Meet the Board
Laura Jaecks - Board Position #01
Laura Jaecks is currently the Confluence Technology Center and Capital Projects Manager for the Port of Chelan County. Laura previously served as Executive Director of Camp Fire USA – North Central Washington Council from 1996 to 2003 and was responsible for council operations in the counties of Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan and half of Adams. Laura’s previous career experiences include co-owner and general business manager of The Training Station (currently Gold’s Gym), and general partner in Cascade Investments.
Laura holds a Project Management Certificate from University of Washington Extension, Masters of Education in Educational Technology, a BS in Accounting from Central Washington University, and an Associates of Arts Degree from Wenatchee Valley College. Laura has volunteered on many community and school district committees. She currently serves as a member of the City of Wenatchee Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and a Board Advisor to the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance (GWATA).
Laura has spent a great deal of her time developing her knowledge of children’s issues through attending workshops and trainings and has written many successful grants, which benefit the community. In November 2009 she completed an eight month long Leadership WSSDA course designed to challenge school directors to grow as visionary, influential leaders, who demonstrate effective governance that improves student learning. The course was facilitated by the Washington State School Director Association.
Walter S. Newman, MD - Board Position #02
Walter S. Newman graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and attended medical school at Tulane. After his internship he went to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. for his pediatric residency and then he served two years of active duty in the Navy. He and his family then moved to Wenatchee where he practiced pediatrics for 34 years, first at the WVC, and then at Columbia Pediatrics. He and his wife, Caitilin, have been married for 39 years. Their two children attended public schools here, in Wenatchee School District, during which time he and his family were very involved in the schools.
After retirement he has rekindled involvement in the district, first by volunteering in the schools and then by serving on the Board of Directors. Among other civic activities he was a long time member of the Wenatchee park board, and is currently board chairman at Chelan Douglas Family Planning.
The strong public school system was an attraction when he came to Wenatchee, and preserving this strength is a goal of his on the board. Dr. Walter S. Newman was elected to the Wenatchee School Board of Directors in November of 2007.
Sunny Hemphill - Board Position #03
Sunny Hemphill is a retired journalist and freelance book editor. During her career, Sunny worked as a newspaper reporter in Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona. She wrote about school districts, boards, and education issues during her career. Before moving to Wenatchee, Sunny directed Communications for the Arizona School Boards Association. After moving to Wenatchee, Sunny freelanced, writing on contract for a variety of agriculture associations, commission, and publication. Since retiring, she writes fiction and creates textile art.
Sunny has been an active volunteer in the communities where she has lived, including in public schools. Once her children reached school age, Sunny volunteered in their classrooms and helped the school nurse at their elementary school. She has seen the profound effects of poverty on children and believes public education must address the achievement gap between children in poverty and their more affluent peers.
Sunny studied Journalism at Baylor University from 1975 to 1979. She has an English Literature degree from Arizona State University. She is married and has two grown children, both of whom graduated from Wenatchee High School.
Michele Sandberg, MD - President, Board Position #04
Michele Sandberg, M.D., grew up in the Midwest. After completing her B.S. degree at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), she attended the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Upon completion of her medical degree, she received her postgraduate training as an active duty member of the U.S. Army, serving nine years total. During that time, she completed a General Psychiatry Residency and a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. She was then stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) for the remainder of her military service, functioning as a staff psychiatrist in patient care and supervision of psychiatry residents and fellows. She was also involved in the military's Family Advocacy Program and the WRAMC Institutional Review Board (Human Use Committee) for review and approval of medical research at the facility.
Moving to the Wenatchee Valley in 2008, Michele, her spouse and their four daughters enjoy all that the community has to offer in terms of recreation, culture and arts. Their daughters are all students in the Wenatchee School District. Michele has enjoyed being an active volunteer in the district, meeting other parents, students, educators, administrators and other district employees. She seeks to maximize every student's educational potential and will strive to continue to build a stronger collaborative relationship with the district and the community members. Michele welcomes your feedback on the district and its policies.
Sarah Knox - Vice President, Board Position #05
Sarah Knox has worked in schools in various capacities over her career. She was a teacher, a teacher trainer, and then an instructional coach. She brings to the board a passion for excellent education as well as the knowledge of all that entails. She currently is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Librarian for North Central Regional Library which covers 5 counties and serves 30 cities and towns including Wenatchee. Sarah was born and raised in Wenatchee and graduated from Wenatchee High School in 2007. She is a proud Gonzaga graduate and will talk Zag basketball with anyone who will listen. She joined Teach For America and was placed in Phoenix, Arizona where she taught 2nd grade and attended evening classes to earn her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.
Sarah’s goals during her term on the board include increasing the transparency of the decision making process, establishing accountability at all levels, involving parents and the community more in all decisions that affect students, and promoting the expectation that all students will receive an excellent education. She is passionate about creating a positive culture at all levels to combat bullying. She also wants to support our educators by involving them at every opportunity and providing them with the resources that they are asking for. Please feel free to email her with your concerns, ideas, and thoughts about our schools. She would love to hear from you.