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Meet the 2018 State Mother of the Year Honorees

Meet the 2018 State Mother of the Year Honorees

May 30, 2024

Read about the incredible 2018 Mothers of the Year! 

Anna Luckett – Alaska
Headshot Of Anna Luckett 2018 State Mother of the Year AlaskaWith an infant son and a failed, abusive marriage as baggage, Anna Joy was reintroduced to an acquaintance, Charles Luckett.  The two were married in 2006 in Mississippi and soon heard adventure calling.  After several trips to Alaska, they knew that was where home should be, and they moved in July 2012. Anna’s eyes were opened to and her heart was broken over the rampant physical and sexual abuse of women and girls in Alaska. In response, Anna and Charles received their foster care license and began their foster care journey. They have adopted three daughters from foster care and currently have another foster daughter as well. Much of Anna’s time is spent attending to her children’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs.  Through all of this, Anna continues her quest to care for the marginalized, particularly women and girls who have experienced trauma, through several different volunteer organizations.

Christina Hibbert – Arizona
Headshot Of Christina Hibbert 2018 State Mother of the Year ArizonaDr. Christina Hibbert is a clinical psychologist specializing in maternal mental health, grief/loss, parenting, self-worth, and personal growth. She’s the bestselling author of This Is How We Grow, Who Am I Without You, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, and the forthcoming Mastery of Motherhood, and a blogger/writer for her website, Christi, as she is known to friends and family, is a popular speaker, host of Motherhood radio/TV, founder of the Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition, creator of the Motherhood Essentials team, producer of the internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples, and a contributor for Christi and her husband became parents of six when her sister and brother in law died and they inherited their two nephews just before giving birth to their fourth baby. The Hibbert family lives in Flagstaff, AZ, where Christi enjoys songwriting, naps, dark chocolate, and reading in hammocks.

Bobbi Dettmer – Arkansas
Headshot Of Bobbi Dettmer 2018 State Mother of the Year ArkansasBobbi Dettmer is the mother of 15-year-old triplets.  Bobbi taught Kindergarten for 11 years and at the age of 40, rather than have a mid-life crisis (since there is NO time for that), Bobbi began her Master’s Degree in Professional School Counseling.  Since acquiring her Master’s, she has been the counselor at Salem Elementary School in Benton, Arkansas.  Her triplets, Madison, Bailey, and Sydney, one of whom has special needs, are the focus and love of her life.  Assisting them in developing their talents, gifts, and abilities are her primary focus during this chapter of her life. Bobbi loves the Lord.  She strives to learn more about Him and tries to show His love through serving others. Bobbi is a woman who strives for excellence in all that she does and would like to be known as someone who is kind, as well as a woman of her word.

Sarah Wolfgramm – California
Headshot of Sarah Wolfgramm 2018 State Mother of the Year CaliforniaSarah Wolfgramm grew up in Upland, California the oldest sister in a family of 9 kids. From a young age she developed a love for babies and children and always knew she wanted a big family. She grew up singing and performing in various groups and in her teens started singing professionally. She met and married her husband, Haini Wolfgramm, also a professional musician, while signed to RCA Records. Shortly after that, they had their first child and many more followed. Sarah recently gave birth to their 14th child, and together, she and Haini have taught them to play instruments and sing. They currently reside in Redlands, California, and as a homeschooling family, Sarah also finds time to volunteer at a local food bank, actively serve in her church, run a catering business and decorate wedding cakes. She’s a motivational speaker and songwriter but is most pleased in her role as a mother.

Suzanne Farris – Delaware
Headshot of Suzanne Farris 2018 State Mother of the Year DelawareSuzanne Farris has called Delaware home for most of her life. Graduating from Salisbury University in 2004, Suzanne taught middle school before embarking on a career in the non-profit world. In 2007, Suzanne was elected to the Seaford Board of Education where she served a five-year term that included two years as vice-president and two years as Board President. In 2012, Suzanne began a career with the American Red Cross where she currently serves as a Senior Volunteer Specialist for the Greater Chesapeake Region. Suzanne and her husband David are raising their four children in their Bridgeville, Delaware home and Suzanne spends the majority of her non-working hours helping her children to manage  their volunteer service organizations – GAVE, GearUp, HeartArt and Yes I Do! Suzanne also serves as a Sunday School Teacher and works alongside her husband to promote healthy marriage and family relationships.

