Tracy Sprauer - Executive Director
Education, family, nature, healing and community are the five pillars that create structure and meaning in my life. I was raised in an extended family in Portland, Oregon, who highly valued education. It is to them I owe my love of learning. Multnomah County Outdoor School seeded in me a lifelong respect of nature and community in just one short week of 6th grade. My interest in health and healing arose from my deepest desire to be of service to people in a tangible way.
I spent my 20’s as an educator, I literally began working as a Program Leader for Multnomah County Outdoor School on my 20th birthday. In that decade: I followed my heart, graduated from The Evergreen State College, traveled the world, taught in various residential environmental education programs, met my future husband and worked as a classroom teacher in a small school on the Oregon Coast.
My 30’s brought me to Methow Valley with my 3 month old baby and husband. We spent that decade raising our 2 daughters, building 3 homes, and learning how to be solid community members.
My 40’s were dedicated to: my bodywork practice, my commitment to Classroom in Bloom and of course to my family.
Now as I enter my fifth decade, I feel as though I have been training to step into the Executive Director position of Methow At Home for my whole adult life. I am deeply honored to be of service in this way to our elders who wish to age in place. I look forward to meeting new people, forging connections and weaving a stronger tapestry of community.
Deirdre Cassidy – Program Manager
Deirdre has been a Methow Valley resident for 22 years, moving here from Teton Valley, Wyoming. She co-founded the Teton Arts Council and served as president of their board for three years prior to moving to the Methow Valley in 1995. She has a BA in Art Education from the University of North Texas and taught art for 30 years in Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. She taught at the Community School in the Methow Valley (a non-profit organization) for 13 years and was actively involved in coordinating volunteers for fundraising events. She also has been a volunteer for Methow Arts (MA) and has taught classes through MA and the Confluence Gallery. She comes to Methow At Home with enthusiasm and a desire to serve the people of the Methow Valley.
Jim Rauh - President
Jim is originally from Chicago and spent his college and graduate school years at three different Big Ten Universities. Jim has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, specializing in neurochemistry. Following graduate school, Jim spent several years as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. Jim embarked on a rewarding career with The DuPont Company (in Delaware) in 1984 as an R&D scientist. Over his 30 years with DuPont, he had many different roles and responsibilities. However, the constant in all of his positions, was the requirement for being a highly effective team player.
Outside of his work at DuPont, Jim's volunteer activities on the east coast included: Food Bank, Raptor Rescue and Rehabilitation, numerous Habitat for Humanity house builds, and his local County Art Association. While here in the Methow full time since November 2013, Jim has been serving as vice president and Board member for the Skyline Irrigation Ditch. Up to this point in time, Jim has been spending much of his time lately building his own home, hands-on.
Jane Hill - Vice President
A middle-America transplant to the West, I lived most of my life in Alton, Illinois, a town of about 40,000 on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. When you visit Pike Place Market in Seattle, you might run across a statue of the most famous resident of that town, one Robert Wadlow, whose documented height at just under nine feet tall makes him the world’s tallest man. More importantly, Alton was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and our real hero was the first martyr to the freedom of the press, Elijah P. Lovejoy, who was publishing abolitionist articles in the late 1830’s.
Of greater interest to you here in the West is the town of Wood River just a few miles down river from Alton, where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi. That is the place from which Lewis and Clark began their journey to explore the Louisiana Purchase and ended up near here! Like me! And the final Lincoln-Douglas debate took place in my home town. Many of my activities after my retirement involved researching, acting and presenting information about people who were part of these aspects of our town to various local and tourist groups.
The last of three children, I was basically an only child after I was four as my sister married and my brother had been at university or serving in WWII since before my birth. I completed public school education and then spent my four undergraduate years at Indiana University on the beautiful Bloomington campus. Between my sophomore and junior years I traveled for ten weeks in Europe. On that trip I met the man who was to become my husband two years later. After he completed his
bachelor’s degree, he accepted a position as a sixth grade teacher in the district where I had grown up; so once we were married, I found myself back in my old hometown. I taught high school French and English for nearly 30 years and loved my work and my students. And my only child Paul Gitchos (the reason for my move to the Methow) was born.
