Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Volunteer Bios



Co-Regional Advisors

Co-Regional Advisor
Laura Byrd wrote her first picture book in high school, “My Tummy Grumble,” but never considered writing professionally. Based on her first attempt, she believes that was a good thing. That all changed in 2005 when she joined the SCBWI. She now writes picture books and young adult novels and has sold her work to Highlights and The Friend magazines. She has 5 children, 2 cats, 1 husband, and no room left on her bookshelves. Find her on Twitter, @TheWriteByrd.

Co-Regional Advisor
Kim Kasch has been married for 30 years, she’s a mother of three, and was a foster parent for disabled children for 5 years. She’s written articles for Pockets, Skipping Stones, Romantic Homes, Birds & Blooms, Today’s Christian Woman, Woman’s Touch, Guide, Winner, Wee Ones, Our Family, The Writer, IRT, Good Old Days, Writer’s Digest, The Black Lily, Outer Darkness, and Herb Quarterly. Read some of her articles at and stop by her blog at



Advisory Committee (AdCom)

Art and Layout Editor – Newsletter
Jenny Schrader grew up outside of a very small town (pop. 8) in Kansas (yes, she’s a real farmer’s daughter), but moved to Portland to attend Reed College in the 90s, so she figures she’s a true Oregonian now. Especially since she married a Portland native. (Although every real native she meets informs her that it doesn’t count.)

She spends much of her time writing, gardening, taking care of her “farm” (one dog, one cat, and the chickens), doing far too much knitting, traveling (though never enough), and working for the fabulous glass artist Roger Thomas at Roger Thomas Glass. Although it’s not really working. Most of it is making sure he’s not watching YouTube videos of cats and theremin players while he’s supposed to be in the studio throwing glass around.


Critique Group Coordinator
Lori Ubell lives in outer Southeast Portland, where she has written two Middle Grade fantasy books and a YA historical novel, all awaiting discovery in the slush pile of that special agent. She also grows tomatoes and, if last year is any indication, will be bringing the largess to SCBWI events throughout the summer and fall. 

Event Coordinator

Good News and Articles Editor – Newsletter
facebookWeb300cropped Arlene Williams is the author of the award-winning Dragon Soup and Tiny Tortilla, plus Tales from the Dragon’s Cave and other books. She received a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno, and writes picture books, non-fiction, middle grade, and young adult. As a graphic designer, she also enjoys creating digital art. She has been writing for decades and could never imagine life without stories running through her thoughts and dreams. She loves exploring the forests of the Pacific Northwest, hunting for photos and inspiration.


Great Critique Coordinator
Lisa Gerlits is a writer, muralist, and children’s art teacher. She spent ten years traveling and volunteering before settling down with her Dutch husband and three kids in Silverton, Oregon. She enjoys gorging on berries, walking behind waterfalls, and wholeheartedly following new ideas that cross her path. Her recent fascinations include: haiku, fledgling scrub jays, and the French Revolution. Her debut middle-grade novel A MANY FEATHERED THING will release from Capstone in March of 2020. Yay!

Visit her online at

Illustrator Coordinator
Robyn2 Robyn Waters began her professional art career at the age of fourteen when she drew a series of portraits of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, printed them on her architectural father’s blueprint machine and sold them at her high school for 50 cents a piece–score! The rest of her life has waltzed around a fairly similar ballroom, until recently, when she decided to create stories to partner up with her art. Now she’s ambidextrous, and delighted to have a full dance card!

Our SCBWI Oregon website logo and our banner were designed by Robyn.


Illustrator At Large
Sheryl Murray Sheryl Murray is an illustrator and writer living in Portland, Oregon with her two daughters, two cats and a head full of characters and stories just begging to be told.

To see more of her work and say hello, visit her illustration website at

Library/Bookstore Liaison & The Write Direction Coordinator
Deb Bartsch is creatively inspired by little ones, life, love and nature, plus a sweet pastry, or two.

“I write and draw both fiction and nonfiction from a kid’s eye view of the world. My debut picture book, Crow Spirit, was published in 2019 by Clear Fork Publishing!

“I love SCBWI and learn so much from all of you. Truly blessed and very grateful to be in this tribe of beautifully creative people.”


You can also find her here:

New Member Liaison
As New Member Liaison, Nina Nolan plans to gush gratitude for SCBWI (she’s been a member for over 20 years). At, there’s information about her picture book, Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens (HarperCollins, 2015), including a 4-minute video of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s former speechwriter confirming that during the, “I Have a Dream,” speech, Mahalia Jackson called out, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin,” that he heard her, and that it changed the course of the historic speech.

 Newsletter Editor
  Barbara Herkert is the author of three picture book biographies: Sewing Stories, Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter and A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider. She is represented by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her family and spends creative time in a log cabin in Central Oregon.