Karen Williams – District of Columbia
Headshot Of Karen Williams 2018 State Mother of the Year District of ColumbiaKaren Yvonne Williams retired after 43 years of federal government service as a highly skilled Information Technology (IT) Specialist. She later established her own company titled JC Williams, LLC, and serves as President and CEO.  She received her AA degree in Business (Cum Laude), BA degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude), and her MA degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership (Magna Cum Laude) from Strayer University.  Karen is a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden International Honor Society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society. In 2006 Karen became a member of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). She was elected Woman of the Year 2008, and 2014 Top Ten Business Woman.  In October 2017 she became ABWA District IV Vice President assigned to fourteen states. In this capacity, she serves as 2017-2018 Trustee for the Stephen Buffon Memorial Education Fund.

Kelli Hopkins – Georgia

Headshot Of Kelli Georgia 2018 State Mother of the Year Kelli Hopkins is a follower of Jesus, wife of thirty-one years, mommy for almost twenty-five years, daughter, sister and friend. She loves taking care of her family and being the hands and feet of God to many in her life and those He brings her way. Serving others is at the forefront of her heart. It’s what she believes she was put on this earth to do. Kelli enjoys creating love, laughter, and joy for others. Whether that’s reading a book, singing a song, making something with her hands, as a craft, cooking or baking.

Lacy Rueschenberg – Hawaii

Headshot Of Lacy Rueschenberg 2018 State Mother of the Year Hawaii

Lacy is a proud, dedicated mother and Military wife. She grew up in Nebraska where she attended college before she met her Navy husband and they began the adventure of moving around the United States. She strives to make each duty station feel like “home.” Lacy is active in her church and the local community. Up until this past year, she leads a MOPS group at her church. She wanted to continue serving and supporting mothers so she began writing a “mommy” blog: a blog in which the love for her kids, her faith, and Hawaii shines brightly. Lacy volunteers as lead hiker in a keiki (children) hiking group as they explore all around the island. Her husband will be retiring from the military soon and they are excited to see where God leads them in the next chapter of their life! In the meantime, she will continue with her DIY projects, attending her kids’ basketball practices, leading hiking groups and blogging! Life is an adventure and Lacy embraces each day of it!

Jill McDonald – Idaho
Headshot of Jill McDonald 2018 State Mother of the Year IdahoJill Keetch McDonald was raised in Council, Idaho.  She studied art at Ricks College, before her husband, Chris, and she moved to Alaska and opened a successful bed and breakfast.  At age three, their child, Connor, was diagnosed with autism. Determined to help him, she learned and implemented the Son-Rise method, to address his needs.  Jill’s family bounced to four different states, trying to find the right social/academic/support situation for Connor before making Rexburg, Idaho their home.  In each location, Jill participated with autism support groups and became a mentor and volunteer presenter for the Son-Rise Program helping others dealing with autism. As a mother of five, Jill serves as the “art mom” at school, the “costume mom” for a children’s theater, and volunteers at church.   Jill is studying communication and speech disorders with a goal to become a speech pathologist because she believes all children should be seen AND heard.

Mary Beth Ramsey – Illinois
Headshot Of Mary Beth Ramsey 2018 State Mother of the Year IllinoisMary Beth Conn was born in a cold, snowy February in Champaign, IL.  She was the second daughter and second child of a railway mail clerk and a teacher. As a small child, Mary Beth had an invisible friend named GooGoo.  Her active imagination and support from GooGoo led to numerous stories and plays written and performed by Mary Beth.  She loved school and grew up to become a teacher.  She still loves school and volunteers at the local intermediate school in the library and in all things speech, music, and drama.  Mary Beth has been married for 39 years and has four wonderful children and six amazing grandchildren.  She cherishes the memory of her sister and relishes the time spent with her younger brother—a brother who, according to her mother, was arriving in lieu of a pony.  She never wanted a pony.

