At the close of 2019, Mineral School disbanded its board and changed its oversight structure. The board was replaced with a strategic advisory committee to reframe how our advisors contribute to the organization.  We will relaunch a formal board once mentorship and committee leadership for this process emerges. Our strategic advisory committee meets monthly, with a quarterly longer in-person session in Seattle, and is focused on tasks to support operations. We are able to work under this structure through the auspices of our fiscal sponsor, Shunpike.

Val Cashman is a former physician’s assistant, wellness coach, magazine publishing entrepreneur, and was even once a croupier at a Nevada casino. She’s Mineral School’s first-ever two-time chef (2018, 2019). She serves on the board of Shu Ren of Portland, a nonprofit supporting Mandarin language immersion programs in public schools within Portland, Oregon.

Jordan Friedman (2019) is a Seattle-based independent filmmaker and attended Mineral School’s inaugural screenwriters residency where he worked on his first feature-length film, to be produced entirely in Washington. A veteran of the U.S. Army who spent nearly twenty years in the high tech industry, Jordan attended Dartmouth College (BA) and Duke University (MBA). 

Kait Heacock is a Seattle-based literary organizer who builds community around books. A publicist at Dottir Press, editor at the journal Joyland, and member of the programming committee for Lit Crawl Seattle, she is the author of the short story collection Siblings and Other Disappointments (Ooligan Press, 2016) A creative writing graduate of Seattle Pacific University, she also earned a master’s from Portland State University. 

Alexandra Reinken is a Bainbridge Island-based visual artist and nonprofit professional and currently manages marketing and events for Caravel Marketing, a Seattle-based sponsorship marketing company. Formerly the Associate Director of Development at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, she has also held marketing roles at Consult4Kids and IDM Marketing. She holds a BA in Art History from Seattle University as well as an Associates Degree in the field from Taft University. 

Susan Roden is an Onalaska, Washington-based educator and passionate lover of literature. She recently retired from a lengthy career teaching English and German to high schools students in the Onalaska School District. A devoted lover of literature, she organizes an annual Celebration of Rural Life Through Poetry and also co-chairs the Onalaska Farm and Homestead Tour. She holds a masters degree from Lesley College, and an undergraduate degree from Washington State University. In her free time she rides horses, skis, dyes and knits, writes poetry, and participates in the Onalaska Women’s Literary Society (OWLS) book club.


Jane Hodges founded and volunteer directs the residency program at Mineral School and splits her time between Seattle and Mineral. A journalist, book author (Rent vs. Own, Chronicle Books), and creative writer, she served two years on Lit Crawl Seattle‘s board and has also worked as a freelance grant editor and communicator for arts and education nonprofits. She’s a graduate of Dartmouth (BA), Sarah Lawrence (MFA), and University of Washington’s nonprofit management certificate program. She manages Mineral School’s residency and culinary program every summer as well as those programs’ seasonal staffing and resident logistics. She manages organization finances, partnerships, in-residency and non-residency events, community relations, volunteer weekends, site tours, the facility, most grants, and most communications to alumni, donors, and media. She needs a nap.

PAST BOARD (2014-2019)

Rebekah Anderson (board ’16-’18), writer and marketing professional, Seattle

Stesha Brandon (board ’14), literary programming professional, Seattle

Elisabeth Eaves (board ’15-’17), writer and journalist, Seattle

Dora Hale (board ’15-’16), painter, Mineral, WA

Nicole Hardy (board ’15-’17), writer and teacher, Seattle

Tracie Luthi (board ’14-’15), small business administrator, Seattle

Gary Johnson (board ’14-’15), facilities professional and unofficial mayor of Mineral, WA

Jess Martin (board ’15-’19), marketing and sales professional, Lakewood, WA

Renate Raymond (board ’15-’19), arts administrator and fundraising professional, Seattle 

Putsata Reang (board ’18-’19), writer and journalist, Seattle

Derek Scheips (board ’14), educator and writer, Seattle

Jason Vanhee (board ’19), writer and nonprofit and literary arts professional, Seatle


Kirsten Anderson, painter and art teacher, Ashford, WA

Dave Brewer, UX professional/telecom boss, handyman, board spouse, Seattle

Phil Brooke (Kosmos Inn), governance professional and historic preservationist, Kosmos, WA

Katy Hannigan (Thread Support, White Center Coworking), nonprofit advisor and small business operator, Seattle

Tessa Hulls (chef ’17), culinary professional/visual artist, Port Townsend, WA

Diane Mapes (Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center), journalist, roadhouse pianist, advocate, Seattle

Brian McGuigan (Artist Trust), writer and nonprofit leader, Seattle

Star Roberts, arts supporter and writer, Seattle


We’re an all-volunteer organization. Seattle Central Community College helped us redesign our web site, and Michelle Szwedo stayed after class to help us with our technology and design problems; we are all learning together. On the culinary help front: We’ve received solid advice from Olympia food sourcing czar Brian McDonald, and hours of quality kitchen time from our volunteer cooks including Bastyr University students Julie Heath, Brittany Rouse, and Sarah Wall; sports nutrition grad student Kelly Neville; talented home cooks Val Cashman, Jackleen delaHarpe, Laura Gilliam, Dianne Niemann, Jane Taylor, Theadora Tolkin, and Dana Wolff; organic farmer Brittany McGrath-Meints; and pro cooks Jason Cohen, Tessa Hulls, and Siolo Thompson.

We also need to give a shout-out to April RebolloChris Arkills, Steve Botts, Sara Everett, Katharina Sharpe, Todd Oman, Elise Glassman, Bruce YarrowAnna-Marie Sannes, Andy Holmes, yogini Cynthia Land, Lisa Brewer and Big Tall Rick, writers Joni Blecher and Megan McMorris, mystic Fia, Joe Ray, Chelsea Werner-JatzkeLisa Sutherland Johnson, Amanda Castleman, and Kirsten and Nathan Lunstrum, for some unglamorous tasks in the buildings. Not to mention Portland Rob, the contractor-musician with a heart of gold and a box of tools. Cindy Pestka donated art, and several anonymous Northwest readers helped us jury applications for 2015 summer residency. Michelle Goodman, Sarah Zurat, Jenny Hayes, and Mia Lipman have all helped, too. 


Along the way, we’ve received valuable programmatic and other support from our fiscal sponsor Shunpike and from The Alliance of Artists Communities and Cascadia Artist in Residence Network. We’ve met a bunch of great people through Impact Hub Seattle, too.

Putsata Reang (Mineral School ’17) generously raised her hand as our first alumni board member and Jason Vanhee (Mineral School ’16) also volunteered. Writers Jeremy Pataky, Linda Johns, Samiya Bashir, and Jack Downs have contributed their valuable time. We’re grateful to dancer and choreographer Bennyroyce Royon who nudged us toward launching a little earlier than we thought we were ready — to terrific results. In addition, we’ve gotten great advice from Robb Andrade, of Seattle. We also appreciate the help and encouragement of Harry Bhagwandin, Dick and Leslee Dunlap, Dave and Susan Manger, Carolyn McKelvie, and many others in or from metro Mineral. We’re grateful to Apex Law. And we’re happy to know and partner on projects with Fire Mountain Arts Council, Centralia College, Rainier Independent Film Festival, and Hugo House.