I’ve earned a BA and an MA in English; I like words. In 1991 I married Al Hill, a retired 64 year old bachelor, 15 years my senior. He asked that I retire early so that we would have time to travel together which we did. During those years I was also active on various community boards including the Junior League, Alton Little Theater, Alton Children’s Theater, the community Service League, and the hospital auxiliary.
At home here in Twisp, I enjoy volunteer work with the Merc Playhouse, Room One, and the school weekend food program, and now Methow at Home.
Mel moved to the Methow Valley from the Seattle area in 2014 seeking a place where community is a high priority and people are more than objects in a rat race. Education wise, Mel received his undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Washington and a Masters degree in Teaching from City University. Mel recently retired from the Edmonds School District where he spent 16 years teaching in a middle school and then 6 years working at the district level providing professional development in the area of educational technology. As a dilettante of sorts, Mel has spent time in the US Air Force during the Vietnam Era, worked as a manufacturing engineer in a suburb of Dallas, attempted
to be a general contractor of a residential homes, is sort of a ceramic artist, and tries to be a better than average skier and cyclist.
Karen Reneau - Treasurer
I grew up in northeast Louisiana, moving to Baton Rouge in 1979 to attend LSU,
graduating with a degree in accounting in 1982. The bottom fell out of the economy
right about the time I graduated and it was almost impossible to find work. After
struggling a while I moved to Breckenridge Colorado and in 1985 married David
Ness, a ski bum, patroller and self sufficient designer / carpenter / builder. Finding
work in Breckenridge was easy, but the altitude and harsh climate was hard.
Dave was ready to move back to Washington so we left Breckenridge and moved to
the Methow Valley in the summer of 1987. Dave had purchased a half acre lot in
Edelweiss back in 1981 where we planned to build a house. The Haub family had
just purchased Sun Mountain Lodge and I was lucky enough to be hired as their
In 1993 my daughter was born and I said goodbye to Sun Mountain. I wanted to
spend as much time as possible with my new daughter. That same year Dave and I
opened Methow Valley Realty, Inc. We finished our house in Edelweiss and later
sold it, built another house and two commercial buildings.
In 2010 I closed our real estate company and went to work as a managing broker for Blue Sky Real Estate. In spring of 2015 I pulled back from work and semi-
When I stopped working full time in 2015, I was ready for a change. That summer
we took our sailboat north above Vancouver Island into remote fjords and channels,
had hair raising experiences, mechanical problems, a few bumpy crossings and a lot
of fun. In 2016 we continued traveling to other areas of the world. Dave and I love
to travel and spend time on our sailboat late spring through early fall. We are
usually in the valley for most of the winter.
In the end, the Methow Valley is home base. I am thankful to live in this small and
caring community and feel lucky to have been able to raise our daughter here.
As lovely as the landscape of the Methow Valley is, the true beauty is in the people that live here. During my 24 years here, I have had the privilege of interacting with a wide sector of Methow residents and look forward to expanding my horizons as a board member of Methow At Home.
Through my work as science educator at the public schools, the Community School and via River Camp for Kids, Outward Bound other outdoor educational venues I came to know many families, both new to and well established in the Valley. My work as co-founder of Methow Recycles and originator of the first metal drives in the valley opened my world up to yet another sector of our valley. After retiring from teaching, in the formal sense, I worked at Okanogan County Electric Co-op for 7 years. My work there allowed me to facilitate energy and financial assistance to many Co-op members as well and be involved in the booming growth of the Valley.
I am excited to contribute to the health and growth of Methow At Home as we all do our best to help our community age gracefully.
