BOARD & STAFF
Susan Smith Leland
Susan Smith Leland recently retired from a 33-year career in education serving as the CFO for several school districts and most recently serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Support Services for the Renton School District. She earned her BA from Evergreen College in Liberal Arts and Masters of Education from Seattle University in School Business Administration. During her career she served as a board member and President of the Washington Association of School Business Officials (WASBO), created and served on the Certification Governance Board and was a member of the OSPI School District Accounting Advisory Committee.
In addition, Susan attended the Social Change Institute on Cortes Island in B.C. developing new ideas for school/community engagement in the areas of the environment and social justice. Susan was awarded the Outstanding Student of the Year in the School of Education while at Seattle University. She was also awarded the highest honor from WASBO, their Outstanding Service Award and also received their Unsung Heroine Award, given by the Executive Director of the organization. Susan is a flute player and was a member of the Seattle All-City Band for five years. She is married to the love of her life, her husband Rod and has 3 children. They live in Auburn on Lake Killarney.
Leah Bradford Francis
Music Instructor & Coach
Music Instructor and Coach
Composer in Residence
Patrice Rushen, an award winning musician will serve as the second Composer-in-Residence at Key to Change for the 2021-2022 academic year. Patrice will compose and teach original solo and chamber music works for both violin and viola string students of all musical levels that they will perform in a virtual concert in the spring 2022. Additionally, select students will perform Rushen’s works and be featured on Unmute The Voices on Classical King FM 98.1.
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Shelby Denckla (she/her) is the Executive Assistant and Office Manager at Key to Change Studio. Fond of solving problems and finding solutions, Shelby has made a career of providing efficient and effective administrative support to executives and teams. While working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors Shelby has led projects, managed events, and coordinated staff both locally and abroad. Recently, Shelby served as Secretary to the Board of Directors at the Institute for Ecological Civilization.
Shelby is from the Pacific Northwest. She grew up in Everett and attended Everett High School where she was class president – Go Gulls! She went on to attend Franklin University in Switzerland where she studied history and international relations. Now she lives in Seattle and on a sunny day you can catch her painting watercolor by the shores of Lake Washington.
Quenton Baker is a poet and educator from Seattle. His work has appeared in The Offing, Jubilat, Vinyl, The Rumpus and elsewhere. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and the recipient of the 2018 Arts Innovator Award from Artist Trust. He was a 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence and a 2021 NEA Fellow. He is the author of This Glittering Republic (Willow Books, 2016) and we pilot the blood (The 3rd Thing, 2021).