Board of Directors
Michael Fardella, Chairperson
Michael Fardella, MBA, has been Board President of Sister Schools for the past three years. Michael became involved with Sister Schools as a volunteer seven years ago, coordinating the warehouse functions of sorting, packing, loading and shipping a full container of schools supplies to Uganda each year. Michael has traveled to Uganda each year he has been with Sister Schools, helping to distribute the supplies, check on school improvement projects, students and staff at schools and orphanages that Sister Schools works with. He has learned through this experience that people from different backgrounds have the same goals—to create a better life for future generations.
Michael taught middle school in the Seattle area for ten years, working with students to find the value in their education and demonstrate how the world is interconnected. Prior to that, he spent twenty-three years in the business community. He held a variety of positions in operations and finance, while working for such companies as Pan American World Airways, Technology Development Corporation, Intel Corporation, Xerox Corporation, and Tandem Computers. He also owned a landscaping contracting business in Northern California.
Michael believes that all children should have the opportunity for a good education, regardless of where they live and their economic status. For those of us that have much to give, it is our obligation to help others less fortunate. It makes for a better life and world for us all.
Kasey Wyatt, Treasurer
Kasey is a Senior Project Manager with OAC Services, Inc. Kasey is passionate about education and children’s issues, which is what lead her to make the planning, design and construction of schools the primary focus of her career. She is an active member of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI). She brings her top-level construction management skills and experience to school building projects throughout Washington State.
Kasey started supporting Sister Schools through a workplace matching program put in place by a colleague who had traveled to Uganda with Sister Schools. When she discovered that Sister Schools built the 2000 square foot Mukono Resource Center for less than the cost of building a closet in a new school in Washington, she was hooked.
Seeing the schools that the state of Washington builds makes Kasey proud. She is humbled, though, knowing that students in the US and abroad bring great enthusiasm to their education even when they face dire conditions and are taught with antiquated materials. Seeing the difference that Sister Schools makes for children inspires and motivates Kasey to use her professional skills, contacts and experience on its behalf.
Tim Steelquist, Secretary
Tim is project manager by profession and has been working in wireless, medical billing and information technology companies for the majority of his career. Prior to those positions, he worked at KOMO Radio and Television in Seattle.
Tim is a long time friend of Sister Schools, beginning over 15 years ago helping to sort and load containers. Tim was the tour coordinator for home stays for the Suubi program, which brought Ugandan students to the Seattle area. That work involved coordinating over 60 volunteers, event planning, logistics, and event production. He has also produced audio and video for most of Sister Schools’ annual auctions and other fundraising efforts. Additionally, he assisted with the digital recording of the 2007 tour to produce, duplicate and package a fundraising CD.
Tim traveled to Uganda with Sister Schools in 2007 and 2008 for audio and video production, rehearsal and direction of the 2007 tour performance program, supply distribution and other contact work. Tim is a hearty proponent of strengthening Sister Schools’ online and social media presence.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1959, Mark was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to study at the University of Buenos Aires. He joined the US Foreign Service after receiving his MA in International Relations from Yale University. Mark retired in 1996 after a long and distinguished career, with major service in Portugal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Java, Bali, Sumatra, Paraguay, El Salvador, Burma, Peru, Turkey, and Washington DC, as well as numerous shorter assignments throughout Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Mark is a first-hand witness to history, from the transition of power from Sukarno to Suharto in Indonesia to civil war in El Salvador; from terrorists and drug-trafficking in South America to massive oil investments in Indonesia; from failed coups and undeclared wars in Southeast Asia to rocket attacks and car bombings in Latin America. His final diplomatic assignment was Consul General in Istanbul, and he continued to teach in that city as a Visiting Lecturer in International Relations at Koc University until 2000.
Mark traveled to Uganda with Sister Schools in April 2005 and has been a long-time supporter.
Jake is a 28-year-old self-proclaimed internet marketing geek from the Pacific Northwest who learned his first programming language at the age of 10. Already having nearly two decades of website design and optimization experience under his belt, Jake has had the opportunity to work with several hundred local businesses with their inbound marketing platform and strategies over the last five years.
In the past two years, Jake has been an internet marketing and search engine optimization consultant for notable brands, including Microsoft, Hallmark and Chevron. Jake is currently the Search Engine Optimization Manager at a Seattle start-up, Avvo, which provides free legal advice resource for consumers all over the country.
A “Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship” graduate of the Evergreen State College, Jake’s hobbies include alternative energy, green building designs and aquaponics. In his free time, Jake enjoys camping and hiking, as well as spending time with his son and family.
Scott is a freshman at the University of Washington, majoring in psychology. His sights are set on becoming a physical therapist. Scott is an avid soccer player and coach, an Eagle Scout and member of Relay for Life. In his junior year of high school, Scott’s passion for soccer and his growing awareness of the depth of poverty in other parts of the world lead him to start collecting soccer balls, intending to ship them to Uganda with the help of Sister Schools.
Scott collected and shipped 500 soccer balls that year. As Scott says, “I may not have been able to solve the children’s problems of lack of food and clean water, but I thought I was capable of at least ensuring they had a proper soccer ball with which to play.” Since then, he has shipped almost 350 more soccer balls, plus baseball gloves that were used by the Ugandan Little League World Series team.
Through UW events, Scott was able to meet with professional soccer players from the Sounders FC. He’s looking forward to following up with the Sounders to explore ways they might be able to support his efforts with Sister Schools.
Randy has taught 7th and 8th grade science in Seattle Public Schools for 10 years. He has worked and traveled in numerous developing countries and has seen all too often the great discrepancies that exist solely because of one’s country of birth. Randy is acutely aware that the average student in one of his classes lives in a world of endless opportunity and access to information, while remaining largely unaware of the everyday struggles facing so many children elsewhere on the planet. Randy has witnessed first-hand how Sister Schools addresses this disparity.
Randy has served on the Sister Schools board since 2001 and is proud to be part of an organization that touches children’s lives, provides them with hope and new perspectives, and is a positive tool for change. Randy is especially interested in helping grow Sister Schools into other developing countries and reaching more schools in the US. He is currently working on creating an interactive, multimedia curriculum for Sister Schools, with the aim of further enriching students’ understanding of Uganda and Africa.
Kathryn currently teaches at Green Lake Elementary School. Kathryn previously coached competitive swimming for 18 years, taught pre-school, second through fifth grade, and Health and Fitness; and currently teaches a methods course in Antioch’s Graduate Teacher Certification program. Kathryn holds a BA in Visual Arts from the University of Washington and a Masters in Education from Antioch University.
When Kathryn’s class participated in a Sister Schools supply drive in 2011, she was captivated by how such an apparently simple project lead her students to such deep discussions. Her students examined their own consumption with a new perspective: If a Ugandan student can use one pencil for the entire year, then why is this the fourth pencil I’ve used today? After Kathryn’s mother passed away and left a voluminous supply of colorful quilting fabric, Kathryn turned the stash over to her students, who made and shipped 39 dresses for children in Uganda. Kathryn is now working on developing curriculum kits to encourage other teachers and volunteers to replicate the dress project.