President- Ellen Yates, Class IV Graduate
Ellen is a graduate of Verde Valley Leadership Class IV, and served on the Board of Directors as a director, and President-Elect.
Ellen has lived in the Verde Valley for 9 years having moved from Massachusetts with her husband Charlie in 2007. She has two grown children and two sweet granddaughters. Ellen is the Administrative Supervisor for the Town of Clarkdale Utilities and Public Works Dept. She is also a certified Grade II Water Operator and Grade II Water Treatment Plant Operator. Her position in Clarkdale allows her to put all of her water skills to use along with office managerial responsibilities. Ellen has volunteered with Catholic Charities and is a past board member and volunteer for the Adopt For Life Center For Animals. She is an advocate for animal welfare and has rounded out her family with 2 cats, 3 dogs, and 2 horses. For fun Ellen loves to ride her horse and tries to fit in a little reading. She is currently spending a lot of time xeriscaping her property, satisfying another passion, water conservation.
President Elect- Tammy Yoakum, Class IX
Tammy is a second-generation Arizona native who grew up in Flagstaff. Graduating in the top 3% of her high school class with plans to attend Arizona State University, circumstances arose which instead propelled her into an eight-year stint in commercial banking at what was then Valley National Bank. Beginning in a clerical position, she moved into various positions finally ending up in the programming department as the first “User Application Analyst” and later went to Dallas for training in mainframe programming. She was married to her husband Darrell during this time. At the arrival of their first child, Tammy worked part-time from home in a pilot telecommuting position until relocating to the Verde Valley in 1994 when she began a new career as a full-time mommy.
Tammy has home educated all their children. Their oldest graduated in 2011, was married in 2013 and resides in Cottonwood with her husband. Their second daughter is a freshman at Grand Canyon University and their son is in the seventh grade.
Tammy serves with other parents on the leadership committee for the local home education support group planning organized events as well as opportunities for fellowship. She is a tutor/director for home schooling support organization Classical Conversations tutoring children 13 to 14 years old. She serves on the missions committee and is on a team of teachers for children at church. Her hobbies vary from gardening, sewing, amateur photography, music, and baking, to caring for her small flock of chickens, petite black lab, and three outdoor cats. She is a collector of books and reads whenever opportunity allows. The whole family enjoys going to the sand dunes, camping in the forest, off-road riding and hiking.
Secretary- Kyla Allen, Class III Graduate
Kyla was born in Southern California, graduating from Anaheim High School and began taking college courses towards a Graphic Arts degree at Fullerton Junior College (now Fullerton Community College.) Marriage and the beginning of a soon-to-be large family changed her direction and she began working for Anaheim Library then Anaheim Police Department before moving to Cottonwood, Arizona, in 1986. She soon began working for the City of Cottonwood and served in several administration positions, starting as the receptionist at City Hall. She then filled the position of Administrative Secretary in Community Development, Administrative Assistant at the Cottonwood Fire Department and was the assistant to the Chief at Cottonwood Police Department for five years before moving back to City Hall where she served as Executive Assistant then moved to her final position with the City as the Assistant to the City Manager. During her tenure with the City she raised six children, received her Management Certificate from Yavapai College, and has served on many boards and commissions, being most proud of having been a part of inception MATForce in the Verde Valley. She served as the Assistant to the City Manager for seven years before retiring in December of 2015. Kyla also started her own home based business, promoting her artwork as Twin Wolf Designs. Six months after retiring the opportunity to be appointed to one of two available positions with the Cottonwood City Council presented itself. Kyla was offered the appointment as the top ranking candidate of twelve applicants who applied, and began serving on the Council in late June 2016.
Kyla enjoys being in nature, hunting and fishing, creating with her hands and hanging out with Jim, her best friend and husband of 20 years.
Board Member- Janie Randell, Class VI Graduate
Janie has been employed as Court Administrator in the Cottonwood Municipal Court since November, 2009, and also is appointed as the Associate Magistrate and as Civil Traffic Hearing Officer. She has worked in various courts throughout Yavapai County for approximately 21 years. She has also volunteered her time in the Clarkdale Municipal Court, and the Prescott Justice Court as a mediator.
Janie serves on the Data Standards Committee and the Court Automation Coordinating Committee at the Arizona Supreme Court. She has been a member of the National Association for Court Management since 2004. She is also a founding member of the Arizona Limited Jurisdiction Court Administrator’s Association. She has served on the VVL board since 2012.
