WOU announces new trustees confirmed to the board

 The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees welcomes new members Susan Castillo, Leah Mitchell, Dr. David Foster (faculty) and Danielle Campbell (student), as well as a second term for Malissa Larson (staff).


“The board is excited to work with our new members and looks forward to having their voices join our important conversations as we continue to fulfill our mission and Strategic Plan,” said Betty Komp, board chair. “WOU’s diverse leadership board ensures decisions that will position the university for growth and development in the future.”


Susan Castillo smiling and facing the cameraSusan Castillo joins the board as a member at-large. Castillo retired in 2018 as vice president of the west region for Project Lead The Way, an organization that develops STEM curricula for K-12 schools. Prior to that, Castillo served as the elected superintendent of public instruction for Oregon where she implemented education reforms, such as rigorous high school diploma standards, Common Core State Standards and a statewide online adaptive testing system. From 1997-2002, she served as a senator in the Oregon Legislature and was both the first Hispanic woman in the state’s legislature and the first to serve as an Oregon statewide elected official. Castillo earned a bachelor’s in communications from Oregon State University and a certificate from Harvard’s Executive Leadership Program for Educators.



Leah Mitchell smiling and facing the cameraLeah Mitchell is also joining the board as a member at-large. Mitchell is the chief integration officer at Salem Health, where she is responsible for the information technology strategy and computer systems that support enterprise goals and supporting the integration of Kaizen principles to improve quality and safety for patients. She also oversees organizational strategy deployment, risk management, quality, safety and education programs. She has been with Salem Health for 15 years in a variety of nursing and leadership positions. Prior to moving to Oregon, Mitchell worked as a leader for a cardiac medical group in Texas. She is a registered nurse with a background in cardiovascular and intensive care nursing, a certified pilot and flight instructor, and was a high school teacher for several years. Mitchell holds a Master of Science in Nursing, an associate’s in nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Aviation, a Bachelor of Science in Business, and a teaching certification in secondary education.



David Foster smiling and facing the cameraDr. David Foster will offer a faculty voice on the WOU board. He joined WOU in 1999 and currently serves as a professor in the Psychological Sciences department, director of the Creativity Research Lab, and program coordinator for the Organizational Leadership master’s program. His areas of academic specialization include creativity, leadership, teamwork, and group decision making. His current research focuses on measuring creativity using a variety of techniques. His work experience as a psychologist includes facilitating organizational development for various federal government agencies as an internal consultant with the Office of Personnel Management. Foster is a former neonatal respiratory therapist and obtained his doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The George Washington University.



Danielle Campbell smiling and facing the cameraDanielle Campbell has joined the board as a WOU student. She is a Computer Science major who plans to graduate in 2022. She works as the Associated Students of Western Oregon University chief of staff and has worked for other campus departments, including supporting web design in Strategic Communications and Marketing and front desk support for Accounting and Business Services.




Malissa Larson smiling and facing the cameraMalissa Larson is returning for a second term serving in WOU’s staff seat. Larson works as assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of Disability Services. She joined WOU in 2000 as the accommodations coordinator. Between 2005 and 2008, Larson worked as a mental health counselor for Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults at a non-profit organization and a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state of Oregon before returning to WOU. She serves on several campus committees, such as the University Budget Advisory Committee, CARE team and the Emergency Preparation team. Larson received a bachelor’s in American Sign Language/English Interpretation and a master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis in Deafness from WOU.

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