Abby Smith | Program Manager
After graduating from Seattle Pacific University, Abby returned to Bellingham to pursue her passion for trouble makers. When she's not wrangling children and volunteers, you can find her searching for cheap international flights, hidden waterfalls, and her car keys.
Mikaela Chandler | Childcare Specialist
Mikaela is an ex-Skookum intern who we love too much to let go. She has a passion for making kiddos feel loved, known, and safe. When she's not jumping at Trampoline Zone or pushing kids on swings at the park, you will find her eating anything and everything, and probably listening to Beyonce.
Ryan Burke | Program Manager
Ryan Burke came to us after 14 years as a social worker with the Department of Health and Social Services. He has a B.A. in psychology and social sciences from Western Washington University and a M.S.W. from Eastern Washington University. He is a devoted husband and proud father of two adopted girls. He and his wife have been foster parents since 2012. Ryan is passionate about making the foster care experience as easy as possible and pursues that passion as the program manager of Skookum Parents. When he is not meeting with foster parents and memorizing sections of the WAC, Ryan can be found happily goofing off with his children or playing cribbage with his wife.
Rebekah Bonner | Foster Care Specialist
Bekah was a seasoned intern for Skookum House before becoming our foster care specialist. In June 2017, she graduated from Western Washington University with a Human Services degree then married her high school sweetheart a week later. She has a passion to find safe homes for abused and neglected kids. When she is not working, you can find her playing with her foster-to-adopt kitty, eating chocolate or watching Netflix with her husband.
Evan Scholten | Visit Specialist
Evan is an ex-intern we convinced to stay after he graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in human services. He is passionate about giving children the best opportunities to grow up and achieve their dreams. When he is not transporting children and listening to Frozen on an endless loop, you can find him taking steps to enter medical school, daydreaming about traveling the world and trying to relive his college glory days by playing basketball with his friends.
Brooke Morris | Visit Specialist
Brooke is from the small but wonderful town of Port Angeles. She is a recent graduate of WWU with a B.S. in Psychology. During her time at Western, she fell in love with Bellingham and her husband, Jonathan. She has a strong passion to pour grace and love into kids from all backgrounds and support their foster care journey. You can find Brooke volunteering at church with the high school kids, schooling her husband at board games, hiking or camping. If it wasn't for her work, she’d totally live in a mountain cabin with her husband. We’re glad she’s here instead.
Ellie Takemura | Supporting Programs Coordinator
Ellie has called Bellingham, WA home for most of her life. She studied Sociology and Communications at Gonzaga University (go Zags!) and returned to Bellingham in 2016. Her experience working at a food bank and doing laundry at summer camp has instilled a passion for community service. She loves farmer’s markets, knitting, reading new books, and going for long walks through her neighborhood.
Ray Deck III | Founding Director
A serial intrapreneur, Ray Deck III has a decade of experience inciting change from within complex organizations. When he’s not wrestling with bureaucracy, you can find him running, surfing, or backpacking through the Cascades. But you should go look for him. He has a terrible sense of direction, and is probably lost.
Kyle Fugier | Business Manager
With a background in education and leadership development, Kyle was thrilled to join the team at Skookum Kids. He is driven by potential in people and systems, and loves seeing healthy teams thrive to accomplish an important mission. Outside of Skookum, you can find Kyle pretending to be cool on his motorcycle or unsuccessfully trying to tire out his 1 yr old German Shepherd.
Nichole Silva | Volunteer Coordinator
Nichole is a born and raised New Yorker who is passionate about people. She loves to guide others towards making a difference in this world. When she is not making connections and showing people how they can help these sweet kiddos, you can find her trying to discover her God more deeply, staring at the mountains, trying new recipes, and singing way too enthusiastically along with the radio in her car.
Laura Ann Poehner | Executive Assistant to the Founding Director
In June 2018, LA will graduate from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in web content development and is already planning for a masters degree in information systems. Ask her anything, she loves searching for answers, especially when it involves an Excel sheet. When LA’s not working, you’ll find her trail running, teaching computer science in a local high school, or reading books to her nieces and nephew.
David Coble | Accountant
David has an undergrad degree in accounting and masters degree in public administration. David lives in Bellingham with his wife, two boys and tuxedo cat-Gilbert. He enjoys playing rhythm guitar for his church and exercising his mind at Improv. David and his wife Amberjoy hope to raise Nigerian Goats this summer for children and adult therapy and of course, blackberry bush abatement for hire.
Shawna Avery | Perch & Play Store Manager
Shawna grew up in California and received Bachelor of Fine Arts from Butte College. She moved to Bellingham in the Fall of 2012. She started working at Perch & Play the following month. She loves making espresso and working in fast paced restaurants. She has two sons Devyn (10) and Felix (7), love playing video games and taking their dog Moxie to the park. Husband John stays at home to raise the kids. He entered foster care when he was 8, so foster care is very important to them. Shawna is passionate about creating a welcoming and fun environment for kids and their adults to bond and play. She believes this helps reuniting and healing families, and shines a light on what foster care done well can do.