We warmly welcomed Sheryl Harmer to the Whidbey Institute board in the fall of 2013!
She comes to us with an Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a background in organization development. Her recent professional experience has been in helping not-for-profits, businesses, and public entities become stronger and more effective through her work as a principal at MacDonald Boyd and Associates. She also has a passion for social and emotional learning, and is a strategist working on awareness, policy, and practice in that field. She promotes every child’s right to a rich learning environment. “Good schools and good teachers and good principals have always understood how important it is to teach to the whole child, and to nurture the whole child,” she said. “The social and emotional skills as well as the academic skills [should be] a basic part of every child’s education.”
Sheryl first came into contact with the Whidbey Institute’s work through her husband Steve Boyd, who was on our board for several years. She said that the land, people, and programs here really resonated with her from the start, as she saw this place first through Steve’s eyes and then through the eyes of others whom she deeply respected. “Relationships are at the heart of what’s continued to draw me [to the Institute],” she said. “It has been a grounding force for a number of people I highly respect.”
When Sheryl’s board service began in November of 2013, she found herself forming new and deeper connections with her fellow board members. The November retreat was their first gathering as a group. Her impressions? “It was a really meaningful conversation with thoughtful, bright, dedicated, and committed people.” Sheryl was immediately struck by the resonance among the team, as well as the diversity of thought and the depth of passionate commitment present on the board.
When it comes to board business, Sheryl’s bringing her program development expertise to the table—helping to ensure that we’re delivering our mission through programming in such a way that our organizational values are honored, relationships are supported, and learning is encouraged. She’s also eager to help build connections to the Whidbey Institute among Seattle residents.
Sheryl’s home life, family, volunteerism, and professional life are deeply intertwined and mutually enriching. She’s a proud grandmother, avid gardener, and great nature lover. Her Greenlake home offers the right balance of urban life and natural beauty, and she enjoys working with her husband. “It’s always been very important to me to live and walk the talk—to be in integrity, and to know each other first as human beings. That’s an important piece that my husband and I live through MacDonald Boyd and Associates. We’re about human beings trying to work in concert with each other.”