The Olympian has chosen six South Sound residents to form our 2014 Board of Contributors. They will take turns writing feature columns for this page every Monday throughout the year.
• Emily Lardner has lived in Olympia since 1976. She moved here from Michigan to work and teach at The Evergreen State College. Her children went through the Olympia school system, and two eventually graduated from TESC.
Besides teaching, Lardner works at a center on campus that organizes professional development for colleges around the nation, focused on improving student success, particularly first-generation students and those of color.
• Patrick Thier has lived in Olympia since 1999. He describes himself as a “40-something, self-employed, conservative outdoorsman” who is progressive on social issues.
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Thier, a real estate broker at Virgil Adams Real Estate, grew up on a Midwestern dairy farm and spent two years in a high school seminary contemplating priesthood. He’s an avid outdoorsman who has worked as a cowboy and played in a rock band.
• John Rosenberg is the pastor and head of staff at The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd in Olympia. He says it’s a vibrant, progressive congregation of approximately 800 baptized members.
He has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in theological and biblical training, and another master’s degree in history, focusing on the Northwest. He serves on a salmon enhancement board and has led historic tours for the city of Olympia’s Sound Stewards program.
• Cathy Smith recently retired after 30 years of public school teaching. After a decade in primary grades in Mason County, she spent the last 20 years at Rochester Middle School. She has taught a range of students from special education to honors classes, but has always found the greatest reward from helping those who struggled the most.
Her stepfather was a former editor and publisher of the Mason County Journal, where she often helped out after school and over summers. She says writing for The Olympian offers a second chance to experience journalism.
• Emma Margraf is the director of community engagement at the nonprofit SideWalk Advocacy and Support. She describes herself as “a writer … a foster parent, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, a home chef and a lover of community engagement.”
Besides building a foundation of financial support for SideWalk, Margraf has raised funds for the state’s CASA program, conservation organizations and several political campaigns. She worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential nomination campaign in 2008 in the Northwest and in Texas.
• Finally, Curt Andino, the executive director of South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, returns to the board this year on a part-time basis. He will write six columns, while the other contributors will write nine.