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2015 Advisory Board Elections

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In 2015, NASPA held an election to replace three members of its Advisory Board (AB). For additional details about serving on the Advisory Board, see the official election announcement

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 West: AZ, CO, NM, ID, UT, WY, CA, WA, OR, MT, AK, HI, NV
  • US South: OK, TX, AR, LA, MS, TN, AL, FL, GA, WV, NC, SC, VA
  • At-Large: Any NASPA member in good standing


An electoral candidate 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.
  • 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 brief statement describing their qualifications, background, platform, and any other information that might be of use to voters, for posting to this webpage.

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.

“Good Standing”

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


US West

  • Leah Kruley has been playing competitive Scrabble since 2008 and was certified as a director in 2010. She is co-director of Redwood Coast Scrabble Club in Arcata, California and has been involved in organizing and directing several one- and two-day tournaments. She sees the most urgent issues needing to be resolved as 1) increasing participation in clubs and tournaments and 2) devising a system for future word list updates which will keep maximum control of the end product in NASPA's hands.
  • Sandy Nang became interested in Scrabble in 2002 when she realized the Nationals were going to be in San Diego, only a 3-hour drive away from her home in West Los Angeles. She got her qualification rating from Club #195 run by Bruce D’Ambrosia and honed her amateur skills at Club #350 run by Gary Moss. Drawn first to Scrabble because of the different playing venues and love of travel, she has since expanded her horizons when she started to play Collins in international tournaments in Malaysia, England, Czech Republic, Thailand, and Malta. Sandy is a NASPA tournament director who is apprenticing under David Whitley and Mark Milan and has run a few Collins tournaments out of her Malibu home. She is interested in serving on the Advisory Board to understand the workings of NASPA better and to contribute by helping to grow the organization and represent its players.

US South

  • Matt Bernardina has been an active player for 5 years, with a long history in other word games before coming to Scrabble. He feels he'd be an asset to the AB as his problem-solving style is to build consensus towards progress, and he’s a patient listener. As he came to tournament Scrabble long after the Word Freak boom, he will provide a fresh set of eyes and ears to the AB.
  • Mina Le is a 33-year-old surgeon in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has played NASPA tournaments in 12 different states; started Facebook pages for the Minneapolis and NYC Scrabble communities; and co-organized and co-directed the inaugural Virtuals tournament for 80 players from 6 continents on ISC. As an Advisory Board member she would address the underrepresentation of women, and particularly young women, in organized Scrabble. Given that Florida has overtaken New York as the third most populous state, the relative Scrabble drought in Florida and more generally throughout the South will also be her concern. She would heartily advocate for players of the Collins lexicon, and finally, she would work toward creating avenues to play sanctioned Scrabble online.
  • Mike Willis is a first time nominee. Mike has been actively involved in promoting organized SCRABBLE play since 1980. He founded and directed Club #319 in Dallas, Texas. He has organized and directed tournaments in multiple cities and states, and has organized the State of Texas SCRABBLE Championship for almost a quarter of a century. Mike plays in clubs all through the nation, and plays daily on ISC. He has heard what fellow players are hoping for, and can work hard to create solutions to every issue no matter how difficult they appear.

