Meet The Board

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Kathy Blair

Kathy Blair was the founder of Children FIRST and the director for many years.  She chose the name Children FIRST because children are children first and therapy should be about the whole child, not just the delay or disability.  Kathy was committed to full inclusion - providing therapy in the child’s home,  the child care classroom, and/or in the Children FIRST toddler preschool program alongside peers without delays or disabilities.  The toddler program provided a fun, language-rich environment that created tremendous opportunities for all children to grow in every area of development, including socially and emotionally.  These services continue today and have expanded considerably. 

 

Currently, Kathy is a long time Children FIRST board member, serving as the President for many years until recently.  Kathy is the Early Achievers Regional Coordinator for Eastern Washington working at Community-Minded Enterprises.  She continues working in her passion of supporting quality care for all children.  Early Achievers provides many free supports for licensed child care centers and family home providers which includes mentoring, coaching, college scholarships, and training.     

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Becky Nappi

Becky Nappi is Chief Mission Integration Officer for Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. In that role, she helps Providence employees live the Providence Mission and its Core Values.

She is on the Hospital Executive Team as a voice for the legacy of the Sisters of Providence who founded Sacred Heart Medical Center 130 years ago. She also speaks up for the “poor and vulnerable” Providence cares for as part of its Mission Statement and commitment to the greater Spokane community.

Becky is also on the hospital’s ethics committee, teaches in new employee orientation and does workshops for Providence’s Leadership Formation programs.

This is an encore career for Becky who spent 34 years as a daily newspaper journalist, the last 28 of those years at The Spokesman-Review where she held a variety of jobs, including as a features writer, editorial board member and creator of a Monday section titled “Boomer U.”

She holds two master’s degrees – one in journalism from the University of Missouri and the other in pastoral ministry from Gonzaga University. She’s the co-author, with Dan Kendall, SJ, of two Paulist Press books on marriage. She’s been married to Tony Wadden for 35 years and has two stepchildren, two grandchildren and 44 nieces and nephews.

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Nadine Burgess

Nadine has lived in Spokane since 2006 and now considers it her forever home. She loves the people, opportunity, outdoors and community of the Intermountain Northwest.

 

She enjoys fitness events, cooking, travel, field trips, “behind the scene” tours, silly costumes, critters large and small, and positively impacting the lives of children.

 

Nadine started coaching gymnastics at 14 years old, and it remained her passion as a “fun, side gig” prior to becoming a manager, then owner of Spokane Gymnastics in 2010.

 

Along with an incredible team of dedicated coaches, Nadine grew Spokane Gymnastics from a small program with 125 students and 8 part-time coaches in a 7,000 s.f. building to recently having 82 members of her crew serving 2200 students in a 30,000 s.f. facility, now known as "Spokane Gymnastics Argonne Village." While COVID caused a 4-month closure of her gymnastics club, Nadine remained determined to serve her staff, kiddos, families, community, and industry with the same creativity, enthusiasm, and collaboration that she built her program. Now reopening in careful and strategic phases, Nadine is thrilled to once again be able to provide team training, instructional classes, and camps.

 

Expansion during a global pandemic is not for everyone, but the process started before the emergence of COVID and fits in with Nadine's mantra of "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." She purchased another local gymnastics club, hired the founders and members of the coaching staff, and opened the 17,000 s.f. "Spokane Gymnastics Pines" team training facility on June 1, 2020.

 

A proud Rotarian, Nadine also serves as a board member of Embrace Washington, Children FIRST, and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

 

Nadine is most famous for her “Handstands around the World!”

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Diane Saggau

Diane Saggau is a long time Children FIRST board member, having served on the board since shortly after her son, Nick,  graduated from the program almost 20 years ago. The parent of a child with disabilities made her the perfect fit to represent parents, children and families as a board member.

 

Diane has been a strong supporter of Natural Environments for many years. She has spoken at several engagements throughout the state over the years advocating for Natural Environments and she and Nick have been highlighted on news segments speaking out for the benefits of early intervention in natural settings. Nick is one of Children FIRST’s great success stories. His prognosis at birth was grim with doctors indicating he would likely never walk, talk or attend regular school. Although walking has never been something that has come for Nick, he is a very eloquent speaker and he graduated from Central Valley High School with a 3.38 GPA and was fully integrated in regular ed classrooms throughout his schooling! She will tell anyone who asks that Children FIRST was the strong foundation that helped him achieve this great accomplishment.

 

Diane is now the Director of Finance for Children FIRST and has been an employee for almost 15 years. Children with special needs are her passion and ensuring they receive the highest quality services available is a top priority.

 

Diane is an avid crafter and pursues many types of artistic pastimes including paper crafting, painting, woodworking, sewing, crochet and cooking. She also plays the piano and sings and, throughout her primary and secondary education, acted in more than 10 plays. Her lifelong dream has been to be a professional performer. She also enjoys the great outdoors, camping, swimming and hiking.

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Jacob Stender

Jacob Stender is the parent of a child that graduated from Children FIRST Therapy's waddler and preschool programs. He is an alumnus of Western Washington University and Seattle University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Since 2017, Jacob has served as judicial officer for the State of Washington.

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Cindy Vaught

My name is Cindy Vaught, I am a bookkeeper for 3 local businesses.  I was the Operations Supervisor for a small credit union for over 32 years and left prior to them merging.  My mother was also a long term employee of a different credit union and gave me the bug of People Helping People.

I love spending time with my husband of 44 years, daughter, son and his family, including my 5 year old granddaughter and their dogs. I have an Australian shepherd who is 9 years old and is very devoted to me, (she’s a rescue).  I love to camp, cook and share my food with friends, family and co-workers. I also enjoy reading, and puzzles.

While my kids were growing up, our house was the place they wanted to bring their friends and I have “adopted” several of them through the years.  I am known as “Mom” at my places of work and by many of my kid’s friends.

I have been on the Board of Children First Therapy for over 5 years.

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Carly Moore