The Snohomish School Board, pictured here, recently appointed Sarah Adams, fourth from the left, to fill a vacant position. (Courtesy of Snohomish School District)

Mental health professional appointed to Snohomish School Board

Sarah Adams wants to emotionally and academically support students as schools “rebuild after COVID.”

SNOHOMISH — Sarah Adams, a trained mental health professional who works with children, joined the Snohomish School Board on Wednesday.

The board unanimously appointed Adams to fill the vacancy left by Brandy Hekker. Hekker resigned in July, but did not publicly say why.

“What I’m going to miss the most is the inspiration from this community,” Hekker said at the board meeting she announced her resignation. “(It’s) a little bit bittersweet, because I will miss it, for sure. But I just have to prioritize and kind of let somebody step up that maybe has more capacity right now.”

Adams has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. She works as a program manager for Compass Health. She said she leads a team of trauma therapists who provide mental health services to children throughout the the county.

“I really saw firsthand the impact COVID had on kids, and I felt like my background in mental health could be an asset on the board,” Adams said.

The mother of two elementary students in Snohomish, Adams volunteered in classrooms before the pandemic. In 2018, she joined the community work group that recommends building projects to the school board.

She said she wants to help the school district become “more trauma-informed” as it “kind of rebuilds after COVID.”

“We were hearing from a lot of kids who were coming in for therapy just how isolated they felt or how they were struggling academically in the remote learning model,” Adams said of her role with Compass Health. “I’m really just hoping to look at how the district can become more trauma-informed and better meet the academic and social-emotional needs of the students.”

Board President Jay Hagen said Adams was selected from a pool of “four absolutely wonderful candidates.” During her interview, Adams showed she “did her homework” by asking specific questions about district policies and programs, Hagen said.

“She just kind of rose to the top because she had a little more knowledge of the district,” Hagen said.

Adams will serve through December 2023, though she can choose to run for a full four-year term in the general election that year.

Mallory Gruben is a Report for America corps member who writes about education for The Daily Herald.

Mallory Gruben: 425-339-3035;; Twitter: @MalloryGruben.

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