Introducing the Team……

We are so happy to introduce these wonderful people.


Gail Lavassar – Executive Director of Readiness to Learn and the South Whidbey Community Center

Gail is a graduate of Western Washington University with a B.A. in Human Services & Education and holds an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She presents at state and national conferences on the issues of rural homelessness, family support principles, and the development of school, community and family partnerships, including the development of family resource centers on school property. Recent awards include the “Best Administrator” from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children, and recognition as Youth and Hometown Hero in the local newspapers. Gail lives in South Whidbey with her husband of 28 years, John LaVassar. She has two adult children, Nick age 25, and Amanda age 24.


Mary Michell - RTL Administrative Assistant; Family Support Specialist

Family Support Specialst Mary graduated from Washington State University's online program in Human Development in 2010 and has worked for Readiness to Learn foundation since 2011. She is also the South Whidbey School District's Homeless Liaison after having been Coupeville School District's Homeless Liaison for the past four years. She was involved in the ECEAP preschool program for eight years before moving into family support service. She has lived on Whidbey for 27 years and can not imagine a better place to live. She has two sons, Xander and Nick, as well as a very sociable dog, an aloof cat and a complacent lizard.


Lauri Johnson - Family Resource Center Coordinator

Lauri Johnson started with Readiness To Learn in April 2008 and continued through June 2015. She took a short sabbatical from regular office hours and continued to facilitate support groups and individual projects. In November 2017 Lauri returned to the full spectrum of the work as the SWCC started to take form.

Lauri is certified to facilitate several parent and family education programs such as Positive Discipline, Growing up Again, Strengthening families and Nurturing Parent Program. Lauri is a lifelong learner and has a passion for working with people and helping them along side their journey.


Cailyn Murray - Volunteer and Family Support Specialist

Cailyn Murray has worked for Readiness to Learn since Feb. of 2017. She grew up on Whidbey Island and is  a 2002 graduate of Western Washington University’s Human Services program where her studies focused on the principals of family support and school based programming.

Before returning to South Whidbey in 2007 to have a family, Cailyn worked in supported living services for adults with developmental disabilities, helping people to to feel connected and involved in their community and daily life. Cailyn enjoys spending time with her husband Ken, their darling daughters Ada and June.


Kenesha Lewin - SWCC Operations Facilitator

Having lived on Whidbey Island for a year, I have come to embrace the unique culture of the Island. I have lived in three different countries and several regions of the United States and have not come across any region as special as the island.

Having a BA in Science and being an educator for over ten years, I am embracing my new role at the South Whidbey Community Center. It enables me to foster meaningful relationships and see the community from a different prospective.


Aidan Dona - Tech Coordinator

Aidan joined Readiness To Learn in December 2016 as a volunteer for the Holiday House program and he was approached by Gail Lavassar to help manage and update the RTL website. He stayed as a volunteer for a year and a half as a tech support specialist and help for creating the community center and he joined our staff in June of 2018. He is currently a student at South Whidbey High School as of fall of 2019 and is taking a computer science course at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center.