I was drawn to the Methow Valley because of the mountains. What I found when I moved here in 1994 was a friendly, sweet community that made me feel at home right from the start.
I worked in the Mechanical engineering field while living in Seattle for 20 years, but once here, quickly transitioned to start my own business, Pinto Design, LLC. As a building designer, I worked with homeowners and businesses to develop designs that were affordable, functional and beautiful.
During this time, I also worked for Aero Methow Rescue Service as an EMT, and for 17 years had the honor and joy of taking care of people here in the Valley. I’ve had training in Critical Incident Stress Management and Suicide Intervention that taught me skills I have used many times. When I wasn’t caring for patients on 911 calls, I managed the donor database, website, and helped with fundraising efforts.
Since retiring from both at the beginning of 2020, I’ve spent time gardening, paddling my SUP on the lake, reading, and spending time with friends and my wife, Betsy.
I am drawn to Methow At Home because I believe that keeping elders connected to and involved in their community of all ages is essential for the well-being of everyone.
I look forward to continuing to take care of people with MAH as we “make things a little easier” for our elders and those that need a helping hand.
Elizabeth T Weiss, MD
I moved to the Methow from Maine in a snowstorm on Christmas eve in 2012. We unloaded our UHaul with the help of two members of the Liberty Bell High School wrestling team and got stuck in the snow. We were home.
I grew up in Vermont and became a medical doctor practicing in Bethel Alaska with the Indian Health Service, in Caribou Maine during the 1980's and early 1990's and then in Bangor Maine until 2012. I was a primary care internist for 35 years before moving to the Methow. I volunteered as a medical director of two hospices, and at a women's clinic while in practice.
The Methow keeps offering opportunities: first joining The Lookout Coalition which supports people facing complicated health issues, then finding ways to support folks who want to age in their own homes through the founding and development of Methow At Home, then becoming a volunteer with End of Life Washington, and the more opportunities keep arising.
With my husband who shares my life fully, and my children and their families in Wenatchee who bring me great joy I feel so grateful for all the Methow has offered me.
Julia is a proud graduate of Vermont Law School whose motto "Law for the Community and the World" is a message that she takes to heart and tries to advance in her own legal career.
Before moving to the Methow Valley from Bethel, Alaska in the spring of 2017, Julia worked as a staff attorney for Alaska Legal Services, where she represented native alaskan tribes from remote villages in child welfare proceedings. Her experience in Alaska taught her that rural communities are often in the best position to understand and identify important social issues and that many times the most effective responses to the identified issues will come from within the community itself. She was drawn to MAH because of its focus on meeting the needs of the local aging population in the Methow Valley and she believes these efforts strengthen the community as a whole. When she isn't working, Julia loves to rock climb and backcountry ski with her husband Rob.
Ellen has lived in the Methow Valley since 1979. She owns and operates Energy Solutions, providing solar energy system consulting, design and sales. Ellen served as the Conservation Program Manager for the Okanogan County Electric Cooperative and enjoyed helping many people weatherize and build energy efficient homes. She is an experienced fundraiser, grant writer and project manager. Ellen was a founding Board Member for Methow Arts, the Methow Conservancy and Methow Recycles, serving 10 years on each board. She holds a MA degree in Sociology, and worked for the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center at Washington State University.
Mark has lived on a farm west of Twisp since 2009. He has 40 years of executive experience leading nonprofit, governmental and business organizations. Mark has held the post of Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Aging where he oversaw the development of innovative community-based programs to enable older adults in need to remain at home and receive coordinated services. He currently serves as Executive Director and CEO of Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF). Selected other highlights of his professional experience include: Co-Executive Director of Twisp PDA-TwispWorks, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries, Executive Vice President of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Ohio, Executive Vice President of Mentor Technologies, a computer training company, Director of Legal Services, Senior Workers Action Program, a senior citizens service organization. Mark holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from Kent State University with emphasis in Cultural and Biological Anthropology, followed by Doctoral level studies at Ohio State University.