Kristen Van Baale – Iowa
Headshot Of Kristen Van Baale 2018 State Mother of the Year IowaKristen Van Baale grew up in Kansas with her parents, one brother and two sisters. Growing up Kristen enjoyed spending her time playing various sports, playing the piano and saxophone, hunting, fishing, going on family vacations and spending time with the family’s dog and their two horses. After graduating high school, Kristen attended Kansas State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine as well as a Master’s Degree in Food Microbiology.  While at K-State, Kristen met and married her husband of 17 years, Matt Van Baale. After grad school, Kristen worked as a lab technician at the University of Arizona in Tucson. As their family grew, Kristen chose to stay home with the children. Currently residing in Harlan, Iowa, Matt and Kristen have two daughters, Brecken, 14, and Brinley, 8 and two sons, Bret, 13 and Bryce 11.

Donna Bartmess – Kansas
Headshot of Donna Bartmess 2018 State Mother of the Year Kansas

Donna was born in a small town called Prim, Arkansas. She had 5 brothers and 1 sister. Donna moved to Kansas City when she was 6 years old. She was married at 21 years to Jim Bartmess. They have been married for 43 years. They had 3 children. She went on to graduate with her 4 year college degree and then on to receive her Master’s Degree while still being busy and driving a school bus. Donna was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001 while teaching math in a middle school. She believes that all kids are unique in their own way and that a mother’s love never stops no matter what.

Tonya Moreland – Kentucky
Headshot of Tonya Moreland 2018 State Mother of the Year KentuckyTonya Moreland holds the prestigious title of wife and mother to a blessed family residing in Corbin, KY. She is the author of the award-winning children’s book “When Am I Beautiful?” Together with her daughters, she created the Seriously Sweet Series of books for children in which they use biblical principles to encourage and inspire readers of all ages. Tonya received a BA in Special Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders and Elementary K-5 from the University of Kentucky and a MA in Elementary Education from the University of the Cumberlands.  She also received a Rank I and National Board Certification. Tonya enjoyed serving children and parents in the realm of public education for over a decade before retiring. Her love of learning and teaching continues to be fulfilled through home educating her daughters and others. Tonya’s desire is for her children to love God and love others.

Bette Hoxie – Maine
Headshot Of Bette Hoxie 2018 State Mother of the Year MaineBette Hoxie was raised in a two-parent household with 4 siblings. Her parents provided strong family values and unconditional love. Financially the family struggled, however there was always a meal on the table and room for anyone in need. With a strong foundation, it was natural when married for the couple to share their love of children and caretaking. The two were scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, literacy volunteers and Bette ran a daycare. They also provided foster care. They parented together until his death in 1997.As the mother of three children by birth, 8 through adoption and as a foster mother to over 150 children, gaining perspectives on parenting and its joys and challenges has been a huge piece of Bette’s identity for over 50 years. In more recent years parenting grandchildren as a legal guardian makes up much of Bette’s passion to advocate for positive change.

Pauline Rose Moore – Maryland
Headshot Of Pauline Rose Moore 2018 State Mother of the Year MarylandPauline Rose Moore, a “Modern Renaissance Woman” and “The Creative Activator” (nurturing the next generation’s creativity, whether 2 or 92), has earned several professional degrees, including a Master of Divinity of Religion from the Howard University School of Divinity and an MA in Counseling from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is a CML and Sexual Abuse Survivor, Adult Foster and Adoptee, Award-Nominated Author, a Veteran and Airman in the US Air Force Reserves for 11+ years and has been an ASL Interpreter for 13+ years; Pauline is committed to serving and advocating for others. Pauline is an International John Maxwell Team Speaker, Teacher & Coach, and CEO of Foster Youth Can, Inc., and Rose Moore Press Publishing. When Pauline isn’t legacy building for her community, she is creating memories and legacy building with her amazing husband Duane for her two handsome sons, Elijah and Isaac in Maryland.

