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Administrative & Support Staff

Administrative Staff 

Elizabeth Butler
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, running and managing their 100-pound Belgian Malinois, Zeke.
Catherine Freeman
Catherine Freeman - College Counselor; Registrar.  B.S. (Chemistry), Scripps College, Cum Laude. Catherine has taught at West Sound Academy since 2007, served as College Counselor since 2011 and Registrar since 2012.  Her organizational skills and attention to detail as well as commitment to building relationships have resulted in great success among WSA graduates with admissions as well as scholarship awards. 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.
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.
Lisa Gsellman
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 has been a mentor and advocate for teens and tweens for 17 years volunteering in organizations such as Girls on the Run, Soroptomist of Greater North Kitsap, and The Bainbridge Island Teen Center. Lisa and her husband live in Indianola with their two children and their energetic dog, Aida. One of her family's greatest joys has been hosting international students over the past several years.  Their international family now extends to Serbia, China, Germany, South Korea and Sweden. She loves to spend her time at the beach with friends and family, fly fishing, camping and playing with her kids and dog.
Jim Kolb
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.
Lionel Pummell
Lionel Pummell - Director of Technology.  A lifelong 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 as a Database Analyst and support specialist. 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 his time teaching, he's always enjoyed “watching the light bulb come on” when someone learns something. His personal passions of gaming and trivia have led to his involvement with the Knowledge Bowl team and starting the Strategy Gaming Club. In his off time he enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and of course working on computers.
Susan Trower - Librarian; Textbook Coordinator; Website 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 children's 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.
shuree waggoner
Shuree WaggonerCounselor.  B.A. (Psychology) University of Washington. M.Ed. (Counseling) Seattle University. Shuree has over ten years professional experience working as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist. She has worked as a Contract Therapist, Advocate, and Group Facilitator at various social service agencies including Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), YWCA and Eastside Domestic Violence Program. In addition to her private practice, she worked with individuals and families as a Mental Health Specialist at Overlake Hospital. She is the owner and therapist of EmpowersYou Counseling Services in Redmond and Bainbridge Island.

Residential Student Support Staff

valeria allen-keane 2015
Valerie Allen-KeaneDirector of Residential Life.  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 is a native Pacific Northwesterner. 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!


Thuraia Awni - Relief Resident Teacher.  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.

 lizmcneil 1

Elizabeth McNeil - Resident Teacher. B.A. English Literature with a Writing Emphasis. Minor in History, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.  Liz grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. Her intense curiosity led her to travel to British Columbia, Brazil, and France before she graduated high school in 2005. In college, Liz studied abroad in London, England, and toured Ireland and Scotland. After graduating college in 2009, she moved to Xi’an, China, where she taught English language and literature at Peihua University and Northwest University. In 2012, she moved with her husband to Bremerton, Washington. While in Bremerton, Liz tutored children in Math and Reading at Crownhill Elementary School through Americorps. Since 2014, she has been a volunteer at the American Red Cross. Liz enjoys yoga, language learning, and the outdoors.

Other Support Staff

Derek Burns
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
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.

Canine Co-workers

Aida Gsellman
Aida - Admissions Assistant.  Aida has been with West Sound Academy for two years serving as assistant to owner and Director of Admissions, Lisa Gsellman. Her role to greet all visitors and break the ice with new applicants has proven invaluable. In her spare time, she enjoys romping the beaches of Indianola and guarding the bird feeders from naughty squirrels.


Fancy - Assistant College Counselor.  Fancy first joined owner and College Counselor, Catherine Freeman at WSA in spring of 2014 and has served as assistant college counselor and unofficial “math” dog ever since.  Soothing the strained nerves of seniors over personal essays and college applications during individual consultations with Ms. Freeman, Fancy reminds us all that everything always has a way of working out.  Outside of her busy work schedule, Fancy enjoys running faster than the speed of sound and snuggling in her owner’s lap.
Zeke Butler
Zeke - Accounting Assistant.  Zeke has served as WSA’s accounting assistant for seven years helping owner and Business Manager, Elizabeth Butler, mind the numbers. He will often be seen stoically standing guard over the confidential financial documents from his strategically placed bed in the business office. When not crunching numbers, Zeke enjoys taking naps and playing with his stuffed teddy bear, “Dude”.

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