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Program Directors Bios

Get to know our program leadership!

Jennifer Cleverdon
Director, Olympic Peninsula Autism Center 

Jennifer Cleverdon

Jennifer has been the Director at OPAC since 2015. Jennifer grew up as the daughter of an active duty Navy family and spent her childhood shimmying up coconut trees in Guam, visiting ruins in Pompei and was even able to see the Berlin wall. This life fostered a love of travel, trying new things and meeting new people. Throughout it all, Jennifer was involved in a variety of volunteer work; primarily as a Hospice volunteer to terminally ill patients.  She had no sooner got her BA in Psych from Cal State Long Beach and she was off again to live and work in Ireland and England. She eventually settled in London, working first for the Heritage Lottery Fund, a grant giving organization, as a development officer and case manager. She then worked for St. Raphael's Hospice as a fundraiser, particularly involved in legacy gifts.

Jennifer, her husband and her three children, relocated from London to settle in the wilds of Poulsbo. Jennifer's most recent work experience was as a Volunteer Coordinator for Hospice of Kitsap County.

Q&A with Jennifer
Why did you join the organization? 
I enjoy working in the non-profit sector. For me, work is not just a job, it is a vocation. I enjoy challenges and look forward to working with the Autism Center families while living the mission of Easter Seals Washington.   

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved? 
I look forward to seeing the 'learners' and their families every day. I like hearing about the progress they are making. I love knowing that we are making a difference.

Molly Gunderson
Director, Jane’s House Child Development Director

Molly Gunderson

Molly Gunderson has been the Child Development Center Director at Easter Seals Washington Jane’s House since 2013. Molly brings over 20 years of experience with her to Easter Seals Washington.  She has an unwavering commitment to the early childhood development field.  She loves to teach young children first and foremost, which is where she started her career, as a preschool teacher working for the Head Start Program. At Head Start, Molly enjoyed working with children, and later discovered she also had a passion for working with their families.

Molly is grateful for her many years of experience in a variety of roles in early childhood education, as she can pull from these experiences to offer a unique perspective as she leads her staff and works with the families involved with the center.

Molly has been married to her husband, Darrin, for 21 years and they have 2 teenage children. She enjoys watching her son play baseball and cheering her daughter on at her soccer games. Molly loves animals and her family has 2 dogs and 4 cats. She also enjoys traveling!

Molly is a graduate of Central Washington University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Q&A with Molly
Why did you join the organization?
Before coming to Easter Seals I was working as a director at a small private preschool. I was ready to expand my career and work more with the community. Easter Seals Washington gave me that opportunity. We have an outstanding mission and I’m proud to be part of this team.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved?
I love working with the children, families and the staff every day! Our location in Yakima, next to Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) is great. We serve a wide variety of families in the community. We have great partnerships with YVCC and Educational Service District 105. The services our center is able to provide are wonderful. We have an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and a Children’s Village. Catholic Family Services also often provides onsite support to our children with special needs. It is a very rewarding job and exactly what I love to do!

Amy Havice
Director, Adult Day Center - Bremerton 

Amy Havice

Amy Havice became the Director of Easterseals Adult Day Center in Bremerton in October 2016. She has lived in Kitsap County for over 3 years, where she was previously the Executive Director of a local senior living community. Prior to moving to Washington, Amy lived in southern Oregon for 25 years where she obtained a Masters in Business Administration and opened a pizza parlor that employed individuals with disabilities. She also worked at a local nonprofit as the Director of Residential Services – supporting children, adults, and seniors with disabilities.

Amy loves spending time with her family, reading, traveling and volunteering. She has served on many nonprofit boards and advisory groups for youth sports and community support agencies. She is a caregiver, a coach, and a mentor; and she truly believes in inclusion for everyone.

Q&A with Amy
Why did you join the organization? 
Camp Stand by Me is why. Over the years in Oregon, I had the amazing opportunity to transport groups of individuals up to Vaughn for camp sessions and then come back and listen to what an incredible time they had. I have always believed in Easterseals' purpose and I remember thinking, “some day if I get the opportunity I am going to volunteer or work for them”.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved? 
I am honored to be an Easterseals Washington employee – being able to see people grow, learn, and be the best they can be. I love coming up with successful supports for individuals to further their life’s journey.

Renita Linear
Director, Angle Lake Child Development Center

Renita Linear Little Aviators

Renita joined Easter Seals Washington as a volunteer at Angle Lake in September 2011.  She was so wonderful, we hired her as a full-time employee. Through hard-work and exemplary leadership, Renita eventually became the Assistant Director at Angle Lake. In 2015, Renita was named the Program Director of Little Aviators Child Development Center, but came back to be the Program Director at Angle Lake in November of 2016. Renita has a degree in Human services and is passionate about building strong and long-lasting relationships with families and children from all walks of life.

One thing Renita loves about her job, is spending time in the classrooms, getting to know the children and seeing their faces on a regular basis. “It is always such a rewarding feeling when I walk into a classroom and all the children run up to hug me. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with children, especially in a field that helps them grow and develop at such a pivotal time in their lives.”

Renita says that working in the child development field has definitely taught her about patience and creative problem solving, and she sees each interaction with a child as another opportunity to teach and learn.  We are so forunate to have Renita as a leader in our organization.

Q&A with Renita
Why did you join the organization?