Ilma Paixao – Massachusetts

Headshot of Ilma Paixao 2018 State Mother of the Year MassachusettsAs one of five children growing up in a farming town in south-central Brazil, Ilma Paixao learned early on the challenges of losing a father to illness. To help provide for the family, she worked in a factory in elementary school and completed a nursing program as a teenager. Arriving in Massachusetts as a young woman, it did not take long for Ilma to put these skills to use. Early on she was identified by other Brazilian immigrants as a person to go to for problem resolution. At that time there were no social services to assist with the rapidly growing Brazilian communities. Ilma stepped forward to support parents in school settings, translate for residents in law offices, attend doctor visits to help clarify patients’ health histories, and assist local police in managing disputes. After several years, she founded a non-profit organization whose mission included assisting Brazilians to help themselves while fostering opportunities to integrate into the greater community.

Karen Smoots – Michigan
Headshot Of Karen Smoots 2018 State Mother of the Year MichiganKaren Smoots is a 41 years old a native “Michigander” and the middle of three girls.  Given that she was the middle child, she knew nothing more than the juggle of an older and younger sister! Karen grew up on a family farm that was more than 125 years old.  A work ethic was instilled in her at a young age as she remembers the struggle of those dreaded hay bails that would arrive in the hottest days of summer.  As a child, Karen was never interested in TV, but rather enjoyed being outside or keeping herself busy.  Always a self-motivated individual, she found herself numerous times in leadership roles.  Karen’s earliest jobs were babysitting and she always knew she would do the best job she could at being a mother. “I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, but having two boys that call me mom is the best thing that could have happened to me.” Live today, tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Renee Fetzer – Minnesota
Headshot of Renee Fetzer 2018 State Mother of the Year MinnesotaRenee Fetzer was born July 7, 1974.  She is the oldest of three children.   She and her family lived in Downers Grove, Illinois.  Renee attended the University of Iowa where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.  Renee taught second grade for four years in Iowa City, Iowa and one year in St. Louis, Missouri before having her two sons Brady and Nolan and moving to Minnesota.  Renee was involved in an auxiliary group for spouses and significant others of medical students while in St. Louis.  She has remained an active volunteer at her son’s schools as well as being the PTA president for one year.  While raising her boys and caring for their home, Renee has also become involved in the Education Foundation of Bloomington where she is currently the chair of Children’s Food For Thought which raises funds to put into lunch accounts of needy students.

Joan Nesbitt – Missouri
Headshot Of Joan Nesbitt 2018 State Mother of the Year MissouriJoan Nesbitt is a hopeless existentialist, relentless gratitude seeker, little-known writer, and recent empty nester. She spends her days working in philanthropy and her evenings pursuing crack-pot domestic obsessions such as rendering lard for the perfect pie crust. Joan spent four years of her youth performing in a local Clown Troupe and believes learning at an early age to juggle and entertain finicky audiences was the best possible training for a working mother. She has been married for 26 years and lives in rural Missouri. A first-generation college graduate, Joan holds a BA in Communication from The University of Tulsa and an MS in Organizational Dynamics from The University of Oklahoma. She currently serves as the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at Missouri University of Science & Technology, a position she has held for seven years.

Rebecca Notch – Montana
Headshot of Rebecca Notch 2018 State Mother of the Year South MontanaBecky Notch is a 46 year old woman who was raised and lives in Kalispell Montana with her husband, Curtiss and three sons: Cayden 25 (wonderful man who now has a family), Liam 8 (who loves to keep everyone on their toes), and  Luka 7 ( who is autistic and she is his biggest cheerleader & advocate). Becky has worked for Costco Wholesale for almost 18 years and enjoys spending time with family and friends hiking, reading, and looking through real estate sites.  Becky has recently taken on the role as a homeschooling mom for one of her boys (Liam) who was struggling to stay focused in the public school setting given his struggles with ADHD. Becky serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Development Center as a parent representative for 1 1/2 years.

