Before Spark Central, there were two organizations:  Spark Center and INK Art Space. The seeds of the original Spark Center were planted in Summer 2014 when local community leaders Jim and Joe Frank of Greenstone Homes, Ben Stuckart of Spokane City Council, Vinny Alfonso of Gonzaga University's School of Education, and Debra Park, a Kendall Yards resident, gathered to talk about library and education needs in the West Central Community. Greenstone Homes and Greenstone Foundation made a commitment to move forward with plans to create a “library of the future” for West Central community and beyond.

On the other side of town, INK Art Space, a youth arts education program founded by Spokane novelist Jess Walter and artist/developer Dan Spalding in 2014, was growing thanks to the leadership of Mischa Jakupcak, an award winning writer, director and film producer.

Spark Center and INK Art Space collaborated closely for a year, and by July 2016, these two mighty organizations merged to form Spark Central, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a focus on igniting the creativity, innovation, and imagination necessary for people to forge the path to their best future.



President, Program Committee Chair

Jessica Wade is a senior account director at DH, a PR, advertising and branding firm. She is an English nerd who loves writing (and editing even more). She also paints watercolors (expressionist, colorful, animal subject matter). She loves nature walks, her office plants, opera, and good conversation with friends.

Kate Lebo

PAST President

Kate is a writer, teacher, and baker raised and educated on the wet half of Washington State. Now a proud resident of Spokane, she’s the author of the cookbook Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter, and her writing has appeared in Best American Essays 2015 and Best New Poets. She comes with a long history of arts organizing, including half a decade working for Richard Hugo House, Seattle’s literary arts center.



Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Sandra began her professional life as a registered nurse where she developed mad organizational skills. After moving to Spokane in 1992, raising two daughters and serving on the Boards of the Spokane Symphony and the Fox Theater, she "drank the Kool-aid" to become a fundraiser (it's a thing!), first for the Spokane Public Library and now for KSPS Public Television. She is a dedicated Spokane booster and delighted to participate at Spark Central.

Jim Frank


Jim was born and raised in Spokane.  Graduated form Gonzaga University with a degree in Chemical Engineering and later a Juris Doctorate degree.  Practiced environmental and natural resource law for 10 years and then founded Greenstone Corporation in 1983.  CEO of Greenstone Corporation a regional real estate and development company.



James Kashork brings over 20 years’ experience in founding, leading, and growing non-profit organizations. He founded Spokane Urban Ministries, a faith-based, 501(c)3 non-profit affordable housing development corporation. Whether it’s through program development or creating spaces that meet the needs of the community James believes strongly in creating opportunity for others.

Rick Eichstaedt

Despite being a lawyer, Rick Eichstaedt loves art, literature, and the creative side of life. When Rick isn’t chasing his two children, he's working for justice as a lawyer and acting as adjunct professor of law at Gonzaga University. Rick is also a resident and proud cheerleader for the West Central neighborhood.



Stephanie Delarosa is the executive director of the Greenstone Foundation.


Vincent Alfonso

Vincent C. Alfonso, PhD, is former Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, New York City. He is now the Dean of the School of Education at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.



Recently retired from a tremendously rewarding career as a teacher/administrator in public education, Mike is really excited about his next chapter in life, which will include extensive involvement with projects that bring together and support all people of Spokane.

Michelle Starry


Michelle is the President of Starry Financial Group and has lived in Spokane her whole life, raising 2 amazing children, Michael and Margaret, who are also active in arts and literature. She is passionate about the arts in public education and local sustainability, and has been driven by community outreach from her teenage years. Michelle is a past member of multiple development committees in Spokane, including the board of the YWCA, Spokane Children’s Theatre, and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. When Michelle isn’t focusing on her participation in community oriented programs for Spokane, you can find her with her husband, Dave, her dog, and two crazy kittens. An admirer of Spark since its inception, Michelle is thrilled to be joining its board.

