Movers & Shakers 5/18/2021


The Ridgefield School District recently announced the hiring of Jessica Drake at its newest administrator. Drake will serve as Ridgefield’s Director of Alternative Learning Experiences (ALE) and Business Partnerships. Among other responsibilities, Drake will oversee Ridgefield’s new virtual learning program, Wisdom Ridge Academy in her new role.

Drake is currently an assistant principal at Battle Ground High School. She has been with the school and the Battle Ground Public Schools district since 2008, where she started her career in education as a Family and Consumer Science teacher. In 2019, Drake became the school’s Dean of Students before finally transitioning to her current position as an assistant principal last year. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Ridgefield School District,” Drake said. “I am excited for many reasons, but I especially look forward to developing relationships with all school and community stakeholders to create and maintain programs that not only provide personalized learning experiences, but also ensure students are prepared for successful futures no matter which career path they choose.” 

Drake has a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration with a minor in business administration from Washington State University, and a master’s in family and consumer science education from Central Washington University. Drake has also earned a Career and Technical Education Director Certificate from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and has completed Central Washington University’s Administrator Certificate program. 

Marcia Gonzales


Evergreen Home Loans recently announced that Marcia Gonzales (NMLS ID 716324) joined the Vancouver office, led by Branch Manager Leslie Girard, as a senior loan officer. Conveniently located at 204 SE Park Plaza Dr., Suite 105, Vancouver, Gonzales will provide a range of financing solutions for customers in the local area.
Working as a loan officer since 2000, Gonzales is dedicated to making the dream of homeownership a reality.

“I’m passionate about helping people understand the home financing options that are available for their unique situations, and I’m honored to walk alongside them as they navigate the financing process,” she said. “My customers are very dear to me and it’s always touching to see their excitement when they close on their home loan.”
With Evergreen’s extensive menu of affordable loan products, including solutions that are especially helpful for first-time homebuyers, Gonzales works with customers to streamline the home loan experience. She can serve them wherever they are, offering various digital mortgage tools that allow for remote financing opportunities.
Gonzales is also committed to making a difference in her community through partnerships with impactful organizations. She’s on the Board of Directors of Proud Ground, an organization that makes affordable homeownership more accessible, and volunteers as a financial coach with Save First Financial Wellness.


Clark College has announced the hiring of Brad Avakian in the role of vice president of human resources. He will begin at the college on June 10.  
“We are excited to bring someone with Brad’s breadth and depth of knowledge into this crucial leadership position at the college,” said Clark College President Karin Edwards. “His expertise will be crucial as we begin the complex work of returning to campus after more than a year in remote operations.” 
Avakian earned his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and his doctorate of law from Lewis & Clark University. For many years he worked as a lawyer specializing in civil rights cases. Later, he served in the Oregon House of Representatives and the Oregon Senate representing parts of northeast Washington County. Avakian also served three terms as Oregon’s Commissioner of Labor and Industries, during which time he was a strong advocate for career and technical education programs, as well as for equity for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Since leaving public service, Avakian has taught Politics and Public Policy for Managers in Willamette University’s MBA program and worked in private practice as a mediator and arbitrator. 
“Clark College is a historic school with an exciting and bright future,” said Avakian. “I am so grateful for the chance to join the Human Resources team and broader Clark Community. It’s good to be a Penguin.” 

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start

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