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Board of Directors

Board Member Bios

Terry Brandon
District No. 1 – Terry Brandon, AESD Executive Board Member & Legislative Representative

Board Member Since November 2018

District No. 1 includes all of Asotin-Anatone, Clarkston, Pomeroy, Dayton, Starbuck, Kahlotus and Othello, as well as part of North Franklin.

Terry Brandon has recently retired after 44 years in education, including 14 years as a superintendent.  He holds degrees and certifications from EWU, WSU, and the University of Oregon.  Terry was actively involved in WASA and COSA and testified before legislatures on numerous occasions.  During his career, Terry served as the chair of superintendent component groups in ESD 101 and ESD 108, as well as ESD 123. Terry has been married for 49 years to his wife, Shirley, and together they have two daughters and three grandchildren.  They reside in Pomeroy.


Kara Kaelber
District No. 2 – Kara Kaelber, Chair

Board Member Since September 2017

District No. 2 includes all of College Place, Dixie, Waitsburg, Prescott, and Star, as well as parts of Walla Walla, North Franklin, and Pasco.

Kara Kaelber is the Education Director at the Franklin Conservation District, where she has been employed for the past 15 years.  She is also the Program Manager for the AgForestry Leadership Program. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University and a master’s degree in Education Administration from Heritage University.  She has taught as an adjunct professor for Heritage University and is a graduate of the AgForestry Leadership Program.  Kara lives in Pasco with her husband, Patrick, and their three adult children.

Mark Thompson

District No. 3 – Mark Thompson, Vice Chair

District No. 3 includes part of Walla Walla.

Mark Thompson is a former educator and a graduate of Whitman College with a BS in history.  He provides harassment/discrimination prevention consultation for public schools and universities.  Mark has provided leadership trainings to ESD 123 since 2017, as well as consulting with various school districts in the region. He has been married to his wife, Mary Lynn, for over 45 years, and they have four grown children and five grandchildren.

Cara Broeckel

District No. 4 – Cara Broeckel

Board Member Since April 2021

District No. 4 includes all of Columbia and Touchet, as well as part of Pasco.

Cara Broeckel has been the Program Operations Director for five years for an online software company based in Richland. She graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Cara and her husband, Michael, live in Pasco with their two sons.

Paul Whitemarsh

District No. 5 – Paul Whitemarsh

Board Member Since January 2002

District No. 5 includes parts of Pasco and Kennewick.

Paul Whitemarsh is retired after 37 years as the City of Pasco's Recreation Services Manager. He graduated from Eastern Washington State College (EWU) with a B.A. in Education. He has served on various local and state boards and committees for public schools and leisure service issues. Paul and his wife Mary have been married for 47 years and have four grown children and five grandchildren.

Matt Backlund

District No. 6 – Matthew Backlund

Board Member Since December 2019

District No. 6 includes part of Kennewick.

Matt Backlund is Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer for Community 1st Bank. He manages commercial, small business and consumer lending for the locally headquartered bank.  Matt has worked in banking for nearly 20 years. Matt is a graduate of Washington State University and Pacific Coast Banking School (UW Foster School of Business). Matt and his wife Tamara have two children. In addition to his work in banking, Matt serves on a number of community nonprofit boards and is actively involved as a Rotary member, local youth sports coach, and a Jr. Achievement classroom volunteer. 
Bev Abersfeller


District No. 7 – Bev Abersfeller

Board Member Since November 1998

District No. 7 includes all of Kiona-Benton, Patterson, and Finley, as well as parts of Kennewick and Pasco.

Beverly Abersfeller is a volunteer and business owner. She brokers telecommunication, energy, and merchant services. She has been married 43 years and has four daughters and five grandchildren. Bev currently serves as executive board member of the Dreambuilder’s Education Foundation, as well as serving on the Rehema Ministries/Kenya Instep Children's Home support team.

Steven Landon
District No. 8 – Steven Landon

Board Member Since July 2001

District No. 8 includes part of Richland.

Steven Landon is a partner in Reese Concrete Products, Mfg. Inc. He graduated from Washington State University with a BS degree in Forest Management. Steve is a local supporter of youth activities and a member of several business and community groups and organizations. He is married to his wife, Cyndi, of 45 years and raised three daughters who graduated from Richland High School.


Lee Ann Dudney
District No. 9 – Lee Ann Dudney

Board Member Since December 2007

District No. 9 includes parts of Richland, Pasco, and Prosser.

Lee Ann Dudney is a Program Manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she has been employed since 1983. She graduated from the University of Idaho with a BS in Computer Science. She has previously served on various education, youth, and professional boards and committees. Lee Ann resides in West Richland and has two grown children.

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