School boards are the link between public schools and the communities they serve. As publicly elected officials and members of their local communities, school directors are uniquely positioned to:
- Create a community-wide, shared vision and set goals for improving student achievement
- Create the conditions and direct the resources for accelerating improvement
- Hold the system accountable to high and equitable achievement for each and every student
- Communicate needs and progress of students to the community
- Build public will to improve outcomes for all students and succeed in reaching the district’s student achievement goals
The board is the authority for local school regulations, policy, and programs within the framework of state law. In addition to ensuring high levels of learning for all, they are responsible for overseeing the financial health of the district, ensure legal interests are protected, facilities are properly cared for, and necessary policies are adopted.
The board supervises the superintendent of schools who is responsible for leading and implementing the necessary steps in order to achieve board-adopted goals, Working together with the superintendent, the board seeks to develop Washington's Most Sought-After Graduates (District Vision), by ensuring all students receive high quality instruction in an aligned and coherent system while addressing their social and emotional needs in a safe and engaging environment (District Mission).
Kathy Mulkerin - (Position #1)
Kathy Mulkerin was elected to the WWPS Board of Directors in November 2021. Her current term ends in 2025.
Ms. Mulkerin grew up in Walla Walla. She attended Walla Walla Public Schools, K-12, at Prospect Point Elementary School, Garrison Junior High and Graduated from Walla Walla High School. She went on to attend college at the University of Portland earning a BA in Psychology. She holds a Montessori Teaching certificate from the Montessori Institute Northwest and a Masters of Education, Primary Montessori from Loyola University Maryland. She recently completed a Master of Professional Studies, Paralegal Studies from The George Washington University.
A life-long volunteer, Ms. Mulkerin started her volunteer career as a teen at the YWCA of Walla Walla. In 2018, Ms. Mulkerin was recognized by the organization as one of Walla Walla’s Most Inspiring Women. Ms. Mulkerin is a co-founder of COCOA (Color Our Community On Awareness) which amplifies the voices and culture of our local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community. Ms. Mulkerin is looking forward to being a volunteer with Walla Walla Child Advocates.
email@example.com / (509) 527-3000
Terri Trick - Vice President (Position #2)
Terri Trick was appointed to the WWPS Board of Directors on May 29, 2018 and was elected in 2019 to complete the term and re-elected in 2021. Her current term ends in 2025.
Mrs. Trick moved to Walla Walla in 1983 with her husband Roger, a park ranger with the National Park Service. They have three grown children, all of whom graduated from Walla Walla High School. Mrs. Trick earned a BA from the University of Utah in English and Spanish and a Masters of Education from Washington State University in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education. Active in many Little Theatre of Walla Walla productions, she has also served on the LTWW board of directors. She is active in American Association of University Women and is on the board of directors of Friends of the Farm Labor Homes (Valle Lindo). She has been an educator in Walla Walla for over thirty years.
In her spare time, Mrs. Trick enjoys the great outdoors, travel, and playing the piano for contra dances with her friends in the Wednesday Night Band.
firstname.lastname@example.org / (509) 527-3000
Ruth Ladderud - President (Position #3)
Ruth Ladderud was appointed to the WWPS Board of Directors on October 2, 2012. She was elected in 2013 to complete the term and re-elected in 2015 and 2019. Her current term ends in 2027.
Mrs. Ladderud, an administrative assistant at Whitman College, has lived most of her life in Walla Walla. She attended Prospect Point Elementary School, Paine Elementary, Garrison Junior High, and graduated from Walla Walla High School, Whitman College (biology) and WSU (animal science). Her husband, John, is a veterinarian and they have three children who all graduated from Walla Walla High School.
Mrs. Ladderud has spent many hours volunteering in the schools and at the district level. She has been honored with the 2016 Whitman College Pete and Hedda Reid Service to Walla Walla Award. She has served on both the High School and Community Facilities Task Force and is active in 4-H and American Association of University Women.
email@example.com / (509) 527-3000
Alayna Brinton - (Position #4)
Alayna Marie Brinton was elected to the WWPS Board of Directors in November of 2023. Her current term ends in 2027.
