Trustees’ Biographies

Meet the members on our Board of Trustees.

Monica Alexander

Monica Alexander

Expiration of term: September 30, 2022

Monica began her career with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) in 1996 as a Trooper Cadet. She was commissioned as a WSP Trooper on May 1, 1998. Monica spent many years as a line trooper and sergeant working the South Seattle freeway. Currently Monica serves as the Captain of Government and Media Relations, where she is the legislative liaison for the WSP.

During Monica’s career, she received numerous honors and awards including the Educational Excellence Award from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. In 2003, Monica was inducted into the Tacoma African American History Museum for her service to the community and her work with the WSP. In addition to her duties as a trooper, Monica was the traffic reporter for KOMO-TV for six years.

Monica is the first and only African American female to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain in the history of the WSP.

Fred Goldberg, Chair

Expiration of term: September 30, 2020

Fred GoldbergFred Goldberg was appointed to the Board of Trustees by Gov. Jay Inslee March 20, 2013.  A philanthropist, Army veteran, banker and entrepreneur, Fred helped found Saltchuk Resources, a global logistics company, currently the largest private company in Washington State.  Recently retired from active management of the company, Fred continues to serve on the Saltchuk board.  As a banker, Fred saw the evolution of the Thurston County State Bank into Puget Sound National Bank and then into Key Bank, serving in various leadership roles throughout the decades.  He currently serves on the board of Columbia Bank.

Fred has deep roots in Olympia, where he operated his family's third-generation furniture business, volunteered at the Washington State Capital Museum and helped the Panorama City retirement community regain financial stability in the 1990s.  His leadership commitment to community, education and global health issues is manifest in his extensive service to organizations such as the Civil Service Commission of Olympia, Providence Saint Peter Foundation, Washington Center for the Performing Arts, The Evergreen State College Foundation and the University of Washington Alumni association.

As a mentor, he has worked with students at UW's Graduate School of Business and officials at the Gates Foundation.  In addition to his service at Evergreen, Fred currently serves on the boards of Panorama City and the Initiative for Global Development, which focuses on relieving poverty in Africa by co-coordinating investment by world funds.

Read Fred’s Academic Statement.

Irene Gonzales, Secretary

Expiration of term: September 30, 2021Dr. Irene Gonzales

Irene Gonzales serves as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Services for Spokane Public Schools in Spokane, Washington. In this capacity she mentors, supervises, and evaluates 17 principals. She proudly partners with principals in guiding the district's instructional initiatives to improve student achievement through the examination of academic achievement data and setting a plan of action. She supports approximately 8,000 students each and everyday in her role. Prior to joining Spokane Public Schools, Irene served as an elementary principal for 13 years in Yakima and Walla Walla.

Irene's connections to higher education are vast. She has been an adjunct professor for Whitworth University's educational graduate programs for the past two years. She also serves as an advisor to the WSU President's Council and the WSU National Education for Women's Leadership Council; is a member of Gonzaga University's Institutional Review Board for Human Subject Research, WSU Cougar Admission Support Team and is in partnership with the University of Washington's Center for Educational Leadership (CEL).

In addition to spending time in higher educational institutions, she is an active community member; she serves as Vice-President of the Hispanic Business Professional Association Foundation, is a board member of YWCA and a member of the Inland Northwest Latino Chamber of Commerce.

She has been blessed with many honors. As Irene completed her doctoral studies she was chosen as the WSU Student Commencement Speaker. In addition, she was awarded the David L. Clark National Award for Excellence in Educational Administration Research, and the WSU Chancellor's Award for Academic Excellence. Other notable mentions are: Washington Association of School Administrators—Doyle E. Winter Scholarship; Walla Walla Public Schools—Graduate of Distinction; Rotary—Paul Harris Fellow and Group Study Exchange Team Leader to Sweden; Milken Family Foundation National Educator, and an Olympic Torch Relay Runner chosen as a local community hero.

