Class Notes – Updates on Heritage University Alumni

1985

Lisa Still (B.A., Business Management) is a volunteer with RESULTS, an organization that advocates for domestic and global poverty issues through face-to-face lobbying with members of Congress as well as through letter-writing campaigns to Congress and the news media. She was part of a recent campaign that successfully lobbied against cuts to food stamps and is now working on housing issues.

1988

Judy Lefors (M.A.Ed., Professional Development) opened Oakridge Montessori School, Inc. in Yakima, Washington after earning her master’s degree from Heritage. The school serves children from 18 months through ninth grade and has been in operation for more than 25 years.

1993

Ken Harper (B.A.Ed., Secondary Education) is an adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University and teaches high school and college credit courses in English at Liberty Christian School in Richland, Washington.

1995

Georgia Ramos-Brown (B.S.W., Social Work) retired after working in social work in the Yakima Valley for close to 18 years. Ramos-Brown earned a master’s degree in social work from Walla Walla University after graduating from Heritage. She worked at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic as an outpatient clinician serving high-risk youth and their families. In addition, she conducted crisis work for Yakima County through the Farm Workers Clinic, where she assessed children and teens who were at risk for suicidal and/or homicidal actions for possible hospitalization for mental health care.

2002

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Kenneth Mitchell (M.Ed., Educational Administration) received the 2019 Crystal Apple Award from the Yakima School District. He is the principal of Ridgeview Elementary School. The award is given annually to educators who use creative and quality instruction approaches, develop a positive learning environment, and advance education in the district.

2005

Leah Smartlowit (B.A.Ed., Elementary Education, M.Ed., Special Education) works as a special education coordinator for the Yakama Nation Tribal School and is a pastor of the Wilderness Full Gospel Church in Wapato, Washington. She is applying for doctoral studies through Abilene Christian University.

2006

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Debbie McLean (M.A.Ed., Professional Development in English as a Second Language) received the 2019 Crystal Apple Award from the Yakima School District. McLean teaches kindergarten at Roosevelt Elementary School. The award is given annually to educators who use creative and quality instruction approaches, develop a positive learning environment, and advance education in the district.

2007

Kristina Rawlins Brown (B.A.Ed., Elementary Education) is the principal of the Dayton School District joint middle and high school. She was hired for this position last July.

2008

Valerie Feth (B.A., English/ Language Arts) earned a master’s degree in instruction and curriculum from Western Governors University.

2009

Edith Diaz (B.A., Business Administration) is certified in disability management. She was recently hired by Advanced Vocational Solutions where she works as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

2015

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Sarah Cook (M.A. Medical Sciences) earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Pacific Northwest University of Medical Sciences and entered into her residency at Central Washington Family Medicine in Yakima, Washington.

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Denice Laws (M.A., Multicultural English Literature and Language) was named Department Chair at New Horizons High School in Pasco, Washington. New Horizons is a trauma-informed school where a growth mindset is taught. In addition, she is the school’s drama club and literary journal advisor.

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Artemio Madrigal (B.A., Business Administration) earned a Master of Organization Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Professional in Human Resources certificate. In 2017 he received both the Community Leader Award from Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Mason Role Model Award. Madrigal is involved in numerous organizations, including Yakima Craft Beverage Association, the Central Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Yakima Morelia Sister Cities Association. He recently moved to Seattle and is working as a training and on-boarding consultant for the University of Washington.

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Brooke Steadman (M.A. Medical Sciences) earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Pacific Northwest University of Medical Sciences and entered into her residency at Central Washington Family Medicine in Yakima, Washington.

2016

Jessica Sadler (M.A.Ed., Elementary Education) was named the 2019 Washington State Outstanding Young Educator by the Washington ASCD, formerly known as the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Sadler teaches at Leona Libby Middle School in West Richland, Washington. She organized the school’s first science, technology, engineering, arts and math night and is the advisor for the school’s science club and Science Bowl team.

2017

Laura Rebecca Cole (M.I.T., Elementary Education) passed away unexpectedly on October 31, 2018. Cole completed her master’s degree through Heritage’s Tri-Cities regional site. She taught special education at Whittier Elementary School and was an author of 10 fantasy books for young adults. Additionally, she was a craftswoman who enjoyed making soap, leatherworking and art and had a special love of animals and vulnerable people.

Cole is survived by her parents, Thomas and Ellen Cole of Essex Junction, Vermont; by her two sisters and their families (Michelle Connor/Aaron Goodell with their son Brendan Goodell of Essex, Vermont; and Kimberly and Peter Connors of Bothell, Washington); her grandfather Herbert Cole, as well as uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.

The family created a memorial scholarship fund in her name to support the Pasco School District Special Needs Program.

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Virginia Marie Valdovinos (B.S.W., Social Work) earned a Master in Social Work from the University of Southern California in May. She is a part- time faculty member at Yakima Valley College teaching adult basic education courses at their Toppenish and Grandview locations.

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