Janie has a BA in Spanish from Pepperdine University, and a Litigation Paralegal certificate from the University of San Diego. She is a graduate of the Arizona Supreme Court/National Center for State Court’s Court Management Program and Certified Court Executive Program.
Board Member- Debbie Breitkreutz, Class X Graduate
I was born in Castle Rock, Colorado, where my dad’s family had been since the 1900’s, and I lived there for 10 years before packing up and moving to central Texas where my mom and I stayed for 4 years. We then moved to upstate New York where I graduated high school. I returned to Colorado to pursue a college education and be near family. I worked several jobs, including a warehouse manager for a toy manufacturer, a technician at the County Assessor’s office and assisting my mom’s husband in his business doing carpentry, masonry and plumbing work.
I moved to the Verde Valley in 2001 to join the family members that also moved here. My grandparents were already living in Cottonwood and two of my other aunts lived in the area, one in Crown King and one in Flagstaff.
I began working at the local OfficeMax shortly after I arrived here. In 2004 I started working for the City of Cottonwood Utilities Department, Wastewater Division. I began my career as an Operator in Training and worked my way up to the title of Wastewater Superintendent in 2008. As of 2016, I transferred positions and I am now the Regulatory Compliance, Safety and Education Administrator. In 2014, I finally finished my Associates Degree from Yavapai College.
I enjoy spending time with my family, my animals, reading and going to the local casino. I continue to hone my masonry, plumbing and carpentry skills completing projects around my house as well as those of my family and occasionally taking on an odd job or too for good measure.
I am a graduate of Class X and have had many new experiences, met great people and explored the surrounding communities. The Verde Valley Leadership program has allowed me to hone my skills, discover new talents and become a better version of myself.
Board Member- Jennifer Hernandez, Graduate Class X
Jennifer Hernandez is the Northern Arizona Community Mobilizer for Expect More Arizona. Through her work in public health and education, Jennifer has accumulated over 15 years of experience in advocating for families and children and collaborating with community partners across the state. Jennifer has served on the Board of Directors for the Northern Arizona Book Festival, currently serves on the board of the Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth, and is the former Chair for the Alliance of Children’s Early Success. Jennifer has also operated as the voluntary blog administrator for the Flagstaff Community Health Action Network. Her commitment to the Northern Arizona community has been acknowledged with both a Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth Caring for Children award and a National Public Service Recognition award. A Summa-Cum-Laude graduate of ASU, Jennifer has also completed several graduate level courses in Library and Information Science. Jennifer is also the proud mother of Alex, a U.S. Marine and Kimberly, a student at Yavapai College. She is honored to have been their first teacher.
Past President- Kathy Wombacher, Class IV Graduate
Kathy moved to the Verde Valley in 1975 from Pennsylvania. At the time it was to be a temporary move, however after meeting her husband , Dane Wombacher, Verde Valley became her permanent home. Dane was a native of the Verde Valley and therefore she too quickly became deeply rooted in the community. Kathy has three adult children and five grandchildren.
While her children were young Kathy was a director of a local preschool/daycare and later managed her own home daycare business for 10 years. After a couple years of being a fulltime volunteer for Old Town Mission, Family Challenge and other organizations that promoted service to help people, she returned to college and obtained a bachelors’ of Human Services at Prescott College. Kathy worked as a victim advocate for the County Attorney’s Office prior to joining Yavapai County Juvenile Probation in 2001. Over the course of her probation career she has overseen a variety of caseloads and is now supervisor of the Verde Valley office. Kathy has a passion for working with youth and their families to help them develop skills that will lead to a more fulfilled life.
Kathy currently is a steering committee member of MATFORCE, a member of the for Greater Sedona Substance Abuse Committee, a board member for the Verde Valley Youth Commission, a board member of Vineyard Christian Fellowship Women's Ministries, a member of the Kids at Hope steering committee, a Motivational Interviewing trainer,and a board member of Verde Valley Leadership (classIV)
Treasurer- Kirsten Lennon, Class VII Graduate
Kirsten Lennon was born in Fallbrook, California and moved to Cottonwood, Arizona, in 1984. She graduated from Mingus Union High School in 1992 and started taking college courses at Yavapai Community College. After having four children, she went back to school and received an Associates of Applied Science in Accounting degree in 1998.
She got a part-time job working at the Adult Community Center of Sedona (ACCS), also known as Sedona Community Center, in March of 1998 as a bookkeeper and was later promoted to the Assistant Director position. After a couple of years, she decided that – being a single mother- it would be better to work closer to her children. She said goodbye to ACCS and started working for the City of Cottonwood as the Accounts Payable Clerk. Since being hired by the City of Cottonwood, she has returned to Yavapai College and received an additional Associate of Arts degree in General Studies. She went on to Old Dominion University where she got a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting.