Neena Nizar – Nebraska
Headshot Of Neena Nizar 2018 State Mother of the Year NebraskaWhen Neena was diagnosed at 32 with Jansen’s Metaphyseal Chondodysplaisa, one of the rarest skeletal diseases in the world, she decided to fight for a cure. She decided to fight not just for herself, but for her two boys who had inherited the disease, and for the 5 others across the world who were also affected by this rare and debilitating skeletal disease. In 2017, she established The Jansen’s Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness and funding research for Jansen’s Disease. Aided by her efforts, Jansen’s researchers were awarded NIH funding and are now on the cusp of a clinical trial that could potentially mitigate this debilitating disease. Neena became a Change Agents for her rare disease community, representing the rare voice at the state and national arena.

Jana Dixon – Nevada
Headshot Of Jana Dixon 2018 State Mother of the Year NevadaJana Dixon is the mother of five sons and grandmother to 14 giggly, gooey, grandchildren.  She loves to randomly take baked goods to friends.  She regularly partners with Mrs. R’s Keeping Kids Hot, serving the Ronald McDonald House, and organized a group of 50 for an Alzheimer’s Walk.  Jana served 10 years as a leader among the women in her church speaking often and holding conferences with topics on service, mothering, and faith.  In 2013, Jana received the Silver Beaver award from the Boy Scouts of America.  She was honored for her 20 plus years of service, guiding young boys, teaching them to be good citizens with integrity and character.  The greatest title that Jana owns is that of “mother”.  She has been interviewed for the local news on three separate occasions with Jana Dixon/Mother as her by line.  Jana resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bridget Nanette Wold-Johnson – New Hampshire
Headshot Of Bridget Nanette Wold-Johnson 2018 State Mother of the Year New HampshireBridget is a mother of 4 amazing children, two of which are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Bridget has her Master’s Degree as a reading specialist, Special Education, Elementary Education and Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  She has been teaching for 30 years. Bridget is involved with her children’s swim team.  She is a stroke and turn judge for the YMCA, and is often judging swim meets for her children’s team. Bridget is an avid musician.  She has sung in church choirs and for Sweet Adelines International.  She is currently on the Music Booster committee for the Jaffrey-Rindge Community.  Bridget has also been the Sunday School teacher and youth group coordinator for the United Church of Winchester and has been the Secretary for the Parent Group at Jaffrey Grade School. Bridget is involved in the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) in which she has coordinated children events.

Michelle Schroff – New Mexico
Headshot Of Michelle Schroff 2018 State Mother of the Year New MexicoMichelle Schroff was born and raised in southern California. She relocated to the Land of Enchantment to attend the University of New Mexico.  Recognized by the state of New Mexico’s Department of Tourism and Governor Susanna Martinez for being a New Mexico True Hero and by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption for her and her husband, Clay’s efforts to “bringing children home” and encouraging young ladies that “they are more” through their 2 non-profits Aspen Project and project zoë. Michelle is an advocate for children in New Mexico and around the world. She believes that every child deserves to be loved and cherished. Her latest passion is Project Zoë.  Project Zoë is a boutique that empowers young ladies that they are more than their past.  When Michelle isn’t teaching, sharing, or driving her kids to activities she loves to wind down doing interior design or traveling. Michelle and Clay have a full quiver, 10 children (5 adopted through New Mexico state custody, 1 adopted from Russia, and 4 biological children) and two grandsons, Leland (18mo) and John (4mo).

