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2018 Advisory Board Elections

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In 2018, NASPA held an election for three members of its Advisory Board (AB).

The composition of the AB over the years under NASPA is available at this website.

Election Results

See our iContact announcement giving full results of the election.

Electoral Districts

This year’s election will elect members in:

  • US Northeast: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT
  • US Midwest: IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI
  • Canada: Any Canadian NASPA member in good standing


US Northeast

Candidate Candidate Statement
Paul Avrin

[head shot]

I have been playing tournament SCRABBLE since 1975 and served on the first Advisory Board in the early 1980s. I’ve directed several tournaments in the NYC and Connecticut area. In the past I served on the Tournament Committee and am currently a member of the Rules Committee.

SCRABBLE has been an integral part of my life, and my experience, spanning four decades, has given me a good perspective on how SCRABBLE has evolved through the years. I think that as a member of the Advisory Board, I can make significant contributions to the organization. I want to see our community grow and flourish, and I will be a good advocate for the membership.

Cornelia Guest

[head shot]

I am from Connecticut and have been involved in the SCRABBLE world since 2003, when I read Word Freak and entered a newcomers’ tournament in Danbury (CT). Since then I have competed in over 140 tournaments, playing in both the TWL and CSW lexicons.

I have been strongly involved in School SCRABBLE since 2004, when my triplets expressed interest in playing. I have run School SCRABBLE programs at seven different schools and libraries and have brought over 120 kids to the annual School SCRABBLE Championships, including the 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 champions. This year my students won all three divisions: Challenge, Championship, and High School. I am a member of the WESPA Youth Committee and am active in helping players throughout North America launch School SCRABBLE programs.

I have directed over 170 tournaments in New York and Connecticut, including NASPA-rated tournaments, School SCRABBLE tournaments, Youth tournaments (for players under 18), and newcomers’ tournaments. I was the Division 4 director at the 2012 National SCRABBLE Championship. For the last ten years I have organized and run the New England School SCRABBLE Championship.

I also support charitable SCRABBLE events and have acted as an advisor for Family Centers of Greenwich’s Annual SCRABBLE Challenge, which raises close to $100,000 each year to benefit literacy and education services for people learning English or improving their proficiency in English.

I am currently running monthly tournaments in Manhattan, directing the Danbury/Bethel/Brookfield NASPA Club #813, and running two weekly School SCRABBLE clubs for 2nd-8th graders. Last week I delivered a lecture at a senior center in Ridgefield and will be returning there in the fall to lead weekly classes.

I strongly believe that events that encourage new players and young players to participate are essential to the growth of tournament SCRABBLE. I'm eager to explore ways to jump start tournament participation. During my last term as an Advisory Board member I launched the Youth Achievement Awards, a point-based system that rewards players from 2nd-12th grade for achievements in Youth SCRABBLE, School SCRABBLE, and NASPA-rated tournaments.

I am also a member of NASPA’s Forward Energy Committee, where I championed and helped develop the Suggestion Box.

I am open to fresh ideas, and I hope to stay on the Advisory Board another term to help advance good initiatives and explore ways to get additional publicity for tournament play.

US Midwest

Candidate Candidate Statement
Nedd Kareiva


I began playing SCRABBLE in the 1970s as a teenager with my late parents and one of my aunts, quickly catching on to the game and besting all three of them. I subsequently went to Bible college for pastoral training but often on the weekends several of us students would play recreational Scrabble. I had won the lion's share of games.

Several years after graduation (as I was inactive in ministry), I went to audition for the then SCRABBLE TV game show. While waiting in a long line to try out, the late George Stone was passing out flyers for his Friday night Chicago SCRABBLE club. I skipped the audition and soon found my Friday evenings doing something I loved.

In April of 1990 I played in my first sanctioned tournament with George directing. Three years later, I won my first tournament in Milwaukee, having won all 11 games. Soon I began to play in many tourneys across the Midwest, building my highest rating ever in 1998 (1822). Then for several years I became a club and tournament director. I guess you can say I ran the gamut in the SCRABBLE spectrum.

For roughly three decades (minus a several year hiatus in the 2000 teens), I've been privileged to play hundreds of players across the U.S., Canada, and abroad, some of them (past and present) the very tops in North America. A few examples immediately coming to mind are Brian Cappelletto, Joel Sherman, Joey Mallick, Marty Gabriel, Paul Epstein, Mack Meller, and the Reinke brothers. There are many others. Regardless, it's been a blast meeting so many players, young and old, male and female, upper and lower echelon folk and having a wide range of experiences (good, bad and in between) in the SCRABBLE arena. It's been quite a ride.

I bring to the table a rich knowledge and love for our game and a God-given talent to play to go along with significant various experiences in both the business arena and life skills spanning 4 decades, all of which I believe are assets to serve the greater SCRABBLE community. I've been blessed in so many ways that perhaps this is the right time and medium for me to share my knowledge and skills.

If fortunate to be elected to serve, it will be humbling as well as a high honor representing the interests of each and every SCRABBLE member in the Midwest region and hopefully adding new ones to the game Alfred Butts was so gifted to create, one that we now richly enjoy 85 years later and will continue to enjoy. God bless and thank you for your consideration of my credentials.

I can be reached by email at nedd@inbox.com.

