Amy Voeller, President
Amy Voeller is an in Independent Contractor with Journal Graphics out of Portland, OR, coordinating printing, mailing, and distribution of printed materials for publishers of magazines and catalogs across eight states. Amy is also a Licensed Professional Counselor. She holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California at San Diego and a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Services from the University of Idaho. Amy is an active member of the PTA, PTA Alliance, and the Dalton Elementary School Leadership Team. Amy and her husband, Jeff, enjoy snow skiing, water skiing, camping, and backpacking with their two sons. Amy’s involvement with CEP allows her to foster dialogue between educators, administrators, and community members toward the pursuit of challenging, personalized education.
Mark Rakes, Vice President
Mark Rakes was born in El Paso, Texas, and moved with his family to Coeur d’Alene in 1985, completing his 8th grade year at Canfield Middle School. He attended Coeur d’Alene High School, experiencing all three years during “split-shifting” (juniors and seniors in the morning, freshmen and sophomores in the afternoon), and graduated in 1990. Mark went on to North Idaho College and Eastern Washington University, earning Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. He went to work in software engineering, primarily in wired and wireless networking, in small startup companies in Spokane to the biggest companies in Bay Area. He now telecommutes from Coeur d’Alene to a job in California so he and his wife Lisa, also a CHS grad, former teacher, and now librarian in the Coeur d’Alene School District, can raise their two children near family in North Idaho. He is a member and former Secretary of the Sorensen Magnet PTO, and an active volunteer and supporter of the increased Arts and Humanities programs in the school.
Traci Hanks, Secretary
Traci grew up in Puyallup, Washington. She attended Gonzaga University where she earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in psychology and a minor in philosophy. As an undergraduate, Traci worked with at risk youth in Spokane schools and also helped develop a peer-to-peer coaching program for academically at risk college students. Formerly, Traci also worked as a Special Education Assistant at Lakes Magnet Middle School. Recently, Traci has completed her Masters of Science in Psychology with an Industrial/ Organizational emphasis. Traci is currently working as the Admissions Director at Northwest College Support, a therapeutic transition program for college students in the Coeur d'Alene area. Traci lives in Coeur d’Alene. She enjoys boating on Lake Coeur d’Alene, rooting for the Gonzaga basketball team, hiking, x-country skiing, and yoga. Traci values education, life-long learning, and the benefits of strong communities and schools. She strongly believes in helping to ensure that all students have a positive experience in their schooling.
Lexi Witherwax, Treasurer
Lexi Witherwax is a Coeur d' Alene native and graduate of Lake City High School. She attended the University of Washington, where she received a B. A. in Psychology, then returned to North Idaho and earned her MBA at Gonzaga University. After marrying her husband in 2003, Lexi worked for several years in banking before deciding to leave to spend more time with her family. She is the mother of four children, ranging in age from nearly one to twelve, has been an active classroom volunteer and served for three years as the treasurer of the Hayden Meadows PTA. In her free time, Lexi enjoys snowboarding, boating, camping, and all the beauty North Idaho has to offer.
Steve Casey, Outreach Chair
An Idaho educator from 1973 to 2006, Steve was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Idaho. He and his wife Linda have been married for 45 years and have two children, both of which graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School, and two grandchildren who are currently attending public schools in Coeur d’Alene.
Steve was a teacher and a coach before moving into school administration in 1981. He spent 12 years as an assistant principal at the middle school and high school levels.
During his administrative career he graduated from Leadership Coeur d’Alene in 1996, he was appointed to Governor Kempthorne’s “Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee in 1999 and was selected as the Idaho Outstanding Secondary School Principal of the Year in 2000. In 2001, he was appointed to the board of directors of the National Association of Secondary School Principals to represent administrators from the State of Idaho in the formulation of national educational policy. In 2004, he served as the president of the Idaho Association of School Administrators and was elected as the president of the Idaho Association of Secondary School Administrators in 2005.
Upon his retirement from public education in 2006, he was hired by North Idaho College to develop and market the state dual credit program as the Dual Credit Coordinator. A position he held until 2011.
Currently “retired” Steve serves as a board member of the Kootenai County Police and Fire Memorial Foundation, vice chair of the School District #271 Long Range Planning Committee and recently co-chaired the YES campaign that assisted in the passage of the 2017 Coeur d’Alene School District’s levy and bond.
Paula Marano, Board Development Chair
Though originally from Ohio, Paula Marano and her husband of 45 years, Gene, have lived in Coeur d’Alene since 1976. They raised three children and now having bragging rights on five granddaughters and a great grandson. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Idaho and taught third grade for 14 years in the Coeur d’Alene School District. She has advocated on behalf of children over the years, holding numerous leadership responsibilities on school committees and professional associations. Paula was also actively involved as a parent in her children’s educational experiences during their formative years, having administered, promoted, coordinated, and supported programs and activities that encouraged the academic, social, spiritual and physical development of youth.