She received her undergraduate degree from Washington State University and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Walla Walla University. Alayna is the owner and chief clinical officer of Anchor Point Counseling where she has spent the past 7 years serving the behavioral health needs of youth and families in the Walla Walla Valley. She has 18 years of experience working in the mental health sector and is able to bring those experiences to the table to benefit Walla Walla Public Schools.
Beyond the school board, she has actively engaged in community involvement and volunteer work such as serving on the board of the National Association of Social Workers for Washington State as a Regional Representative, Walla Walla Community Health Advisory Board Member (CHAB), Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board Member for the City of Walla Walla, Walla Walla County Crisis Intercept mapping and planning committee member, Walla Walla County Opioid RFA planning committee, and serves on the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) as a Committee Member. Alayna also was a founder, executive director, and chairperson for a local non-profit focused on serving the behavioral health needs of the underserved at Blue Mountain Health Cooperative. She also is an active member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and as a local member of The American Association of University Women where she participates in multiple philanthropic events a year. Alayna has a passion for public service, which combines a robust educational background with a deep commitment to servant leadership that reflects a sustained dedication to shaping the future of the district.
Alayna's leadership style encapsulates a commitment to education, community welfare, and synergistic leadership.
Outside of her professional and volunteer work, Alayna finds solace in spending time with her husband and two small children engaging in outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing, beekeeping, and managing the "mini-farm" at her home.
firstname.lastname@example.org / (509) 527-3000
Derek Sarley - (Position #5)
Derek Sarley was elected to the WWPS Board of Directors in November 2015 and re-elected in 2019. His current term ends in 2027.
Mr. Sarley is a communications consultant, who for 20 years has worked with clients in many industries including education. He and his wife Erin, a professor in Psychology at Whitman College, have two school-aged daughters. Mr. Sarley is a native Pennsylvanian who has also lived in Arizona, California, Washington, DC and Texas, where he graduated from Rice University. Since settling in Walla Walla, he has been active with the Walla Walla Public Schools Community Facilities Task Force and the independent group Citizens for Schools, working to find solutions to the district’s building needs.
email@example.com / (509) 527-3000
Hailey Thrall - Student Representative to the School Board
Hailey Thrall was appointed Student Representative to the School Board in July 2023.
She is a current senior at Walla Walla High School and participated in Running Start. She has been a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council for two years and has participated on numerous district committees. Upon graduation, Hailey plans to attend college and is interested in studying psychology.
Eva Maxwell - Student Representative to the School Board
Eva Maxwell was appointed Student Representative to the School Board in November 2023.
Eva is a sophomore at Walla Walla High School, and has attended Walla Walla Public Schools since starting 6th grade at Garrison Middle School. Eva has learned about the value of partnership in creating impactful change by working with administrators and student leaders, and is a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. She enjoys participating in a variety of activities such as volleyball, book club, students for climate action, green club, and the district’s Equity and Access Committee.
Our hope is that you will leave our meetings with a better understanding of your public schools and the school board you have elected to oversee them.
Our Meetings are Open
Our meetings are open to the public and nearly all our discussion will be held in the open. The exception would be if it is necessary to discuss personnel, litigation, bargaining agreements, complaints against an officer or staff member, or real estate transactions where disclosure would be damaging. In those cases, we may occasionally go into a closed or “executive” session.
We Have Something in Common
School board members are elected officials, who serve four-year terms of office. In addition to making a number of decisions at school board meetings, we try to keep lines of communications open with our community and represent the needs of the district before state and national representatives.
We serve on the school board because we care about providing quality education in our community.
We welcome your comments and questions during the time set aside in regular business meetings for citizens’ comments. Attendees sign up to provide public comment using the sign-in form in the boardroom prior to the start of the Citizens’ Comments period of the meeting.
During the Citizens' Comment time in the meeting we welcome citizens to come forward and offer public comment, ask questions, or provide recommendations for educational improvement. Per Board policy we typically refrain from providing responses following public comments, and will ensure follow up is made if requested and necessary.
Citizens' Comments must adhere to the following guidelines:
- State your name.
- Keep your comments brief and to the point, with a three-minute time limit.
- Do not reflect adversely on the political or economic view, ethnic background, character, or motives of any individual.
- If you have a specific complaint about an individual employee, it must be addressed through the Superintendent’s office and not in this setting.
If you prefer, please write any comments and questions with your phone number and submit to the superintendent, who will respond.