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About Us



FirstTeacher.org would not run without some wonderfully dedicated staff and Board Members...

Karen Tyson
Executive Director


Karen jumped in feet first with our “Say Hello to Santa” drive by. She’s thrilled to be a member of this enthusiastic, loving, powerful team helping parents be their child’s First Teacher. She brings a varied background, having lived in California, Massachusetts, Arizona and Kentucky. She traveled the US in an RV for two years before finding her home here in Sequim. She has a BS from Arizona State University and is committed to being of service to her community.

Karen and her husband adopted their son at the age of 4 (many years ago). She embraces our mission of helping parents be their child’s best First Teacher.

Karen welcomes getting to know you, please email her.

Jen Taulbee
Publishing & Communications Director


Jen has been working for First Teacher/PMF for 14 years. She currently enjoys the duties of being the monthly parenting newsletter creator, editor, and database and social media/website administrator. She believes strongly in the mission of First Teacher and sees the impact of sharing and creating a safe & knowledgeable community for all parents.

Jen holds a Bachelors Degree in Justice Studies and has completed several Post-Baccalaureate courses in Education. A Colorado native, she lives with her husband and two teenagers in Scottsdale, AZ.

Shaine Schramling, MA
Finance Director

Shaine brings more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit accounting, project management, and grant management. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Seattle University. She oversees the Foundation’s day-to-day bookkeeping, accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting for the Board of Directors, coordination with the Foundation’s CPA firm, and has coordinated several community-wide trainings and parenting classes in Clallam County. She is currently pursuing advanced coursework in Accounting Principles. Shaine also serves as the Funds & Grants Officer for Kitsap Community Foundation.

Shaine lives in Bainbridge Island, WA with her husband and two children.

Sandra Velasquez
Translator and Editor

Sandra is an indispensable member of our team. Not only does she translate one of our newsletters into Spanish for our Spanish edition, she also facilitates parenting classes in her community for First Teacher. In addition, Sandra works as a Family Support Advocate with the Quillayute Valley School District Early Learning Coalition. Sandra is an asset to the First Teacher team and her community.

Sandra lives with her family in Forks, WA.

Board of Directors

Cynthia Martin, Ph.D.
Founder and Co-Board President

Dr. Martin has spearheaded the development of the Parenting Matters Foundation. She has worked as a psychologist in the state of California and a registered counselor in the State of Washington. She is a mother of eight children, a past teacher of grades 7 through college, a counselor and administrator in public schools, and an author of a book on adoption. She received her MA at the University of San Diego and her Ph.D. in Human Behavior at United States International University. She received the Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award for her involvement in the First Teacher Program. She has authored several books, most recently, Beating the Adoption Odds. She understands the importance of preventing problems rather than waiting to solve problems. She is a regular columnist for the Sequim Gazette.

Cynthia lives in Sequim, WA.

Tessa Kirner
Co-Board President

As a former team member, Tessa worked on First Teacher newsletter development from 2004 – 2009. Tessa has a degree in CEC from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, her home country. She taught preschool as both a teacher and head teacher in a multi-cultural community. She is currently employed at Five Acre School in Sequim. Tessa believes in creating positive learning outcomes through strong relationships with both children and families to grow their children into capable, competent and confident learners.

“I value each child as culturally located beings who are global citizens and contributing members to society.”

After some time back in New Zealand, Tessa, her husband David, and their two children returned to Sequim, where she has served on the board since 2018.

Kenneth W. Anderson

Past Board President. Ken is a retired school superintendent. He has been also been employed as a teacher of children from elementary through high school and an elementary school principal. He most recently worked as associate superintendent at the Cape Flattery Correction Center Campus. His experience has been in the Washougal School District, North Mason School District and Sequim School District. His higher education was at Central Washington University and the University of Washington. His involvement with youth included helping to raise three children.

DeWayne Boyd

DeWayne has been actively involved in public education for over fifty years. His experience includes: teaching at all levels from elementary school to university post graduate, educational administration from elementary school principal to district superintendent, and internship supervisor for prospective teachers and for prospective school district superintendents. He has also served as an educational consultant. Currently, he is completing his second four-year term as an elected school board member. During his term of office, the Bremerton school district has developed and implemented an early childhood education program that is nationally recognized for its effectiveness and replicability.

May Smith

As a mother of two young children, May really loved and enjoyed participating in the First Teacher program! An enthusiastic volunteer, May lends a hand at numerous local events, including Breakfast with Santa, Sequim’s Back to School Fair and more. Besides being a very involved parent, she does accounting for Homer Smith Insurance.

May was born and raised in Thailand. During high school, May was an exchange student in a year-long program in the Czech Republic through the AFS Intercultural organization. She received a Bachelors of Business Administration degree in an international program from Assumption University of Thailand, a Catholic-based university. After school, May worked for Thai Airways for a short time, then moved to the United States in 2007.

May, a board member since February 2019, married her husband in 2012. They live with their son and daughter in Sequim, WA.

“Panornade Boonbongkarn is my Thai name, but since that is difficult for others to pronounce, I use my nickname – May – to make it easier!”

Judy Sadler

Board Member at large.

Cynthia Martin

“The early years in a child’s life are critically important. A newborn baby has about 2,000 days to get ready for kindergarten. That means that every day counts. Parenting Matters Foundation is here to help parents do an excellent job of raising their children. We want to encourage them be involved parents because their job is such an important one. Children who enter school ready to learn have a huge head start over children who aren’t ready. Ready for school means the child is excited about learning, can manage her emotions and behavior, can work with other children, can stay focused on what she is doing, and is familiar with books, letters, sounds, shapes, colors and numbers. All of these are areas that parents provide help, encouragement and opportunities for the child to become ready for school. Reading a book each day with your child helps your child be ready for school. If you read a book or two each day, by the time he enters kindergarten, he will have read over 3000 books. Just think of the advantage that child has over a child who has not had anyone read a book with him. A survey of kindergarten teachers reported that only 44% of children start school with the skills they need. This daily activity will help your child be ready. We know that the human brain develops faster in the first years of life than at any other time. In fact, 85% of brain development happens in the first three years of life. At the same time, only 5% of public investment in children occurs during these first years of life. There is a lot that needs to be done.”