Jennifer O’Brien – New York
Headshot Of Jennifer O’Brien 2018 State Mother of the Year New YorkJennifer O’Brien of Binghamton, NY serves her local community as the Executive Director of Life Is Washable, Inc. and serves nationally as the Executive Director of the American Special Hockey Association. Mrs. O’Brien is also employed by Health Processes, Inc. Through her work, Mrs. O’Brien leads a talented team in serving individuals with special needs and their families. Since its inception, Life Is Washable, Inc. has served over 50,000 participants through its creative family engagement programming. Mrs. O’Brien has developed other innovative programs such as “Friendly Access Sensory Safety Kits”, which serves professional sports venues from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. and “Fair Play” adaptive athletics.  Other projects include; OurSpace at Recreation Park, resulting in the construction of a fully accessible playspace for all ages. She is most proud of her family, Husband Paul, daughters Paige and Maggie and their extended “kids” from Canada to France and here at home.

Emily Brooks – North Dakota
Headshot Of Emily Brooks 2018 State Mother of the Year New North DakotaEmily Brooks is a stay-at-home mom, artist, model, and small business owner from Fargo, ND. Emily created the business Taea Made in 2012, and makes unique personalized home décor and accessory items. She also is a mural artist, who specializes in large-scale pieces. Emily and her husband, Bill, also own Fargo Pinball. Emily is currently involved with several organizations that support families and children. She is a member and past president of the FM Modern Sewing Guild, a member of Olivet Church’s MOPS groups, a member of The Arts Partnership, a member of her state’s Pride of Dakota network, and a member of her local PTO. Emily is an avid reader who loves the outdoors. When she’s not busy creating unique handmade items, she enjoys golfing, volunteering, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. Emily loves to try new things, and lives life with a sense of adventure.

Robin Laubaugh – Ohio
Headshot Of Robin Laubaugh 2018 State Mother of the Year OhioRobin and her husband Bryan are the parents of four children, Mitchell, Amanda, Jana and Alex and have six grandchildren.  Robin graduated from Brigham Young University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.  She achieved the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation and founded and managed a financial consulting practice in Wadsworth, which continues successfully today. Her government experience began with Wadsworth City Council as Council at Large in 1998 and continued with various Committee work until she was elected President of Council from 2004 – 2007.  In 2008, Robin became the first female Mayor of the City of Wadsworth. Robin is the recipient of the Wadsworth Citizen of the Year Award, the Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce “Vision Award”, an inductee into the Wadsworth Senior Advocate Hall of Fame, as well as the Wadsworth Meritorious Hall of Fame.

Jane Sutter – Oklahoma
Headshot of Jane Sutter 2018 State Mother of the Year OklahomaJane Sutter was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1953, the fourth of four children to Mary and Ben Edwards. After graduating from high school, she attended Oklahoma State University where she received a BA in Journalism and later an MS in Education. While at OSU she met David Sutter, and they were married in 1975. They lived and worked in Tulsa for a year before returning to OSU for their graduate degrees, following which they moved to Oklahoma City. Their first son John David was born in 1982 and second son Benjamin Robert was born in 1987. Jane’s career path has included working for an advertising agency, a publishing company, a regional government association and, most recently, for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County. She has always been active in community service including leadership roles in Rotary International, Leadership Oklahoma City and her church, Westminster Presbyterian.

Lynne Nielsen – Oregon
Headshot of Lynne Nielsen 2018 State Mother of the Year OregonLynne was raised in Bountiful, Utah by exemplary parents.  She married Scott Nielsen in 1991, and they moved to the Northwest where they had six children-four daughters and two sons. Lynne has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and has worked cardiothoracic medical surgical nursing, pediatrics, and home care.  In 2001, Lynne decided to pursue homeschooling her children. She joined a group of five families who met once a week for learning activities, friendship and support.  This group grew in size until in 2007, Lynne felt called to start a more formal private school for homeschooling families to support mothers in educating their children.  This type of school was just as needful for the moms as the children.  The school grew until it consisted of thirty-eight families with a waiting list.  More families needed a school.  So in 2015, Lynne, began a second school which serves thirty-one homeschooling families today.