I joined Easterseals Washington because I wanted to get more experience working with children. After I volunteered at Angle Lake, I knew that the child care field was something I could master and learn from. I also wanted to be a part of a mission-driven organization, that makes a difference in my community. Easterseals Washington shares my passion and vision for making an impact in the lives of children every day.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved?
I love that I get to interact with families and children on a daily basis. It is so fun and rewarding to see the children grow up from infants to preschoolers. My life has been impacted in many ways, but the greatest has been seeing children develop and leave for kindergarten with the tools they need to succeed.

Joshua Mayer
Director, Camp Stand By Me

Joshua Mayer

Joshua Mayer became the Director of Camp Stand By Me in 2012.  His passion for making the outdoors accessible to individuals with disabilities started much earlier, though.  In 1995, he volunteered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s summer camp in Eastern Washington, and continued doing so until 2010.  His experiences there led him to pursue an undergraduate degree in Special Education.  He went on to spend a number of years teaching middle school students with severe behavior needs in Tacoma. 

He was very excited when the opportunity to lead Camp Stand By Me opened up, and feels like he is living the dream by being able to further the mission of Easter Seals Washington at Camp Stand By Me.  Joshua’s passion for camp and the people we serve is evident the moment you meet him.  Joshua and his commitment to our mission, are great assets to the Easter Seals Washington leadership team.

Over the years, Joshua has formed deep relationships with a wide range of individuals with disabilities.  He believes that these relationships are what fuel his leadership, and his effort to serve in the community.  He has led and volunteered in a variety of organizations in Spokane (where he grew up), and Tacoma.  Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife and their two young sons, who keep their family very busy.

Joshua also holds a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership.

Q&A with Joshua
Why did you join the organization?
I was aware of Easter Seals for many years, and knew the organization to have a strong reputation.  Also, there are only a few organizations that serve individuals with such a wide range of special needs, and Easter Seals Washington stood out as one of the best.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved?
My work allows me to spend time with individuals with disabilities, some of whom I’ve known for 20 years.  I thoroughly enjoy them!  Also, I am passionate about the fact that our service gives parents a break from the intensity of care provision.

Leslie Oja, Ed.D.
Director, Adult Day Center - Bellevue

Leslie Oja Program Director Bellevue

Leslie Oja has been the Program Director at the Easterseals Washington Adult Day Center in Bellevue since 2016. She brings over 20 years of experience as a mental health counselor specializing in learning disabilities and the associated social, emotional, physical, and intellectual disabilities. Leslie believes that providing an inclusive environment enables the people we serve to make choices, be independent, and experience being just like their peers. Her expertise helps discover and develop activities that will engage and improve the lives of all program participants.

Before coming to to Easterseals Washington, Leslie developed a program for high school students with disabilities using a model that celebrated ability – not disability. Additionally, Leslie served as Director at a major hospital in the child and adolescent psychiatric center. She oversaw the testing and evaluation of the clients and developed programs to assist in returning to the classroom. Leslie also served as Director of a major healthcare organization as grant administrator and counselor – establishing programs for Memory Care, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Post-Partum Depression, and Sib Shops for families dealing with disabilities.

Leslie has been married to her husband, Ken, for 32 years. Leslie and Ken enjoy everything about the Northwest including art and sports. Ken and Leslie have fun discovering new places in Washington State and seeking out the less traveled areas of the United States.

Q&A with Leslie
Why did you join the organization?
The experience of working in academia and healthcare has provided a special awareness of people with disabilities and what can be accomplished if the environment allows growth. I wanted to apply my experience working with individuals with disabilities to find that special place in their life to celebrate success at whatever level they achieve success.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved?
The best part of my day is seeing evidence-based activities put into action and the joy of discovery that each program participant experiences. Part of the unique experience at the center is the partnership we have with the local YMCA that gives our participants an opportunity to learn job skills and participate in sports. The YMCA sends specially trained individuals to the Center to enable participants to engage in activities that may otherwise not be available to them. It is rewarding to see a room filled to capacity with everyone enjoying life.

 Chris Plyman
Director, Adult Day Center - Des Moines

Chris Plyman

Chris Plyman has a long relationship with Easterseals Adult Services in Des Moines. In 2005, Chris enrolled his grandmother in the program. In 2008, he began an internship with the center for his BA in psychology, and was hired as program staff immediately after his graduation. He has served two stints as program director, his current turn beginning in 2016.

Prior to coming to Easterseals, Chris served in the military before becoming a defense contractor. After being injured in Iraq, Chris returned to his home town of Seatac where he could be close to his family while receiving medical care. It was during this time that he enrolled in the psychology program at Antioch University with the intent of assisting veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.

During this time, Chris’ grandmother was diagnosed with dementia and he found himself in a brand-new role as a caregiver, providing round-the-clock care. Discovering adult day services was a godsend to his family, providing necessary respite and care. His eventual internship at the center led him to discover a passion for working with people with developmental disabilities, and today Chris considers himself doubly blessed to have had two careers of service. One to his country, and now a second opportunity serving those with developmental and acquired disabilities.

Q&A with Chris
Why did you join the organization?
I was delighted when our adult day center became part of the Easterseals Washington family. As the director, my standard has always been to continue to provide the level of care I would want for my own family member. Now, with Easterseals’ decades of expertise in providing a wide variety of services to those with disabilities, I look forward to bringing the services here to an even higher level of professionalism and quality of care.

What do you like most about your work or how has your life been impacted since becoming involved?
The best part of my day is seeing the joy on the faces of our participants and knowing that our activities and the chance for socialization here at the center are improving the quality of life for our participants.  I also take great satisfaction in knowing from personal experience that we are providing a vitally important service to the families of our participants – a few hours respite from the demands of care giving.  I feel privileged to play a part in the lives of our participants and the families who love them. 

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