Our Leader and Staff
Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader
WES appointed Amanda Poppei as our fourth Senior Leader in August 2008 after an extensive nationwide search. Amanda brings a passion for social justice and a commitment to building a multigenerational community to her work at WES. She was drawn especially to WES’ sense of warmth and caring, and to the Ethical Culture emphasis on living and acting with integrity. Amanda sees a religious community as a place where we travel through life together, helping each other to be the people we wish to be.
Amanda has a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and a BA in Religious Studies from Yale University. She was the ministerial intern at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD, and served as a chaplain at the Washington Hospital Center, where she completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. Amanda is a Unitarian Universalist minister as well as a certified Ethical Culture Leader, and has a strong background in interfaith work. She has served on the City-Wide Strategy Team of the Washington Interfaith Network and now is part of Faith Strategies, a DC-based clergy collective focused on shared action. Amanda also serves as President of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association, and is a co-founder of the Humanist Clergy Collaboratory. She is a member of the Spiritual Advisory Committee for the TraRon Center, which works to support families affected by gun violence.
Since she was a young teenager, Amanda has imagined a life in religious leadership; she finds great joy in the work of building connections, seeking justice, and transforming lives. Amanda enjoys all the moments of a community’s life together (even committee meetings!), but thinks that Sunday morning is the most important time of the week. She notes that there are few places in our society where we join with people of all ages and life experiences to share an hour together. For Amanda, Sunday mornings offer an opportunity to reflect, to connect with others, and to reach our hearts–and our arms–a little wider.
Amanda lives in Silver Spring with her husband, Peter Verchinski, and their daughters, Marcella and Joanna. Peter is an attorney at the Government Accountability Office and a very proud father.
To hear Platforms given by Amanda, we invite you to listen to the following playlist:
L.A. McCrae, Interim Director of Lifelong Learning
Jason Biehl, Lifelong Learning Coordinator
Ashlee McKinnon, Teen Group Coordinator
A graduate of University of Maryland College Park and Princeton Theological Seminary, Ashlee McKinnon has been a youth advocate, dance educator, and inspirational communicator for over 10 years. Building on her foundation in the Arts and Religious Studies, Ashlee believes that the most authentic way to communicate your identity is through creative exploration and enrichment. Ashlee has had the privilege to use arts education and dance as the medium to see others explore, grow, and learn, through her various teaching opportunities in K-12, community programs, and collegiate settings. Ashlee’s artistic work has been featured at Bowie State University, Gaithersburg Arts Barn, NACHMO DC, and most notably on CBS This Morning in the story “Hamil-Kids” in 2017. As a youth advocate, Ashlee seeks out opportunities where she can bring her authentic and creative brand of exploration and enrichment to youth and young adults to cultivate and strengthen a passionately fulfilled new generation of educators and communicators.
Bailey Whiteman, Music Director
Administration & Operations
Tom Hutton, Congregational Administrator
Tom started working at WES in May 2015. Among other things, he manages WES’s finances and oversees its operational needs.
Prior to WES, Tom served as Deputy Executive Director of 40Plus of Greater Washington, a non-profit where he led several initiatives to help the unemployed find work. He also served as Director and Chief Information Officer at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, a national securities regulator. Tom earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from American University in Washington, DC.
Robyn Kravitz, Communications & Administrative Coordinator
Robyn Kravitz serves as the Communications & Administrative Coordinator at the Washington Ethical Society. She is a recent transplant to the DC area from North Dakota via the Air Force through her husband’s work as a munitions maintainer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from the University of Colorado, and also has lived in Colorado, Mississippi and is originally from Nashville, Tennessee! She’s passionate about hockey, secular homeschooling, and bringing new members in the Ethical Culture fold. She and her husband Mike, are delighted to be raising their two children, Ellie and Josh, as part of a humanist community.
BA General Cleaning, Contracted Custodial Services
Carol Clayton, Heather Vincent, & Angelene Winn