CIS Friends and Family, 

We have been busy managing lots of change over the summer months, and we have exciting news to share.

We are thrilled to announce that Emilio Vela, Jr. has joined CIS of North Central Washington as our new Executive Director! Emilio brings decades of experience working in the public and nonprofit sectors. Emilio’s many accomplishments include working in drug and alcohol counseling and behavioral health policy, completing a Master in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management and leadership, empowering disability communities through advocacy, education and planning, being a trusted advisor and consultant to nonprofits, and most recently, leading a Wenatchee-based nonprofit supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. He also helped form a nonprofit in Olympia – the Hispanic Roundtable / La Mesa Redonda – a multi-cultural, multi-agency collaboration to strengthen the Latino community through partnerships, education, community building and cultural representation. One of the efforts he was a key member of was an Annual Latino Youth Summit to present high school students with information about educational and career opportunities as well as health and wellness. Clearly, education has always been a love of Emilio’s — and his passion for our mission is undeniable. Emilio is also very familiar with our rural region, having grown up in Moses Lake in a family of migrant farm workers. We are so lucky to welcome him into our CIS family!

We are also delighted to share that Edgar Salamanca is pursuing leadership and professional development opportunities by staying with us and shifting into a Program Director position. Edgar was preparing to transition into the Program Manager position in 2021 when he was tapped to be Executive Director. Many recognized his passion for the work and his inherent leadership skills and potential. What you may not know is that he was reluctant — he said no multiple times before courageously accepting the challenge. As Board members, we recognize and appreciate the humble courage it took for him to step up to the plate and eventually he realized this position was not the right fit for him at this point in his professional career. We are so lucky to retain his knowledge, skills, and passion for this work, and we can’t wait to see him thrive in a role that is a much better fit based on his interests.

When we headed into the summer planning for a successful leadership transition, we all knew there would be bumps in the road and we knew it was going to be a heavy lift. Thank you all for your patience and grace as we managed lots of change over the past few months. And a special shout out to CIS of Washington (our state office) who provided significant support, including helping with the recruitment process for our 6 open positions. Our mission and work is all about surrounding students with a community of support — it was not lost on us that we as an organization also benefit from a strong community of support. Thank you!

All in for kids, 

Caroline Tillier (Board Chair) 
Deb Miller (Board Treasurer) 
Nancy Spurgeon (Board Secretary) 

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