Natalie Wallace – Pennsylvania
Headshot Of Natalie Wallace 2018 State Mother of the Year New PennsylvaniaNatalie Wallace is a 44 year old mother of four. She had a great childhood and grew up in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Currently, Natalie lives in West Norriton, Pennsylvania with her husband and their children. Natalie graduated from West Chester University with an elementary education degree and went on to become a full-time teacher until her children were born.Three days after their first child, Zachary’s fourth birthday, he unexpectedly passed away. Losing her son was the hardest thing she’s ever experienced and continues to deal with every day. “We have choices in life and it is my choice to turn grief into helping others.” Natalie created The Zachary Wallace Fund to keep his memory alive and to help others.

Silma Serra Di Marco – Puerto Rico
Headshot of  Silma Serra Di Marco, 2018 Puerto Rico Mother of the YearSilma Serra Di Marco graduated from Ponce High in 1965, and in 1970 obtained a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts with a major on social work. Upon graduation she was hired by the University as Associate Director for the Evaluation Office. This juvenile delinquency prevention million grant program was founded by Sister Isolina Ferre Charities. Silma personally evaluated this project which was submitted to Fordham University in New York and to the Crime Commission in Puerto Rico for subsequent implementation. During a study trip to Europe, and in the first day the group arrived in Rome, Silma met Beniamino Di Marco. In 1972, they married and have lived happily together for 45 years and have three beautiful children. Currently, Ms. Serra Di Marco has had a very active role in the community, supporting and working in civic, charity and wellness organizations. For her lengthy involvement in fundraising and supporting various non-profit organizations, she has also been recognized by the Commonwealth Government of Puerto Rico.

Paula Miksa – South Carolina
Headshot of Paula Miksa Novak 2018 State Mother of the Year South CarolinaPaula is the mother of four children, Heather (age 21), Willow (age 12), Dominic (age 11) and Wren (age 10).  Heather was adopted into the family at the age of 11 and is now living on her own and has one daughter (Braleigh, age 1).  Paula married Ron 5 years ago and is in the process of adopting Willow and Wren.  Paula has been a Physician Assistant for 15 years.  She is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of Clinical Education at Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program.  She enjoys working with students and has a heart for missions in her local community and abroad.  She is also on track to finish her Doctor of Medical Science degree in August 2018.  She is very active in her church and serves in Sunday school as a Care Group leader.

Jennifer Gubbels – South Dakota
Headshot Of Renee Fetzer 2018 State Mother of the Year MinnesotaJennifer Arens Gubbels was born and raised on a farm in northeast Nebraska.  She is the daughter of a farmer and a medical technologist, thus cultivating a love for both open spaces and fresh air as well as a fascination with the human body.  She received her undergraduate degree in biology research with honors from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa in 2004.  She then went on to earn her doctorate in Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009.  During her graduate school years, she married and had her first daughter, Samantha.  After her first year teaching at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD, she had her second daughter, Amelia, in 2010.  Cora, daughter number three, was born in 2013.  Dr. Gubbels has published 13 peer-reviewed articles on ovarian cancer and is currently exploring new research in the area of preterm birth and stress.

Nicole Smith – Tennessee
Headshot of Nicole Smith 2018 State Mother of the Year TennesseeTo describe Nicole Smith you might want to tap into an award she won in 1991-The Disney Dreamer and Doer Award. Nicole is a DREAMER AND DOER! She is a model of thinking about her goals, using her resources and then completing the tasks she sets to achieve. Her proudest ‘goal’ is that of being a mother and wife. She puts her faith and commitment to excel in these two roles as her first priority. While her children and husband are her number #1’s, her extended family is ever so important as well as her ‘family’ she surrounds herself when fulfilling her career as a licensed counselor. Nicole is a daughter, wife, mother, professional and friend. She prides her self on sharing her talents and being a model of excellence.

