Meet the Staff
Susan Fortin, Director
Susan Fortin joined the student leadership division of AWSP in 1991. Her professional teaching career included six years at Willapa Valley Jr/Sr High (Willapa Valley SD) and seven years at Rainier Secondary (Rainier SD). Teaching in small schools, advising multiple clubs and coaching prepared her for the fast-paced, multi-faceted student programs she currently directs at AWSP. After graduating from Franklin Pierce High School (Franklin Pierce SD), Susan earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Western Washington University and a teaching certificate from Central Washington University. School administration was to be her next career step, but the opportunity to lead programs for AWSP intervened, providing a unique and creative challenge. She has no regrets about her decision. Susan and her husband Marty live and work in Randle. Their daughter Kate recently graduated from The Evergreen State College.
Joe Fenbert, Program Director
Joe Fenbert joined AWSP in 1993 as an assistant challenge course manager at Cispus and a program coordinator for AWSL. As an ASB officer at Federal Way High School (Federal Way SD), he attended Mt. Rainier leadership camp at Cispus in 1979. Joe served on the staff of the Mt. Baker session of leadership camp staff, and was on the founding team that launched Cascade middle level leadership camp in 1993 and La Cima leadership camp in 2004. His professional education career includes eight years teaching middle level students at Tonasket Middle School (Tonasket SD) and Evergreen Middle School (Everett SD) and three years teaching in Venezuela and Honduras. He graduated from Green River Community College where he was the ASB president and from Eastern Washington University where he lettered in track and field and earned a bachelor’s degree in education. He currently serves on the school board of the White Pass SD. Joe and his wife Roanne, an elementary teacher, live in Randle and have two sons.
Vincent Perez, Latino Outreach Coordinator
Vincent Perez has served as the Latino outreach coordinator for AWSP's student leadership program since January 2012, although his involvement in AWSP’s leadership programs began in 1993 when he attended the Mt. Baker session of leadership camp at Cispus while senior class president at Kennewick High. Vincent has practiced experiential education and training for more than 15 years with a focus on student engagement and staff development in the areas of leadership, juvenile justice and Latino empowerment. In 2004, he founded La Cima (the Summit), a bilingual leadership program. From 2001-2006, he served as Cispus challenge course manager, and for five years he worked in Louisiana in juvenile court mentoring and diversion programs. Vincent and his wife, Kim Jansen, have three teenage boys. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and harmonica.
Karen Johnson, Administrative Assistant
Karen Johnson joined AWSL as office support in February 2007. Before that, she was administrative assistant to the City of Poulsbo fire chief for 12 years. In 1996, as an empty-nester, Karen challenged herself to follow her dream and move to Montana, where she worked for a building contractor and property manager for 10 years. When Karen returned to Washington, she built her home in Randle and found a rewarding job in the mountains, working with Washington Student Leadership. A California native, she graduated from Washington High School in Fremont. She has two sons and four grandchildren. She recently sold her house in Randle, moving up to Cispus for the last couple years before her retirement, where she and her labradoodle Izzy enjoy hiking and swimming in the forest and streams right outside their door.
Erika Ambrocio-Vasquez, Program Specialist
Erika was the Cispus AmeriCorps Student Leadership member for the 2014-2015 term, and continued on staff to provide programming support for AWSL's leadership programs and the Cispus Challenge Course. Erika attended camp at Chewelah Peak in 2007 as a delegate for La Cima Bilingual Leadership Camp. Since then, she has returned as a counselor for La Cima and a facilitator for La Chispa. Erika graduated from Cascade High School in Leavenworth, Washington and Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Children’s Studies and minors in Anthropology and Africana Studies. Erika is grateful to get the chance to inspire, interact and motivate students to be the best they can be, no matter their life circumstances.
Van Anderson, Administrative and Program Support; Webmaster
Van joined AWSL in spring of 2015 to help with summer leadership camps, and continues to provide program and administrative support for AWSL. The son of two public school teachers, he grew up in the community around Cispus, graduating from White Pass High School (White Pass SD) and the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics. Out of college, he worked for the Cispus Center AmeriCorps team with the thought of getting certified to join the teaching profession, but decided instead to detour into private non-profits, spending the next five years building houses for Habitat for Humanity in Washington, D.C. Van is excited to return to his roots and continue his lifetime of service by joining AWSL in building the leaders of tomorrow.
Heather Muir, Administrative Assistant
Heather joined AWSL at the start of 2017 and will be taking over for Karen Johnson upon her retirement. Heather is a graduate of White Pass High School (White Pass SD), and lives in the local community with her husband and 3 children. She is a certified Emergency Medical Responder, and previously worked as the office manager for the Glenoma Fire Department. Her service to community includes serving as den leader for a local Cub Scout troop as well as volunteering with many community organizations.