Eighth-graders at Stella Schola Middle School received a rare visit with renowned fantasy-fiction author Terry Brooks on January 22.
Siri Bliesner was elected to the school board in November 2011. Bliesner works in public health. She graduated from Stanford with a degree in human biology. Bliesner received a Master’s in public health from the University of Washington. She speaks Spanish and currently works for Hopelink as the outcome and evaluation coordinator.
Originally from the Seattle area, Bliesner and her husband of 18 years, David Cline, have two children. Samara attends Redmond High School and Josiah attends Redmond Junior High. For the past 10 years, Bliesner has volunteered in her children’s schools. Bliesner helped implement after-school activities including chess club, math club, Lego league robotics and school musical productions at Rockwell Elementary. She received a Golden Acorn Award from the Rockwell PTA for her work. Bliesner is also a founding board member of the Lake Washington Schools Foundation. She developed their classroom grant program.
Mark Stuart was elected to the school board in November 2013. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Journalism. His career in Public Relations has afforded him the opportunity to work with local, national, and international media, as well as elected and non-elected government officials and their staffs on issues vital to the well being of our nation. He has facilitated collaboration between business, professional organizations, and community groups for the common good. Stuart, a life loyal Sigma Chi, currently works as an issue management and media relations consultant.
As the father of two sons who have attended four different LWSD schools, Mr. Stuart has taken the time to volunteer within those schools. He enjoys getting to know district personnel and seeing them in action. Mark and his wife are respected as strong advocates for inclusion, multi-modal strategies, and providing students with the tools necessary to benefit from their instruction. The Stuart family appreciates the benefits of diversity in education as veterans of both public and private preschools and charter schools serving students of all abilities.
Christopher Carlson, Ph.D., was elected to the school board in November 2007. He is a faculty member in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Division of Public Health Sciences. His lab focuses on identifying correlations between genetic variation and disease risk for cancer, diabetes, and other common diseases, then identifying the biological mechanism responsible. Carlson is also an affiliate assistant professor with the University of Washington School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology. He holds a B.A. in molecular biology from Pomona College. His Ph.D. is in genetics from Stanford University.
Carlson has been an active member of the Lakeview Elementary School PTSA. He has been a participant in state PTA efforts for math and science education reform. He is also a member of the Washington State Board of Education K-12 Mathematics Standards Advisory Panel. He serves on the SBE K-12 Science Standards Advisory Panel. He coaches soccer in the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association and is an avid skier / snowboarder. He lives in Kirkland with his wife and three sons.
Eric Laliberte was elected to the school board in November 2015. He is an attorney practicing business and real estate litigation at Keller Rohrback L.L.P. in Seattle. Laliberte is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. He also earned a Bachelors in Economics and a Master of Business Administration from Chapman University. In addition to his work on the school board, he also serves as Chair of the Kirkland Planning Commission and as a member of Leadership Eastside. He and his wife married in 2014. They live in the Juanita neighborhood of Kirkland.
Cassandra Sage was elected to the board in 2017. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and a certificate in Montessori studies. For more than two decades, Ms. Sage has been a PTA leader in LWSD. She has served on the PTSA Executive Boards of Robert Frost Elementary, Kamiakin Middle School and Juanita High School. She also spent more than a decade as an art docent at Robert Frost Elementary and Rose Hill Elementary. Ms. Sage currently volunteers with the Kirkland Arts Center, helping to develop after school programs that incorporate social-emotional learning. Additionally, she is a Family Centered Care Specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and has served on their Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit Advisory Board, their Pain Medicine Board and their Serious Event Review Team. Her work at Children’s involves strengthening the partnership between medical providers, patients and families in order to achieve best possible outcomes for kids.
Ms. Sage has two children who are LWSD graduates (2008 and 2015), as well as two children who are still in school. She has extensive experience working with children who have developmental delays as well as with highly capable students. She and her husband live in Kirkland and are deeply invested in their community.