PAST BOARD MEMBERS TO WHOM we are grateful: 

 Co-Founder Jess Walter

Co-Founder Jess Walter


ERIC WOODARD (2015-2018)

Rebecca Chadwell (2014-2017)

PAMELA MOGEN (2015-2016)

Joy Peltier (2015-2016)

DEBRA PARK (2015-2016)


Brooke Matson

Executive Director · CHIEF ENGINEER

Brooke Matson is a poet and educator. She attended Gonzaga University where she received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Educational Leadership. A National Board Certified Teacher, Matson taught for seven wonderful years at Mead Alternative High School, and has presented workshops to K-12 teachers in Washington and Idaho on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and integrating human rights concepts into curriculum. She is a 2016 Artist Trust GAP recipient and was awarded the Spokane Arts Award for Collaboration in 2016.



Kate Reed is a jane-of-all-trades who loves to do everything and meet everyone all the time. Her interests are often intense and fleeting, but there are some constants: writing, reading, testing her cartwheeling skills, jumping on as many bandwagons as she can manage. In addition to working at Spark, she hangs out with her husband and son, teaches at Whitworth University, and is the fiction editor at Rock & Sling




Wilson is a Spokane native with passions for learning, creative problem-solving and chicken. He discovered Spark Central as a volunteer after returning to Spokane from a seven-year stint in Seattle, where he graduated from the University of Washington and worked in the field of political research. Wilson is a long-time enthusiast for roleplaying and strategic games, doodling and fiction-writing. He is energized and propelled by helping and learning about the needs and interests of others.




Melissa is a Houston, Texas native who found herself in Spokane five years ago thanks to EWU’s creative writing MFA program. She is an emotional sponge and problem-solver who loves to read, write, and explore, and when in doubt says YES to new experiences. Melissa seeks to give others support, warmth, and respect in everything she does, and is as passionate about helping learners of all ages gain skills as she is about learning and doing new things herself. 





Sharma Shields is the author of Favorite Monster: Stories and The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac: a novel. She grew up in Spokane and recently received the Spokane Arts Imagination Award. Her passions include public libraries, women in literature, and monsters from mythology & fairy tales. She lives on the South Hill with her husband, writer and artist Simeon Mills, and their two young children.




Ellen Welcker is a poet and author of Ram Hands, The Botanical Garden and several chapbooks. She organizes literary events locally and nationally, and rides a two-wheeler now.


Liz Rognes

Girls Rock Lab mastermind

Liz is a writer, musician, and teacher. She teaches writing in the English department at Eastern Washington University and has worked in the past as a music teacher and a curriculum writer for youth music camps. Her writing has been featured in various publications, and she has released two music albums. She loves to sing, and she lives in Spokane with her partner and their son. She is proud to be one of the founders of Girls Rock Lab!

Kelli Crawford.png



Kellie is a Spokane native who loves taking chances, making mistakes, and getting messy with all things science! When she's not acting as the Education Manager at Mobius Science Center, she can be found tabletop gaming or curled up with a cat or two reading a great book.


Anne-Claire Mitchell

Artist Trust

Anne-Claire enjoys collaborative and cross-disciplinary art, and intersecting 2-D work, digital media, and music. She co-founded the Richmond Art Collective (RAC) in downtown Spokane and manages operations at RAC’s primary exhibition space.  Anne-Claire also serves as Spokane’s Program Coordinator for the statewide organization Artist Trust, and is involved with several other Spokane-based arts organizations and programs.  She takes lawn sports very seriously.   




Assistant to the Editor

Sir Hamish Snozzelwit III, affectionately known as Snoz, is a hippopotamus amphibius with a proud weight of 3,000 pounds. He prefers swamp lettuce to the iceberg kind, and admits a partiality to parsnips. Having written twenty-two essays on the subject of the Oxford comma, Snoz will sit on anyone who forgets to put it in its proper place.

Editor Bucket

Penelope Bucket

Magnanimous EDITOR

Editor Penelope Bucket has been an editor for nearly 77 years, is a Virgo, and loves water chestnuts. She highly recommends time travel, particularly the Cretaceous Period. She prides herself on having good taste in imaginative stories, and wishes everyone to know that Snoz owes her a new desk for chewing away the left corner of hers—an aggressive habit that simply MUST stop.