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 knitting and crocheting, weekly Sunday dinners with her extended family, playing the piano, organic gardening, and writing mystery dinner theater scripts.

Robert Leigh - Financial Director

Robert graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Economics, Robert went on to receive an MBA: Accounting from St. Louis University and then his CPA.  Robert is a recent arrival to Walla Walla but not to the field of Accounting.  Over his forty-plus year career Robert acquired a broad range of financial and operational management expertise in such industries as manufacturing, medical supply, telecommunications and retail.  For the last 15 years he had his own business in Colorado where he focused on helping small businesses and individuals with taxes, litigation support and financial analysis.

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.


Karen Gleason - Case Manager

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Housing Coordinator

Lenel Parish - Reentry 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.

Jim Barrow - Board 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

Michelle Southern - Vice President

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.

Becky HaneyNixon - Secretary

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Keith Farrington - T

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.

Austin Archer

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Lisa Meyer

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Lisa Meyer is a lifelong community member of the Walla Walla Valley and a former client of The STAR Project. She was released from the Washington Corrections Center for Women in 2013 with a determination to make meaningful changes in her life, and she has been an exemplary member of STAR ever since. During her time as a STAR client, Lisa worked with Goldmark legal intern Ingrid Zerpa and lawyers Dan Clark, John Hartzell, Nick Allen and the ACLU to bring the first Legal Financial Obligation remittance case to the State of Washington. Lisa's work with Legal Financial Obligations continues to help countless STAR cleints to this day, and has set national precedence for the remittance of discretionary fines. Lisa has been a constant presence at STAR's group dinners since 2013. Today Lisa serves on STAR's Board of Directors, where she provides a unique perspective on reentry.

Stephen Michael

Stephen Michael joined the STAR Project’s Board in 2018.  He is a Lecturer of Psychology at Whitman College.  His research and teaching, which focus on applications of psychology to issues in the criminal justice system, have given him a strong appreciation for the importance of the STAR Project’s mission and work.  Stephen lives in Walla Walla with his wife and baby boy, and in his free time he enjoys watching or playing just about any sport.

Sarah Sisk

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