Troy Thompson

[head shot]

I have been honored to serve as the elected Midwest Representative of the Advisory Board for the past term, and I seek to be re-elected to that position. I have been playing organized SCRABBLE for just over a decade. I have learned much about the game in the past ten years (more so than my rating reveals), and have enjoyed becoming a club director and tournament director, hosting and assisting in tournaments in Indiana and Illinois. I have had the privilege of mentoring other directors in order to pass along the insights and instruction that were passed along to me. All of this has given me an appreciation for the game of SCRABBLE.

Being on the Advisory Board has deepened my appreciation for the community of SCRABBLE, particularly for the many people who volunteer time and effort behind the scenes on various committees to make the players' SCRABBLE experience competitive, fair and fun, as well as give a professional and welcoming presence to those who are seeking out organized SCRABBLE.

I believe that my continued service on the Advisory Board will benefit the SCRABBLE community, particularly those in the Midwest. I am open to any concern brought to me by players and am faithful to personally address those concerns where possible and carry those concerns to the Advisory Board (and other relevant committees) as needed.

If you have questions or concerns about NASPA, the Advisory Board, the SCRABBLE community, or my role and desire to be re-elected, then I welcome you to contact me at ScrabbleTroy@gmail.com.

I appreciate your consideration and ask for your vote in this election.

Wes Underwood

[head shot]

My name is Wes Underwood. I’ve been playing club and tournament SCRABBLE with NASPA Club #518 in La Grange Park (IL) since late 2009. I was hooked after just one visit, when Director Tom Tremont welcomed me and provided a brief tour of tournament SCRABBLE, the Cheat Sheet, and Zyzzyva.

I was recently certified as a NASPA Director and I’ve run two tournaments. I just want others to enjoy the game and our NASPA community! On the Advisory Board, I would work to protect and advance SCRABBLE and NASPA for the benefit of all who enjoy it, and I would be open to the opinions of others.

Administration and detail is my thing. I ask questions and seek appropriate solutions to problems. I listen to others and think through issues. I have a background of administrative experience in tournament chess. For many years I ran a club and served as an officer in the Chicago Industrial Chess League (CICL). I compete in the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF), where I am also a Tournament Director. I earned the ICCF International Arbiter award and currently sit on the ICCF Appeals Committee. I have also served on the Elder Council at my church.

If I’m not playing SCRABBLE it’s probably only because I’m working (as a CPA at a bank in Chicago), tending my garden, birdwatching, playing correspondence chess, or admiring my new granddaughter!

Feel free to reach out to me (w.underwood@ameritech.net) anytime.


Jackson Smylie wins this district by acclamation.

Candidate Candidate Statement
Jackson Smylie

[head shot]

I believe in a positive future for SCRABBLE and am seriously invested in everything to do with SCRABBLE's success. You can expect me to be open-minded, fair-minded, and analytical in every decision I make!


Voting will take place from June 3–30 inclusive, Eastern Time. Votes will be accepted by paper or electronically. Any current NASPA member can vote for (at most) one candidate for each of the three contested seats, regardless of the region of residency.

Paper votes may be sent to NASPA by postal mail, and must arrive during the voting period to be accepted. Paper votes are not anonymous and must identify the voter and their vote.

Electronic votes should be made through the Member Services link at the NASPA website. Electronic votes will be anonymous, except inasmuch as a skilled person with access to the NASPA server could eventually reconstruct voting information.

The winner of each election will be determined by plurality. If an election ends in a tie, a lottery or coin toss will be used to break the tie.

Winners will be announced at the beginning of July, as soon as the votes are tabulated.

Any disputes about the elections process will be decided by the AB, excluding those members running for reelection.


Electoral candidates must meet all of the following criteria:

  • They must be a NASPA member in good standing.
  • They must accept the nomination during the nomination period of May 1–31, 2018.
  • They must be at least 21 years of age.
  • They must be prepared to comply with the obligations of NASPA committee members.
  • They must submit a platform statement.

They do not need to be a certified director, have a high tournament rating or serve on another committee, but neither do these qualifications exclude them. Incumbent members may stand for reelection.

Nomination Process

Nominations will take place from May 1–31 inclusive, Eastern Time.

To nominate yourself, send your name and platform statement to info@scrabbleplayers.org.

To nominate someone else, send the candidate's name to info@scrabbleplayers.org. Nominated candidates will be contacted by the AB and asked if they agree to run. If so, they will be asked to send their platform statements.

Platform Statement

A platform statement is a brief statement that describes a candidate's qualifications, background, platform, and any other information that might be of use to voters, for posting to this webpage.

You can view the platform statements of previous candidates here.

“Good Standing”

For the purposes of this election, a NASPA member is considered to be in good standing if:

Background Information

The AB acts as a liaison between the membership and the Executive Committee (EC), helps the EC decide matters of policy, and adjudicates appeals on decisions made by other committees.

AB members should possess:

  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to work well in a group situation
  • A willingness to make tough decisions on sensitive or controversial issues

AB members serve a 2-year term. The upcoming term runs from the 2018 North American SCRABBLE Championship (NASC) to the 2020 NASC.

Most AB business is conducted during monthly conference calls and over email which AB members are expected to participate in. Also, many AB members take on additional projects.