Board of Directors
Lee LaFrese has been involved in chess for over 40 years as an expert level player, tournament director, organizer and youth instructor. He became involved with 9 Queens because he is supportive of their mission and believe’s that chess can be a very powerful force in a young person’s life. Lee worked at IBM for 32 years where he was a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Systems Technology Division. He is now retired from IBM and working as a Senior Consultant for IntelliMagic, an IBM business partner. Lee is a past president of the Southern Arizona Chess Association and was chief organizer of the 1997 National Elementary Chess Championships held in Tucson which attracted over 1700 players.
Vicki Lázaro – Interim Treasurer
Vicki Lázaro became one of 9 Queen’s biggest cheerleaders in 2009 when she attended Chess Fest at the Hotel Congress. Vicki’s initial motivation was to encourage her daughter to play chess by learning how to play together at the free lessons 9 Queens gave at the event. What ended up happening was Vicki was so impressed with the organization, from the logo to the people involved, that she began volunteering. Today she is the Interim Executive Director and has proudly served as the President of the Board of Directors for 2011-2013. Vicki’s background is in executive sales, networking, merchandising and art. She has a Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and currently creates one-of-a-kind raku fired ceramic sculptures out of the pottery studio at the Tucson Museum of Art. She is a full-time Mom to Max and VargaLuna, both avid chess players and 9 Queens groupies.
Gina Macaluso -Secretary
Gina Macaluso is the Family Literacy Services Manager with the Pima County Public Library. A librarian with the Pima County Public Library for over 24 years, she has held various positions in adult, children’s and young adult services in small, medium and large libraries and was the former manager of the Columbus Branch Library, Golf Links Branch Library and Outreach Services. As member of American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), she served on the Youth Participation Committee, Organization & Bylaws Committee and the Teen Website Advisory Committee. She is a current member of the Arizona State Library Association’s Membership Committee, Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Young Adult Author Award Committee, and AzLA Awards Committee. Her passion is helping to make our community a better place and is involved with 9 Queens, MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS, Metropolitan Education Commission, and the Tucson Festival of Books.
Ann Price, AIA is a Registered Architect and has been involved in building design and planning work in Tucson since 1993. She has an MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Ann has enjoyed the game of chess recreationally since childhood, and began volunteering with 9 Queens after attending one of the library tournaments. Chess with 9 Queens is a great way for youth in our community to develop important business skills, like strategic thinking abilities. Ann is proud to serve as a member of the 9 Queens Board of Directors since 2011.
Yurika Isoe has been serving on the Board of Directors for 9Queens since her sophomore year at University High School and now attends the University of Arizona as a Biology Major. She started playing chess in 2nd grade at her elementary school’s chess club and has fallen in love with the game ever since. Participating in interscholastic chess all throughout her education, she wanted to bring the community that has fostered her personal growth to children and teens around Tucson. She has been involved with 9Queens through volunteering at Library Chess Tournaments and running the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library Summer Chess Club and volunteering at other outreach functions.
Kendra Cass, Executive Director, native of the San Francisco Bay area, has been an educator for the past 15 years ranging from K-12 teaching, arts education, social justice and media literacy. She earned her BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Teaching from New College of California with a focus in Family Literacy and International Teaching Collaboration in El Salvador. Kendra began bringing her own children to 9 Queens Family Nights and soon after became a volunteer and board member. She is a strong supporter of 9 Queens mission of empowerment of our girls through chess and a believer in the benefits chess offers in the arenas of math and science. Kendra is honored to serve as a member of 9 Queens and remains committed to the vision of accessible education for all!
9 Queens National Advisory Council
Jacquelyn De Sa