Board of Directors

Board Member Bios

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

Board Member Since November 2018

District No. 1 includes all of Asotin-Anatone, Clarkston, Dayton, Kahlotus, Othello, Pomeroy, and Starbuck, 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 51 years to his wife, Shirley, and together they have two daughters and three grandchildren.  They reside in Pomeroy.


Kara Kaeler

District No. 2 – Kara Kaelber

Board Member Since September 2017

District No. 2 includes all of Columbia, 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. 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, Board Chair

District No. 3 includes part of Walla Walla and all of College Place.

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 part of Pasco.

Cara Broeckel is a project manager for a software company. 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 49 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. 
Linda Stephenson

District No. 7 – Linda Stephenson

Board Member Since June 2022

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

Linda Stephenson has served as an Adjunct Mathematics faculty member at Columbia Basin College in Pasco since 2003. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management from Washington State University. Ms. Stephenson is active in coaching Kennewick School District math teams, and runs statewide math competitions for elementary through high school students as a Regional Director for the Math Is Cool organization.


Steven Landon

District No. 8 – Steven Landon

Board Member Since July 2001

District No. 8 includes parts of Kennewick and Prosser.

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 and Prosser.

Lee Ann Dudney is a Software Program Manager in Computing and Analytics Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics 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. Lee Ann has served on numerous education, youth, and professional boards and committees. She resides in West Richland and has two children and one grandchild.

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