Laura Rutledge – Texas
Headshot of Laura Rutledge 2018 State Mother of the Year TexasLaura Rutledge has been married to John for 32 years and is the mother of 4 children: Meredith(27), Blake(26), Carley(23), and Grant (21) and grandmother to Hannah(16 months). After graduating with a degree in Finance(‘84) from University of Texas, Austin, Laura moved to Dallas to work in the mortgage industry for 10 years until the birth of their 3rd child. She moved to Fort Worth after marrying her husband, John, who is a Principal Civil Engineer at Freese & Nichols.  While raising her children, Laura was involved with  Junior League, Bible Study Fellowship, homeschooling, starting two private schools and co-founding a non-profit that raises awareness, programs and research funding for adolescent and young adult cancer patients. She spends her free time with family in the mountains of Red River, New Mexico, traveling, playing Mahjong, book club, and as much time as possible with her precious granddaughter.

Tina Cannon – Utah
Headshot of Tina Cannon 2018 State Mother of the Year UtahTina Cannon grew up in Brigham City, as the fourth of nine children to Byron and Clara Parkinson. While majoring in Accounting at Utah State, Tina took time to serve an LDS Mission to Independence, Missouri, and be an English teacher in Taiwan. Because he was a rocket scientist AND handsome, Tina consented to marry a BYU graduate named David in September of 1993. While medical professionals warned Tina that pregnancy would be unlikely, the opposite turned out to be true. David and Tina welcomed their 4th child shortly after their eighth wedding anniversary. While raising their two daughters and two sons in beautiful Mountain Green, Tina has served her community in multiple ways. She is currently a seminary teacher for youth ages 14-18, teaches an adult class for women at her local church, is a partner in a CPA firm, and serves as a County Councilman for Morgan County.

Amy Rounds – Vermont
Headshot of Amy Rounds 2018 State Mother of the Year VermontAmy is a wife and a mother to Owen and Olivia. Olivia is her 12-year-old daughter who was born with Down syndrome. Amy was honorably discharged from the US Army in 2001.  She is a Board member of Fall Mountain Special Olympics and actively coaches those athletes. She was a Girl Scout leader and volunteer for Girls on the Run. Amy was instrumental in raising $25,000 for the Westminster Center School playground project. She also implemented a book club for the school to enable every student to be a recipient of a free book. Her advocacy for Down syndrome gives her opportunities to do presentations for physicians at local hospitals on how to give a diagnosis of Down syndrome and to other local groups.  She is an ovarian cancer survivor who works as an office manager at a busy medical practice. Amy is an avid runner and cyclist.

Brenda Arens Reed – Wisconsin
Headshot Of Brenda Arens Reed 2018 State Mother of the Year WisconsinBrenda Arens Reed grew up on a farm in Northeast Nebraska. There she learned the value of family, community, and hard work. On the farm, Brenda showed a love for animals at a very young age. It was no surprise she decided she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was in junior high. She worked hard throughout her high school and college careers to be able to one day attend veterinary school. Brenda attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Research. She then attended veterinary school at Iowa State University in Ames Iowa and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2010.  Brenda married her husband, Joe in 2014, and gave birth to their son, Clay John, on January 15, 2017. Brenda continues to work as a small animal veterinarian while enjoying time with her growing family.

Patricia Novak – Wyoming
Headshot Patricia Novak 2018 State Mother of the Year WyomingPatricia Novak born in Greybull, Wyoming came home to two older brothers. Years later another brother arrived. She learned to ride a horse at three, by five she bridled, saddled and often rode twenty miles herding cattle to or from mountain pastures. Her schooling consisted of grades one through three in a one-room country school and then she finished school in Greybull; college was spent in San Rafael, California. At eighteen the Girl Scouts selected her to be an Ambassador of Good Will to Germany, one of 12 girls in European countries. The WW11 destruction, resilience and human spirit have held a lifetime influence. In 1959 Pat married Paul. Five children were born to this union: Anne, Catherine, Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth, later 14 grands and 5 great grands (one deceased) completed the family.