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Administrative & Support Staff

Our doors are always open to students and parents. Each member of the administrative staff joins the faculty in a holistic approach to education - we are here to listen, teach, and learn along with our students.


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Barrie Hillman - Head of School.  B.A. (History), Boston College; M.Ed., John Carroll University. Barrie began teaching in the early 1990’s at St. Mary’s School in Medford, Oregon and The Evergreen School in Seattle, WA. She's been at West Sound Academy since the fall of 2008, serving as a teacher and administrator after spending many years in the corporate and consulting fields. Returning to education after working in business has been akin to putting on glasses and having everything in life come back in to focus. Barrie and her husband have lived in Poulsbo for fourteen years and are busy chasing after two kids and a chocolate lab. Winter weekends are reserved for skiing at White Pass and summer days are spent preparing for the upcoming year and digging in the West Sound vegetable garden.


Jim Kolb - Director of Finance and Operations. B.A. (Zoology), B.A. (Ecology), M.S. (Wildland Resource Science) University of California, Berkeley. Starting his professional life as a Research Scientist, Jim traversed the west coast studying all things living. When his wife settled on earning a teaching credential, Jim went along for the ride and found his life’s passion as an educator. His ability to create and write successful curriculum led him to a role as Curriculum Developer and manager for a regional marine science consortium and, thence to a Principal Investigator position for a National Science Foundation national teacher-training program where he further honed his financial management and “fix anything” skills. Jim has been playing all three roles: teacher, administrator and handyperson at West Sound Academy since its beginning in 1998. He enjoys dancing and the beaches of Puget Sound.


Lisa Gsellman - Director of Admissions. B.A. (Biology), Pacific Lutheran University. Prior to joining the West Sound Community in 2007, Lisa worked at Sage Manufacturing on Bainbridge Island as an administrative assistant. She had been a mentor to teens for 10 years through the Bainbridge Island Teen Center. She is a member of Soroptimist International of Greater North Kitsap, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in our community and the world. Lisa and her husband live in Indianola with their two children and their sweet old dog. Her family has hosted international students from Serbia, China, Germany, and South Korea over the last four years. She loves to spend her time at the beach with friends and family, fly fishing, camping and playing with her kids.


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Angie Gangi - Office Manager. B.A. Magna cum Laude (Communications, emphasis Broadcast Journalism) University of La Verne. M.A. (Elementary Education) University of Phoenix.  As a journalism student, Angie interned at ABC National News in Los Angeles for two years where she wrote online articles and helped with major news stories. She has been involved in education for more than fifteen years as a parent volunteer and student teacher. She became a certified teacher in 2009. Angie and her daughter, Alyssa, moved to Washington from California in 2011. She is a Leukemia survivor and has been a patient mentor to other cancer patients going through bone marrow transplantation. Since joining the West Sound Academy family in 2011 Angie has been a member of the Parent Community Association and Auction Committee, and has seen her family grow while hosting students from Turkey, Slovakia, Indonesia and China. She enjoys traveling, yoga, cooking vegan foods, selling Scentsy and being with friends and family.


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Elizabeth Butler - Business Manager. Before coming to West Sound Academy, Elizabeth was the bookkeeper at Paladin Data Systems, a Poulsbo software development company, for seven years. Elizabeth has gained experience in many aspects of financial recordkeeping and business management through other work she has done in the private sector, including ten years at the Kitsap Mall Management Office as bookkeeper, mall security dispatcher, and even occasional undercover surveillance officer. While at West Sound, Elizabeth has enjoyed working with the students and parents in our community. She helps organize school social events and has hosted a student from Sweden. In her spare time, Elizabeth builds custom furniture with her husband Todd for their business, The Butler Did It. Elizabeth’s hobbies include reading and managing their 100-pound Belgian Malinois, Zeke.