As a community volunteer, Paula has been active in school, civic, social and church activities to bring awareness, movement, momentum and better understanding for the people in our community. She served on the Coeur d’Alene School District’s Long Range Planning Committee and presently sits on the Chamber of Commerce education committee as well as serves on the St. Pius X Church Parish Council. Gene and Paula have enjoyed numerous travel adventures during retirement. One travel highlight was when she served for two weeks teaching and nurturing children in an orphanage in Hue, Vietnam.
Bobby Myers, Marketing Chair
Bobby Myers is the Marketing & Communications Director for NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education), a non-profit organization that provides year-round professional development opportunities for K-12 educators, administrators, and support staff. Bobby leads the strategic planning for all initiatives tied to brand development and management of digital and social media. He is in charge of NCCE’s marketing content strategy, creative services, and cultivating partnerships for NCCE’s annual education-technology conference.
Bobby grew up in Wyoming but is a proud University of Idaho Alumni, graduating from the College of Business and Economics with degrees in Marketing and Human Resource Management and will complete his Executive MBA in May of 2017. Bobby is currently the Vice President of The Coeur Group, a collection of businessmen in the Coeur d'Alene area who contribute to their community by donating time and resources to various causes and charitable organizations throughout Kootenai County. Bobby is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Coeur d’Alene as well as an active volunteer at the Children’s Village. He hopes to contribute to the successful support CEP has provided to the Coeur d’Alene community and as a side passion, continue to find new ways to support at risk kids in Kootenai County.
Marie Nail, Events Chair
Marie Nail was born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, where she attended public schools and graduated from Lake City High School in 1997. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2002 from the University of Idaho, she worked in Marketing and Corporate sales in Seattle and Boise. While in Boise, she worked for two years as a reading tutor and substitute teacher for grades K-12. Knowing how incredible it was to grow up in such a beautiful, safe community, Marie and her husband Michael returned to Coeur d’Alene four years ago. Marie has two young children, one of whom will be attending Kindergarten in fall 2014. With young children entering the public education system Marie wants to ensure she does her part to make it excellent, and allow all students to succeed. Beyond her work with CEP, Marie is an active volunteer in her community and enjoys cooking, photography, the outdoors and spending time with her family.
Kirsten Pomerantz, Communications Chair
Kirsten Pomerantz is an English teacher at Lake City High School and is currently serving as the English department co-chair. She earned her BA in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, her secondary teaching credential at California State University at Chico, and her Masters of Education at the University of Idaho. She has lived in Coeur d'Alene since she followed her husband here in the winter of 2002. Their three boys are students in three community schools: Lake City High School, Lakes Middle School, and Charter Academy.
Kirsten has a passion for multifaceted student support, teaching a full range of students: from regular classes to at-risk and struggling freshmen to AP Literature seniors. She is in the third year of leading the school-wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Instruction and Support), helping to build the school's recognition of successful students as well as supports for students who are struggling behaviorally and academically. She works with students and staff on a variety of clubs and teams, including Anime Club, Junior class Student Council, and Renaissance Team. In the community, Kirsten has served on the City Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee and works with Gizmo to help organize their annual GizMotion Celebration. When she isn't working on lesson planning or community events, she can be found puttering around in her "yarden", shuttling her boys to music lessons, or reading.
Blair Williams, Programming Chair
Blair Williams was raised in Hayden, Idaho, graduating from Coeur d'Alene High School in 1985. Blair left Idaho to earn a degree in arts administration, and began working for groups like the California Confederation of the Arts, Sacramento Children's Museum, and the B Street Theatre. She later earned a bachelor's degree in both Communications and Public Relations from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. Blair then operated her own successful public relations firm for 7 years, before jumping into the world of real estate development. In 2011 Blair returned to Coeur d'Alene with her husband, in order to raise their daughter - because Blair knows CDA is the best place to grow up. Blair currently works for The Art Spirit Gallery. She is a member, and past parent liaison of the Sorensen PTO, and has held board positions with Bike CDA and The Inland Northwest Food Network. Blair continues to remain actively involved in the arts and humanities throughout the community. She loves her daughter, her husband, Coeur d'Alene, and working together to make the world a better place.
Amy Evans, 2016
Nancy Hart, 2017
Lisa May, 2017
Chris Meyer, 2016
Lisa Overby, 2016
Chris Pfeiffer, 2017
Nancy Stevenson, 2016