The Next Level Co-coordinators
Judi Gardiner is a retired elementary school librarian where she lived in her kingdom of books for 26 years. She fell in love with words and books as soon as she discovered that they could transport her to new and exciting worlds. She loved to share that “secret” for many years by putting books into the hands of children at her school. Her goal was to teach kiddos to love books as she did. Nothing made her happier than a child coming back with book in hand asking for another.

She writes YA Historical fiction and her fondest wish is that someday a librarian somewhere will place her book into the hands of a child.

Judi is also a Regional Advisor Emerita.

Oanh Jordan is the founder of Tiny Triumph Co., a literary marketing consulting firm in Portland, Oregon. She is a branding and online marketing expert with over 10+ years in corporate marketing and sales. Over the last three years Oanh has combined her passion for children’s lit with her ability to build trust between businesses and customers. She has helped several traditionally published authors and illustrators grow online audiences so they can sell more books, land more lucrative opportunities, and create new levels of success for their careers. She has contributed marketing articles to SCBWI and several online publications. To learn more about Oanh’s services and products, visit Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @tinytriumphco.

Nonfiction Liaison

PAL Publicity Coordinator

Raised by Scandinavian post-war immigrants, Sheila Bailey loved drawing. Against her parent’s advice, she pursued an art degree at San Jose State. After a few years of lovingly creating greeting cards and such at Hallmark in Kansas City, Missouri, her native Pacific Coast beckoned her return. She took an exciting position at Will Vinton Studios in Portland, Oregon where she immersed herself in the chaos of animation production. Here, she met her future husband, and decided to strike out on her own. She has subsequently illustrated a number of picture books and magazine articles, become a mother, constructed four koi ponds, and designed and built her own home on beautiful Sauvie Island, where she and her family now live with two emus. Sheila Bailey’s books have been published by Golden Books, Zonderkids (HarperCollins), Flashlight Press, and more. Her newest book, Rag Man, is forthcoming from  Pelican Publishing.



SW Washington Liaison
Kristin Burchell has been a member of SCBWI for over twenty years. Vancouver, Washington, is full of both ghost stories and history, so that’s the perfect place for her to write and live with her husband, two children, and husky. She also loves her job as a teacher in Portland. Kristin is the author of The Witches of Proposal Rock, available on Amazon, and Enter Elisabeth, available at the Multnomah County Library.

SM Ford 2015-sm Sue Ford writes for children under her maiden name, Susan Uhlig. She has sold two projects to Schoolwide. She’s the author of four picture books, including: Belling the CatThe Fox and the Crane, and My Shadow for Unibooks (Korea) for their English as a foreign language program and seven readers for Compass Media (Korea). She’s also sold over 160 magazine pieces for children and adults and is an instructor for the basic magazine course for the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Sue’s an SCBWI Regional Advisor Emerita.

Website: Twitter:  @susanuhlig


Youth Outreach Coordinator
Rosanne Parry is the author of the award-winning novels Heart of a Shepherd, Second Fiddle, and Written in Stone, and the picture book Daddy’s Home. She lives in an old farm house in Portland where she and her husband are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit. She writes in a treehouse in her back yard.

Read more on her website, and/or follow her on Twitter @RosanneParry.



SCBWI oregon connections

treeConnections Representatives


Cidney Swanson  is a full-time writer of Young Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy including The Rippler Series and The Saving Mars Series. SAVING MARS was named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 and was an honor book for the SCBWI Spark Award. When she’s not writing, Cidney is distracted by shiny things such as books with raised foil covers, macarons in jars, and stars set against an inky night sky. She is conversant in the following geekdoms: Star Trek, Shakespeare, and Ballet. Cidney is a popular speaker at schools and conferences where she encourages audiences to laugh both at and with her. She lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, three kids, two cats, a dog, and entirely too much rain.

Doreen Grace Kester is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and has a Bachelor’s degree of Fine and Applied Art from the University of Oregon. Her professional background includes teaching art, copy writing, illustration and graphic design. You can find Doreen’s Young Adult novel, Seven Weeks, on Amazon, and she is currently working on illustrations for a series of picture books. Doreen lives in Eugene with her husband, daughter, and a ferocious papillon. Doreen Grace Kester Bio Portrait

Kristin J. Ammerman loves chocolate, Pinterest, and reading middle grade and YA fiction at 2 a.m., with a proper English romance movie playing in the background. She wirtes epic middle grade (she claims it’s going to be “a thing”), sometimes dabbles in YA and HA sci-fi/fantasy novels, and enjoys writing short sories. When she’s not driving her three kids to school or sports practices, you can find her on the board of Deep Magic E-zine, project managing Picture Book Summit, harassing her writing colleagues at Eugene Writer’s Anonymous about their plots, writing literary blog posts for or trying to train her chicken to stop pooping on the porch. Ammerman Profile Pic