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Catherine Freeman - College Counselor; Registrar. B.S. (Chemistry), Scripps College, Cum Laude.  Catherine’s thesis topic “Analysis of Correlations in Concentrations of Ambient Particulate Matter Analyzed By a Particle-Into-Liquid Sampler Ion Chromatography System” underscores her commitment to mathematics as a tool, an approach she employs in both her mathematics and chemistry classes. This approach has helped Catherine guide her AP Calculus students to consistently score highly on their exams. Catherine has taught at West Sound Academy since 2007. While at West Sound Catherine has served as chaperone on many school trips, everything from National Outdoor Leadership School treks through the Utah wilderness to more civilized tours of Oregon colleges.  Catherine also helped coached West Sound Academy's Knowledge Bowl team to victories in regional and statewide competitions. She enjoys the beach and being on the water.


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Lionel Pummell - Director of Technology.  A life long Kitsap county resident, Lionel has worked in the Information Technology field for over twenty-five years. He has worked both for major corporations and small businesses, currently working part time for a local software company in addition to his duties at West Sound Academy. Lionel also brings instructional experience to West Sound having been an instructor at Olympic College for eight years teaching Information and Business Technology courses. While at West Sound Lionel has enjoyed working with the students while mentoring the Robotics Club, he's always enjoyed “watching the light bulb come on” when some one learns something. In his off time he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and of course working on computers.


Susan Trower - Librarian / Textbook Coordinator. B.A. Summa cum Laude (Business Administration, Accounting), University of Washington.   After graduation and passing the CPA exam, Susan worked as a management accountant at Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company.  She left the office to start a family, and then rediscovered her childhood love of books and reading when she volunteered at the libraries of her daughters’ schools.  After mentorship from some outstanding independent school librarians and additional training, Susan became the librarian at Evergreen Academy in Bothell, then Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue.  Susan has been at West Sound Academy since 2005, working as the librarian, website editor, Queer-Straight Alliance advisor, and coach (with Catherine Freeman and Lionel Pummell) of the WSA Knowledge Bowl (KB) team.  She enjoys reading (of course) and spoiling her mini-dachshund, Wally.



Derek Burns - Landscape Maintenance. A North Kitsap native, Derek owns a landscaping business and has been taking care of residential and business clients in the area for over twenty years. Derek plays guitar in a band and enjoys fishing in his spare time.


Ken Ford - Custodian. After a long career in the Navy, Ken retired and started his own business doing custom auto detailing. Ken also owns a janitorial firm, and has worked taking care of West Sound Academy’s facilities since 2006. Ken enjoys sharing in the athletic and academic activities of his son, and sings and plays the drums for a gospel band.


Valerie Allen-Keane - Murphy House Resident Advisor.  BBA (Business Administration in Operations Management) American InterContinental University; AAS (Associate of Arts and Sciences, concentration in French and German), Olympic College. Valerie grew up in West Bremerton and graduated with honors from Bremerton High School in 2001. Her love for cinema led her to be fully involved on the production of an independent film, and she later become a projectionist and House Manager for Mann Theatres in Southern California. She decided to come back home to Kitsap County in 2012, where Valerie taught reading groups to K-2 students and assisted with behavior interventions at PineCrest Elementary in the Central Kitsap School District through AmeriCorps. She has held many culinary positions that have further solidified her skills and love for cooking and baking. Her AmeriCorps experience has inspired her to be an American Red Cross volunteer; Valerie helps in their office and goes out on events in the community with the First Aid Station Team. She also enjoys reading, hiking, camping, ceramics, beading, board games, Mad Libs, inspirational quotes and sharing her love for learning with her daughter Audrey!


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Thuraia Awni - Murphy House Relief Resident Advisor.  B.S.B.A. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Marketing Concentration), Boston University. After graduating from college, Thuraia worked in several business environments including a bank and an HMO. She continued to work in the business world until after the birth of her first son. She has been teaching her five boys at home for the past 11 years. Prior to her recent move to Poulsbo, Thuraia worked at the Tahoma Audubon Society in University Place. Thuraia’s extensive traveling throughout Europe and Asia, as well as the opportunity to live abroad in the Middle East and Africa, has broadened her perspective and appreciation of cultural diversity. It has also expanded her repertoire of recipes, which she often tries on her willing family. In her spare time, Thuraia enjoys volunteering with her family at the Adriana Hess Wetland Park, challenging her sons to manga drawing competitions, and working in her vegetable garden.