Kirsten is currently the Accounting/Budget Manager for the City of Cottonwood where she has worked for 15 years. She is currently part of Class XXV of Project Centrl. Project Centrl is a non-profit rural Leadership program that is committed to equipping and empowering leaders to meet the needs of rural Arizona.
Outside of work, she loves being with her four children, who are now 18, 20, 22 and 24 and her grandchildren. She also enjoys watching basketball and baseball when time permits, running and volunteering to do tax preparation at Catholic Charities.
Board Member- Krishan Ginige, Class V Graduate
Krishan, a professional Civil Engineer with over 20 years of construction, project management and design experience, holds a BS Degree in Civil Engineering and a MS Degree in Environmental Engineering. He is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM). Krishan has been employed, since 2006, with Southwestern Environmental Consultants, Inc. (SEC), a civil engineering, surveying & land planning company that has served the Verde Valley for over 40 years. Krishan currently serves as President and Principal Engineer of SEC. Having undertaken progressive responsibilities within SEC, from design engineer to project manager to vice president and to president, has enabled Krishan with the experience and exposure to become a contributing member for a productive and sustainable Verde Valley.
Krishan likes the outdoors, traveling and meeting new people, and being involved in community-based ventures. He loves spending time with his wife, Thushari, and his three energetic boys (who keep him in shape, and continually remind him that he is not as young as he thinks he is).
Board Member- Marlayne Hatler, Class I Graduate
Retired from law enforcement as the Police Commander of the Sedona Police Department. She served the citizens of the City of Sedona for more than twenty-six years. She began her law enforcement career as a dispatcher for the Sedona Police Department shortly after the City incorporated in 1989. In 1992 she hung up her headset to attend the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy in Tucson to become a police officer. She was as a patrol officer which included being a Field Training Officer for newer officers and a D.A.R.E. officer teaching in the elementary schools. After becoming a mom to twin daughters, she was promoted to detective and then to sergeant. As a sergeant she became increasing involved in community outreach and domestic violence intervention. She served as a patrol sergeant for nine years. In 2004 she was promoted to police commander. As the police commander she developed and administered the department budget including grants and capital improvement projects. She also supervised the Criminal Investigations Division, the Communications Center and Records Division as well as special assignment officers such as the school resource officers and the officers assigned to the gang intelligence task force and the narcotics task force. Prior to moving back to Arizona she worked in retail loss prevention as an auditor and internal theft investigator for eight years in the Denver metropolitan area and in the San Francisco Bay area. She attended Northern Arizona University graduating in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Police Science Administration and Business Management. Her daughters are now attending Northern Arizona University pursing their bachelor degrees.
Board Member- Patricia L. May MA LISAC
I was born 1947 and was raised in Pennsylvania. I Graduated from Bradford Area High School in 1965 and attended Kutztown University, graduating in 1970 with A Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education. I taught Art for 8 years in New York State and was a head start supervisor for 8 years in Pittsburgh area before entering the mental health field.
My work in mental health began in a family therapy program sponsored by the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center in Uniontown Pennsylvania. I also worked in Uniontown as a substance use counselor.
I left Pennsylvania in 1995 and moved to Arizona where I began my work at the Verde Valley Guidance clinic as a crisis counselor. I have worked in the SMI program. Ran a day treatment program and have been a substance abuse counselor, running the Intensive outpatient program at the VVGC. While in Arizona I graduated from Prescott College with A master’s degree in counseling psychology.
In 2007 I was given the unique opportunity to develop and open a program called the Woman’s World, a program for with serious mental illness and substance use issues. I retired from the Verde Valley Guidance and am now employed by The Verde Valley Medical Center.
I have 3 daughters, a nurse, a teacher and a therapist. I have 7 grandchildren My children and grandchildren are all the lights of my life.
I love to learn and volunteer. Throughout my time on this planet, I have been involved as a teacher’s union president and the chief negotiator for 2years for this union negotiating contracts. I served as a girl scout leader, the president of the PTA when my 3 amazing daughters were in elementary school. I was president and show coordinator for the Uniontown, Pa art club. I continue to teach Mental Health First Aid in the Verde Valley and Prescott area to both people who work with youth and adults. I recently trained for the restorative justice program and hope to do more work with this organization. I volunteer with the VVL after being a member of class 8.
I am an artist, a learner, a mother a grandmother and more roles than I choose to name. I love being alive and growing