Irene received her bachelor's degree in Education from Washington State University, her master's in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon, and her doctorate in Educational Administration from Washington State University. She also is a member of numerous professional organizations.

She is married to Kirk Hirota, a professional photographer and has two daughters, Camina and Kimiko.

Keith Kessler, Vice Chair

Expiration of term:  September 30, 2019Keith Kessler 2013

Keith Kessler is a plaintiff's personal injury attorney with the Hoquiam and Seattle Law Firm of Stritmatter Kessler Whelan, representing brain- and spinal cord-injury survivors.  He focuses his practice largely on highway and product safety.  His recent articles have addressed the need for open government.

Keith is a Fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers, having been selected from among the top 1% of trial attorneys in the United States and Canada. He has served as President of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, President of the invitation-only Damage Attorneys Round Table, and President of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Washington Chapter.  He is a member of the Washington Supreme Court's Pattern Jury Instructions Committee.

Keith was honored as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association in 1994, and as “Outstanding Plaintiff Trial Lawyer” by the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers in 2002. He has been peer-selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America since 1995, and was selected as Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury Litigation - Seattle, Washington in 2011.  Keith received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Washington in 1972.

Read Keith’s Academic Statement.

Kathleena Ly, Student Trustee

Expiration of term: June 30, 2019

Kathleena Ly Ly is a first generation Cambodian-American transfer student from Highline College. Ly currently is enrolled in the Tacoma Program with an emphasis in Public Health. Ly served as the Student Body Chief Justice as a running start student at Green River College where she was the Chairperson of the Judicial Board. Ly also served on the Commencement Speaker Committee at Green River College to select the Class of 2015 commencement speaker.

Upon graduating from Green River College with her Associate’s of Arts, she then transferred to Highline College to pursue an associate's of applied science in Human Services. Ly’s involvement with Highline College as a part-time student employee working as a Career Consultant at Highline’s Career and Student Employment Center and a member of the Opening Week Committee to coordinate the Welcome Back Day Program for Highline’s faculty and staff has been a very rewarding learning experience for her as she begins her next journey as the Student Trustee for The Evergreen State College.

Ly is also a student-athlete playing for Evergreen’s Women’s Volleyball team and has recently been awarded the Most Inspirational Award for the 2017-18 season from her coaches.

David Nicandri

Expiration of term: September 30, 2020

David Nicandri was formerly director of the Washington State Historical Society, serving from July 1987 to October 2011. A graduate of State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh, and the holder of a Master’s Degree in history from the University of Idaho, David formerly served as the chief curator of the Washington State Capital Museum. David was also elected three times to the Tumwater, Wash. city council, and was adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College.  He has served as a consulting historian in a number of capacities, including three terms as a speaker in the “Inquiring Mind” program at Humanities Washington.

David is the author of numerous books and articles, including: Olympia’s Forgotten Pioneers: The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (1972); Italians in Washington State: Emigration, 1853 – 1924 (1978); Northwest Chiefs: Gustav Sohon’s Views of the 1855 Stevens Treaty Councils (1986); and a contributing editor of Washington: Images of State’s Heritage (1988), the official centennial illustrated history of Washington; and most recently, River of Promise: Lewis and Clark on the Columbia (2010) published by the Dakota Institute and distributed nationally by Oklahoma University Press. He has published many book reviews including those that can be found in Western Historical Quarterly, Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Overland Journal, and the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

In May 2001, David received an honorary doctorate from Gonzaga University in recognition of his tenure and leadership of the Washington State Historical Society. The University of Puget Sound granted David an honorary doctorate in May 2007, and his alma mater, SUNY Plattsburgh, has named him a distinguished visiting alumnus.

Recently retired as Director of the Washington State Historical Society, David is currently researching Captain James Cook’s 18th century search for Northwest Passage and exploring that quest’s relevance to present-day issues of climate change.

Read David’s Academic Statement.