2023-2024 Skagit River Poetry Foundation Members


Molly McNulty, Executive Director

Molly Beth McNulty is a retired language arts teacher from Skagit County. She joined the board in 2003 and became executive director in 2007. A visual artist, angler, and hunter, she has a great passion for poetry.

Cora Thomas, Assistant to the Director

Cora Thomas is a published poet, advocate, and community builder; and believes in the power of the written word to inspire change. She has a passion for supporting community success whether it be a rural setting or a major university campus where she’s been working in libraries for the last eight years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies. Cora’s pen flows green with Skagit River currents her nature writing has evolved into environmental conservation advocacy. She’s a former Board President for the local nonprofit, the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center, with a mission of educating the public about the Skagit River Watershed. She enjoys hiking, writing, and baking – in that order!


Board Members

Kathleen Bisagna, Board President

Kathleen Bisagna has long been a supporter of poetry’s power to transform the content of life into the context of love. She enjoys writing, long-distance cycling, and is co-conspirator of Skagit Book & Paper Arts.

Eric Bowen, Board Member Emeritus

When he’s not swimming laps across the Skagit River, Eric can be found singing Welsh folk songs at the Mount Vernon Highland Games and Celtic Arts Festival. He supports his hobbies by working as an accountant.

Gail Bruce, Board Member

Gail Bruce works at Skagit Valley College where she has served students in several positions on both the Whidbey Island and Mount Vernon Campuses. Currently, she is a faculty counselor in Mount Vernon. Gail lives in La Conner with her husband Tim and has two grown daughters.

Tim Bruce, Board Member Emeritus

Tim Bruce is the co-founder of the Skagit River Poetry Project and has been an adjunct instructor in the School Administration program in Woodring since 2011 and in the fall of 2016 he joined WWU as an Assistant Professor.

Sherry Chavers, Board Member Emeritus

Sherry Chavers is a recent retiree from the Anacortes School District with a passion for promoting literacy skills through poetry with children of all ages. She has been on the board since 2013.

Erik Christensen, Board Member

Erik Christensen is the head of the English Department at Oak Harbor High School, and an adjunct professor for Central Washington University. In addition to songs and poetry, Erik writes the “Play That Song Again” music blog for Whidbey Life Magazine.

Gail Davern, Board Member Emeritus

Gail Davern is a poet and a professor of English at Skagit Valley College on Whidbey Island. She has been on the board since 2012. Her new poetry collection, From the Island at the End of Winter was published by Finishing Line Press.

Steven Dolmatz, Board Member

Steven Dolmatz is a retired English teacher from Squalicum High School in Bellingham. He joined the board in 1998, and has been on the Skagit River Poetry Festival’s music committee since 1999 and the poet selection committee since 2002. Steve has been Board President since 2016.

Maryrose Eannace, Board Member

Dr. Maryrose Eannace served as Vice President for Learning and Academic Affairs for 10 years at Mohawk Valley Community College. Dr. Eannace has had a career in education spanning nearly 30 years. Prior to her position at MVCC, she served as Dean of Academic Education at Skagit Valley College in Washington, as well as in faculty, and as Director of Theatre and Division Chair at Cazenovia College. Additionally, she served as an adjunct instructor at Pratt at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute and most recently at MVCC and SUNY Poly.

Britta Eschete

Appreciator of intriguing words, detailed descriptions and linguistic life filled with books. Since moving to Skagit County in 2000 from Bremerton, Britta has become a dedicated Skagitonian dividing her surplus time between volunteering with the Lincoln Theatre, Celtic Arts Foundation, Riversong Farm, serving on the board of the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, and various community activities. She works in the Career Services Center at Western Washington University and is committed to expanding the definition of career success to include professional and personal accomplishments to support a more equitable world. She has a 28 year old daughter, Noelle Eschete and two young grandchildren – Reina and Davina.

Anna Ferdinand, Board Member

Anna Ferdinand teaches English and journalism at Sedro-Woolley High School.  She has worked in Education since 2008 and has had the privilege of working in classrooms that have hosted poets through the Skagit River Poetry Foundation for most of those years. Prior being an educator, Anna worked as a journalist, a baker, and an index proofreader.  She has two wonderful kids in high school who she loves to the moon and back and then some.

Jessica Gigot, Board Member Emertius

Jessica Gigot is a poet, farmer, teacher and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, WA called Harmony Fields that makes artisan sheep cheese and grows organic herbs. Her first book of poems, Flood Patterns, was published by Antrim House Books in 2015 and her writing has been published in several regional and national journals, including Floating Bridge Press Review, Pilgrimage, About Place Journal, and Poetry Northwest.

Elli Gildnes, Board Member

Elli Gildnes spent several years as a teacher at The American School of Paris where she co-hosted an international digital poetry/film festival and facilitated the visits of US poet laureates to schools in the Paris region and ambassador’s residence. Later, as an administrator at The French American School of Puget Sound in Mercer Island, WA she worked to bring bilingual poets into area schools. With more than 20 years in public and private education, she holds degrees in teaching, administration and curriculum design with a focus on dual language, arts integration and social emotional learning. Elli has enjoyed