Meet Our Board & Staff
Dick Fagnant, Board President and Treasurer
Dick came to Alaska in 1971 as a Jesuit Volunteer teacher where he met his wife, Debbie. After 40 years of teaching, he retired to pursue other passions including volunteer work, travel, teacher mentoring, and ceramics. Dick and Debbie have three wonderful children and often go south to visit them and their grandchildren. Dick is a NAMI Family-to-Family teacher and state teacher trainer. He is committed to helping build community awareness, support, and compassion for those struggling with mental illness, knowing that there is hope for them to live fruitful and meaningful lives.
Shirley Holloway, Board Vice President
Dr. Shirley Holloway is a longtime Alaska educator whose career includes teacher, teacher of the deaf, principal, superintendent, college professor and president, and a former State of Alaska Commissioner of Education. Shirley continues to provide consulting services through her business called Leadership for Excellence. Her passion for education, support, and advocacy for individuals living with mental illness and their families is based on her lived experience and the loss of her beloved daughter Kathleen. Dr. Holloway currently serves as the NAMI National Board President.
Nick Hoefferle, Interim Board Secretary
Sharon Denton, Board Member
Sharon is an advocate for peers after experiencing the debilitating effects of bipolar disease when she turned 60 yr. old. After ten years, through the help of doctors, family, friends, NAMI, and her own research, she's in recovery and able to reach out to her peers. She is the secretary of the Peer Council, Alaska's representatives to the NAMI Peer Leadership Council, and a facilitator for the biweekly Connection Support Group. She taught elementary education for 25 years and had to retire because of her illness. She's now working part-time teaching elementary students who struggle with reading. She especially enjoys being with her three grandsons and exercising almost every day. Wellness is wonderful!
Lily Werts, Board Member
Lily Werts is a lifelong Alaskan resident. As a person who experiences mental illness, she is honored to have the opportunity to give back to her peers. When she's not attending board meetings or coordinating training sessions, Lily designs sound for local theatre productions, enjoys creative hobbies, and plays a variety of games with friends.
Ann Ringstad, Executive Director
Anchorage and Fairbanks, AK
Ann assumed the position of Executive Director of NAMI Alaska in September 2020. She has a strong background in community building, legislative advocacy, fund development, strategic communications, and leadership support, with a long career at the University of Alaska and several non-profit organizations in Alaska. She holds AA and BA degrees in business and history from UAF, and an MPA degree from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy. She is a lifelong Alaskan whose personal mission is to make a difference in the lives of others.
Sheila Harris, NAMI Alaska Executive Director Emerita
For over 20 years, Sheila has worked and volunteered with NAMI Alaska. In August 2017, she was appointed as Volunteer Executive Director. In addition, she continues to serve as the state-wide Program Manager, and handle the finances to ensure that NAMI Alaska can fulfill its mission of support, education, and advocacy. Sheila is a lifetime Alaskan and owns a small bookkeeping business that supports non-profit mental health organizations throughout Alaska. Sheila has a particular passion for NAMI's work as she has personally experienced the devastating impact that untreated mental health disorders can have on people directly affected, their family, friends, and loved ones.
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Nick is a lifelong Alaskan, born at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, raised in Dillingham, and currently living in Anchorage. He left the state to serve my country in the U.S Navy and returned home in 2010 to finish his degree at UAA in English Education with a Minor in Dance. His experience includes working in the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault victim’s advocacy, early childhood education, and he is currently serving as an employee educator for a non profit that supports people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nick’s core belief is that all people have a fundamental right to be safe; physically, emotionally, and psychologically, and that they should have the ability to receive the support they need to live a life of their own choosing. He has proudly served on the NAMI Alaska board since 2018.