The STAR Project
Successful Transition and Re-Entry
Successful Transition and Re-Entry
Become a Mentor

Staff Members


Becky Turner - Executive Director

Becky was confirmed as Executive Director in December of 2015. A graduate of Walla Walla Community College and Washington State University, Becky is a K-8 certified public school teacher. Her experiences as a teacher give her a unique perspective in dealing with disadvantaged populations, including people experiencing homelessness and families in crisis. An eclectic personality born and bred in the Walla Walla valley, Becky enjoys crocheting with her grandmother, weekly Sunday dinners with her extended family, playing the piano, organic gardening, and writing mystery dinner theater scripts.

Andy Owens - Executive Assistant

Andy joined the STAR Project in January 2016 as Executive Assistant. He has a strong background in technology and office management. Andy is responsible for many day-to-day "behind the scenes" management of the STAR office, including: website management, database management, and supervision of volunteers and interns. When he's not working, Andy is an avid gamer - making him a proven team player.

Robert Leigh, CPA, MBA, MOS - Financial Director

Image coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Kathy Farrell Guizar - Transition Specialist

Kathy is working with inmates at the Washington State Penitentiary on pre-release planning and paperwork. This includes all of the work that leads up to being able to sign-up for school, seek financial aid, and receive other community services for people releasing all around the state.

“After relocating to attend Whitman College from Metro Detroit I made a conscious choice to call Walla Walla home. This decision has served me and my family well. I am excited about my new role with the STAR Project because I can personally enjoy the small town lifestyle while realizing a  statewide impact at the Penitentiary.”

Jackie Scholl - Case Manager

Jackie has a strong background in education and peer to peer substance use disorder support. Jackie has experience working for Walla Walla Public Schools, Trilogy Recovery Community, and for-profit business. She joined the STAR team in September 2016 as Case Manager. In her spare time, Jackie enjoys reading and spending time with her grandchildren.

Housing Coordinator - Christen Galipeau

Christen Betts joined the STAR team as Housing Coordinator in April 2017. A former nurse, Christen is a family-oriented person with a strong background in recovery. Christen has significant experience with managing housing, and was involved with, and an advocate for, Oxford International. When she's not working, Christen loves spending time with her dog Dixie.

Lenel Parish - Employment Specialist

Lenel is the Employment Specialist at The STAR Project and the on-the-job training coordinator at Blue Mountain Action Council. Her job—and her goalis to match job seekers with Walla Walla employers. In this role, she can help with resumes, interview techniques and job leads. Lenel can be found at BMAC on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and at The STAR Project on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A Washington State University alum, Lenel is a native of the Walla Walla Valley whose previous employers include the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and Whitman College. 


Board Members

Notice: We are actively recruiting new board members in 2018, please e-mail for more information.

Annie Capestany - Board President

Annie is probably best known in Walla Walla for her 15-plus years organizing the Diversity Day Multicultural Arts Festival and her 10 years of writing a cooking column for the UB. In addition to STAR, she is currently part of Community Pride Walla Walla, a local coalition focused on LGBTQI issues, and the Walla Walla Immigrants Rights Coalition. Also, she tutors math at Green Park Elementary and is a wife and mom. She strongly believes that people should be able to leave prison and rebuild their lives, NOT face lifelong discrimination, distrust and poverty. She hopes to help shift the focus of our criminal justice system away from “criminal” and back to “justice.”

Jim Barrow - Vice President

Present Mayor pro tem, and Council Member City of Walla Walla since 2006; Retired USAF Attorney (Judge Advocate);  Fmr. Chief Attorney Disciplinary Counsel for LA Supreme Court ;  Chair, Blue Mtn Action Counsel; Board Member of STAR since 2016 and Vice Pres, 2017 - current.  Municipal Judge for Cities of Athena, Adams and Weston OR since 2012.

Keith Farrington - Treasurer

Keith Farrington joined the STAR Board of Directors in 2016. Keith is a professor of Sociology at Whitman College, and specializes in sociology of the family, criminology, the sociology of prisons and punishment, social psychology, the sociology of popular music, and social research methods. An aficionado of virtually all kinds of modern music, Keith plays electric bass in the local music group Early Morning Traffic. Keith’s wife is the Associate Dean of Campus Life and the Director of Residence Life and Housing at Whitman College. His older daughter graduated from the Stanford University Law School and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His younger daughter is the founder and President of Forgotten Dogs Rescue in western Washington. Keith is an avid New England sports fan.

Toni Alvarado-Jackson

Image coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Marc Goff

Marc has been in the Walla Walla Valley for almost 20 years, and is currently attending the Walla Walla Community College’s new Human and Social Services A.A degree. He hopes to transfer to Walla Walla University to pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology. His passions are his wife, daughter, cooking, bicycles and building people up. He has been sober for a little over 3 years.  


Becky Haney-Nixon

Image coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Lisa Meyer

Image coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Michelle Southern

Michelle has lived in Walla Walla since 1988.  A pharmacist by trade, she worked for 18 years at the Washington State Penitentiary.  She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from WSU, a Master of Science Toxicology from UW, and a Pharmacy Doctor degree from University of Colorado.  She spent 6 years on the Board of Directors for YWCA, working extensively on their yearly fundraising auction.  She has served on the Board for STAR since November 2014.  Michelle is also active in the Little Theatre of Walla Walla, assisting as usher, props mistress, backstage hand, set decorator, and occasional actress.  She attends Pioneer United Methodist church and sings in their choir.  She has 3 grown children and 1 grandchild.

ValuesAbout UsClient StoriesServices and ProgramsSTAR ClassesSTAR Fundraiser DinnerFundingPublicationsCLE ConferenceContact