At Large

  • Scott Appel has been playing tournament Scrabble since 1997, and attended his first National Scrabble Championship in 1998. He's played about 90 tournaments since then, and hasn’t missed a Nationals since. Another example of Scott’s enthusiasm for the game is that he started an after-school Scrabble program at his town’s local middle school and had about 15 students participate; he plans continue this program throughout the next school year and beyond. Scott will be prominently featured in an upcoming issue of GAMES magazine (release date June 23, 2015) wherein he promotes the game of Scrabble, and how he got hooked on it.
  • Paul Avrin has been playing tournament Scrabble since 1975 and has logged over 7,500 games. In 1987, he was honored to be appointed to the NSA's first Advisory Board. That initial meeting, which was attended by Scrabble inventor Alfred Butts, took place in New York City at the headquarters of Coleco, the trademark owner at the time. Subsequently, they convened at the Nationals every other year, maintained an active correspondence and, as needed, made telephone calls to one another. For the seven years that he was a member of the AB, the size of the Nationals grew, the School Scrabble program was developed, and the World Championship was instituted. Paul is a certified Director, and has organized and run tournaments, both years ago and as recently as September 2014. He would like to be a member of the AB again because it appears to be a much more active body of governance than it has been in the past. Paul believes that he would bring good energy and a solid commitment to the Board’s important role in helping to shape the future of Scrabble. It would be his privilege and pleasure to be on the team.
  • Mike Gincel is originally from NJ and currently resides in Clermont, Florida. He has played in 324 rated games of Scrabble in his 3 ½ years as a NASPA member and considers it an honor, a pleasure and one of the most amazing experiences of his life playing this game, making friends for a lifetime and growing as a person. As an AB member, he will: 1) be fair in his decisions and to ensure that all voices that need to be heard are heard; and 2) make himself available to NASPA community members for questions/suggestions. As a young, 24-year old non-director and novice player, he will represent demographics not currently represented on the AB. In terms of relevant leadership experience, he was a founding father and board member of his fraternity, and his passion to learn, tenacious spirit and gratitude to the community that helped him realize so many beautiful things about himself and this game will serve him well as an AB member. He would see it as a privilege and an honor to be elected, and it is his sincere hope that he be voted on this board and given the opportunity to serve his NASPA community.
  • Josh Greenway has been an avid Scrabble player since 2008 and has participated in 67 tournaments in Canada and the US, including 17 in Toronto that he directed in the past year. Of the 201 players in his Toronto events, five are previously casual players who he recruited to join NASPA.
          Please consider the following strengths of Josh's AB candidacy: 1) Dialogue. Josh loves talking Scrabble. He's committed to soliciting ideas and concerns from the membership and advocating for them with the EC; 2) Work Ethic. Josh already dedicates much time to his club, which meets 52 weeks a year, as well as his tournaments and his own game - he will bring the same dedication to his AB responsibilities; 3) Fairness - The Advisory Boards undertakes the serious function of ruling on disciplinary matters. With no disrespect, as Josh recognizes the limitations of imperfect knowledge, he admits to having questioned the proportionality of some rulings -he would strive not only to find the fairest solutions, but also to foster the overall confidence that NASPA members have in these decisions; 4) Participation - One of Josh’s goals is to facilitate as much tournament play as possible; 5) Recruitment - Josh’s main priority in his tournament and club work is the recruitment of new members. He will look to leverage a potential position on the Advisory Board towards that goal.
  • Cheryl Melvin began playing scrabble as a child and became addicted to on-line scrabble when no one else among her family or friends would play with her; she joined the National Scrabble Association 16 years ago and through the encouragement of on-line competitors, attended her first Nationals in Providence in 2000. She had never attended a club or tournament before. No one was able to play Nationals without playing at least one tournament, so she found one in Michigan and used a clock and tally sheets for the first time and was “hooked" right away.
          Cheryl has played in every division, except Div 1 at Nationals. She travels around the country combining her love of travel and her love of Scrabble and received an award for most games played and in the most states a couple of years ago. She generally plays at least one live tournament per month; to date, she has played 353 tournaments, 4303 games, and met 1349 different opponents across the board in NASPA sanctioned games.
          Cheryl loves the game and the many people who have become her scrabble family, and she would be honored to represent the interests of all players but especially the intermediate players who are the bread and butter of the organization. She is a retired labor advocate and has many years experience in labor negotiations. She appreciates your support would like to have your vote for this elected position.
  • Puneet Sharma is uniquely qualified to serve NASPA and the broader scrabble community as an advisory board member based on his credentials, international experience and the desire to help grow the game that he loves.
          Puneet learned to love Scrabble as an undergraduate student in Mumbai, under the tutelage of some of the leading players in India, About eight years ago, he moved to the US to pursue a professional opportunity. Joining the Scrabble playing community and being able to continue his favorite hobby was crucial to his acclimatization and transition to the US. Since then, he has grown both as a professional and as a Scrabble player. Puneet works with a large professional services firm, where he helps some of the world's largest healthcare companies solve some of their most complex issues. Executing projects, he has led cross-functional teams of sizes ranging from 30 - 50 team members. He will leverage his problem solving, interpersonal and negotiation skills to excel as an AB member and help grow our game.
          As it relates to Scrabble, Puneet believes he understands what the players truly desire - a cohesive community and association that facilitates fair and challenging competition in a cost effective manner. He believes that aligning on a unified dictionary strategy, eliminating segregation, engaging the increasingly virtual and connected "players", and attracting sponsorship should be key priorities for us. His professional and his international Scrabble experience, will allow him to bring a unique and diverse perspective to the AB to help achieve that vision. While Scrabble is important, the thing that he values the most is camaraderie and building lasting relationships. He hopes to continue to do just that as an AB member in our vibrant community.
  • Betsey Wood played her first competitive Scrabble tournament in 1983 and was immediately addicted. She has since played tournament Scrabble in Canada, Central America, and Europe. Recently she has combined her love of photography with her love of Scrabble by taking photos of players and games at tournaments.
          As a math teacher and tutor she is interested in the educational value of the game as well as its enjoyment quotient. As a volunteer in the Restorative Justice program, she has learned skills in negotiation and compromise. She promises to represent the many players she meets at tournaments, on-line, and at club and to listen to and elicit all concerns, and bring them up for discussion on the board.


Voting will take place from June 1 – June 30 inclusive, Eastern time. Votes will be accepted by paper or electronically. Each voter is entitled to vote for one candidate.

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.

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