Meet the Staff
Patt Kosier- Executive Director
Patt Kosier has been the Executive Director since October 2013. Having worked in different capacities at CFI over the past 20 years, she embraces the Independent Living movement. Patt enjoys empowering others who experience disabilities to live fuller lives in the community and doing her part to insure accessibility in all walks of life. Her educational background includes a BA in Psychology; Community Work Incentive Coordinator through Virginia Commonwealth University; and a Certificate in Rehabilitation Administration from Western Washington University.
Leah Velasco- Associate Director
Leah Velasco is responsible for business operations and program design for CFI. Her primary role involves building relationships in the community, supporting the staff in providing direct services and assisting the Executive Director in securing funding. Leah received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington and has been working at CFI since 2009. She has also experienced living with various disabilities and has overcome several health challenges, which motivates her to help other people overcome adversity and reach their full potential.
Alex Hatcher-Schoenbachler - IL Supervisor - Marysville
Alex Hatcher-Schoenbachler brings eight-plus years of experience in disability and the Independent Living Philosophy. She holds a Masters in Psychology and has received multiple certifications in emergency management and community advocacy in areas such as housing and transportation. Alex has developed a strong sense of devotion for the independent living movement from her prior experience working at the state and national levels working on Inclusive Emergency Management. This experience gave her a deep appreciation and awareness of the importance of universal design and effective and inclusive communication in our communities and improving the quality of life, one person and one community at a time.
Todd Holloway- IL Educator- Lakewood
Todd Holloway is an Independent Living Educator for the Center for Independence in Lakewood. He works at the local, state, federal, and international levels on Inclusive Emergency Management. Prior to his 10 plus years at CFI, he worked in hospitals doing biomedical photography and videography. He was the media specialist in the education department at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he met the staff and the first director of CFI which was then located on the campus of Good Samaritan. He has never been more comfortable in any position than the one he is in now with CFI.
Sheryl Ellis- IL Coordinator-Lakewood
Sheryl Ellis works as an Independent Living Coordinator for the Lakewood office. Prior to working with CFI, she worked in the private sector as a Human Resources Professional specializing in Employee Relations and ADA Compliance. Sheryl has her M.A. in Dispute Resolution as well as her Professional Human Resources Certification and her ADA Coordinator Certification. She utilizes her education and experience by assisting youth and adults with developing independent living skills. Sheryl enjoys her position because she sees the confidence and happiness independent living skills brings to our participants when they learn how to effectively transition back to work, advocate for themselves, improve their organizational skills, and effectively communicate with others.
Ashley Hintz - Administrative Coordinator- Lakewood
Ashley Hintz first got involved with CFI as a volunteer in 2006 and has supported CFI in various roles. She is now CFI's Administrative Coordinator and is pursuing her degree in Emergency Management with a focus on inclusive preparedness. She has completed many trainings with FEMA in Pierce and King County and has led Emergency Preparedness workshops for CFI's participants and the community. She also coordinates the Out and About support group in Lakewood.
Aubrie Swain- RCL Lead- Lakewood
Aubrie Swain is the RCL Lead for the Lakewood office. She has a BA from Toccoa Falls College and has been with CFI since 2017. Aubrie works as a community choice guide, helping participants in nursing facilities to transition into the independent living setting of their choice. She also provides IL skills training as an IL Coordinator. Aubrie enjoys being involved in supporting people with disabilities in living their best life.
Desiree Richards - IL Coordinator- Lakewood
Desiree Richards is an Independent Living Coordinator for the Center for Independence in Lakewood, WA. She works in the RCL program assisting individuals with transitioning out of nursing homes and into the community. She also works on-one-one with individuals to provide IL skills training and advocacy. She has a BA from the University of Washington. Desiree is very involved in the community and really enjoys being able to work at CFI; sharing her knowledge and experience with the participants she works with to better help them with their own independence.
Mariah Boutte - IL Coordinator- Lakewood
Mariah is an Independent Living Coordinator dedicated to providing quality services to underserved communities. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors in Social Work and is passionate about creating lasting policy changes that start within our community. With an array of diverse life experiences and identities, Mariah brings understanding and empathy to all interactions with community members and faculty. She is excited to be working with the disability community and hopes to provide participants with the tools for self-advocacy and self-determination.
Crystal Sparks- Youth Transition Coordinator- Lakewood
Crystal Sparks is the Youth Transition Coordinator for the Lakewood office. She initially joined CFI as an intern while working on her bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare at the University of Washington. Crystal is responsible for providing specialized and traditional direct IL services to youth with disabilities between the ages of 14 to 24 years old. Crystal comes to CFI with a background working as a Behavior Technician with youth on the autism spectrum. She believes that change happens when people are given the guidance and the tools they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling, happy lives. Crystal strives to provide an environment of compassion and support to help individuals overcome obstacles to move forward and thrive.
Margaret Tangedahl- Youth Transition Coordinator -Marysville
Margaret Tangedahl joined the CFI team in 2016 as the Youth Transition Coordinator for the Marysville office. She received her BA in Human Service and Minor in Law, Diversity & Justice from Western Washington University. She works directly with youth in the schools providing pre-employment transition services, as well as working one-on-one with youth to support them in achieving their independent living goals. Margaret also facilitates a monthly youth support group and plays a significant role in planning, coordinating and facilitating CFIs annual Youth Transition Summer Workshop. Margaret has 30 years of personal and professional experience working with people who have experienced disabilities and is a passionate advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Shawn Latham- IL Coordinator- Marysville
Shawn Latham has been with CFI since 2005 first as a participant, then as a Peer Group Coordinator and now as an Independent Living Coordinator for the Marysville office. Shawn has a BS in Social Services from Central Washington University and a Web Design Certificate from the Art Institute Online. He helps assist with Out and About, CFI’s peer support group. Shawn is dedicated to helping people learn about their community and build social skills. As a person who was born with a physical disability himself, Shawn understands the challenges and complexity of dealing with a disability. Shawn is an example of how you can overcome any situation by using the skills you have and connecting with others that can help.
Tiffany Ebert - IL Coordinator - Marysville
Tiffany Ebert is an Independent Living Coordinator at the Marysville office. As a Snohomish local with the determination to create change in her community, she is dedicated to helping others thrive and reach their full potential to make an impact. She graduated from Central Washington University with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies: Social Sciences. After previous employment serving the community through DSHS, she is excited to pursue a career with an individual-driven approach to empower others, set goals in motion and watch participants soar.
Bella Hatcher- YT Program Assistant- Marysville
Bella started at CFI as a volunteer and was hired to provide office support. She is now the Youth Transition Program Assistant for the Marysville office and teaches the Driver’s Ed. Preparation class. She is pursuing her degree in Psychology and looks forward to incorporating disability awareness in her education experience.