2021 Leader of Distinction announced

Presented at the 2021 virtual Leadership Luncheon by Liza Jacobsen, YWCA board member

We certainly hoped that by May 2021 we’d be at the Marcus Whitman Hotel giving this award in person, but Walla Walla County isn’t quite there yet. So here’s one more virtual award.

As part of the Walla Walla Public Schools team as well as YWCA board member, I’m proud to present the 2021 YWCA Leader of Distinction award.

This child of a pharmacist and a second-grade teacher spent her life in the service of education.

When she came to Walla Walla in 1990 as superintendent of the Walla Walla Public Schools, she had earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate in educational leadership.

More important was her 30 years’ experience in every phase of K through 12 education. She knew that the most important work took place in the classroom. She liked to say we are “educating children for their future, not our past.” Her student-focused leadership resulted in open communication and stronger Walla Walla schools.

She became an active Rotarian and a YMCA board member, where she served for the next 15 years — five as the first woman to be board president. She was a member of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation and the Providence St. Mary Medical Center boards of directors, each for nine years, as well as the Providence Medical System board that oversees facilities throughout the western US.

During her busy career and her equally busy retirement, she found time to continue supporting many community organizations, including the YWCA.

She was an advisor on our capital campaign and continues to serve as a valued advisor to the board and staff.

We are so proud to recognize and thank this amazing woman who has encouraged, helped, and inspired women, children, and families here and around the state. Today we present the YWCA 2021 Leader of Distinction Award to a wonderful friend of the YWCA, Ellen Wolf.