specialist

Lindsay Craven
Program Coordinator

Katie Davis
Development & Events Coordinator

Quenby Delgado
Foster Care Specialist

Denden Embaye
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Alyssa Farber
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Joel Feller
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Katie Ferguson
Project Manager

Christina Gaydos
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Mari Halpert
Foster Care Specialist

Kari Hanson
Family Outreach Coordinator

Sarah Hasbrook
Foster Care Specialist

Samantha Headley
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Branik Healow
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Patti Hedges
Development and Grants Administrator

Julie Hoffman
Best for Babies Coordinator

Anne Holloway
Foster Care Specialist

Cynthia Isabell
Foster Care Specialist

Marilee Jolin
Communications Specialist

Ryan Karnoski
Foster Care Specialist

Devon Kerr
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Tricia Lambie
Foster Care Specialist

Becca LeafMeeker
Foster Care Specialist

Tim LeBeau
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Michelle Lopez
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Claudia Marchen
Post-Adoption Program Coordinator

Aneta Mazur
Administrative Coordinator

Anna McKnight
Administrative Support Specialist

JoLee Melink
Lead Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Maria Mello
Family Time Coordinator

Kelly Merdinger
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Nate Pringle
Emergency Sanctuary Program Manager, King County

Emily Pringle
Foster Care Specialist

Trey Rabun
Family Outreach Specialist

Alex Ropes
Volunteer Manager

Emily Scofield
Operations Manager

Eunice Setiawan
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Laura Shell
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Ivvie Shellhorn
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Emily Sigler
Client Services Coordinator

Kiera Stevens
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Gretchen Stewart
Foster Care Specialist

Emily Stochel
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist

Elyse Thomas
Foster Care Specialist

Taylor Trujillo
Administrative Coordinator

Missy Trull
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Cristina Tzintzun
Family Time Visitation Specialist

Jenny von Veh
Child Placement Coordinator

Tanzanika Walker
Foster Care Specialist

Jennifer Wheeler
Foster Care Specialist

Sarah Wheeler
Emergency Sanctuary Program Manger, Pierce County

Sarah Williamsen
Therapeutic Childcare Specialist, Relief

Kristen Wilson
Foster Care Specialist

Emily Wold
Emergency Sanctuary Program Coordinator, Pierce County

John Morse
Chief Executive Officer | 206.260.1701

Megan Walton
Chief Operating Officer | 206.260.1704

April Johnson
Chief Philanthropy  Officer | 206.438.3938

Jen Kamel
Chief Clinical Officer | 206.289.0047

Lauren Firchau
Director of Finance and Administration | 206.395.4931

Ross Hiranaga
Director of Children’s Services | 253.533.2980

Nicole Mazen
Director of Foster Care Services | 206.260.1720

Amie Newman
Director of Communications and Outreach | 206.260.1718

Maureen Sorenson
Pierce County Director | 253.235.4875

Angela Tucker
Director of Post-Adoption Services | 206.260.1741