Paula Newman-Skomski,
Board Chair & Founder 

Paula has been an RN for thirty years. She has spent the past ten as a Forensic Nurse Examiner with Providence Intervention Center for Assault & Abuse providing services to victims of all forms of interpersonal violence. Since receiving her Master's Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner, she has been providing forensic care to patients and is the sole nurse practitioner for the Intervention Center. She has been involved with the Snohomish County Sexual Exploitation Intervention Network (SEIN) since its inception in 2006 and the co-chair since 2010.

Paula grew up in Oregon and made Washington her home after serving in the Air Force at McChord Base. She is married with a combined family of five adult children and five grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys attending concerts, camping, soap-making, knitting and spending time with her family and friends. You may see her around town in a variety of tie dye!

"I have always enjoyed working with women. I have personal experience with sexual abuse and easily could have found myself in the same situation as the women we look to serve, if not for the love of my family. I can think of no better way to give back than to walk beside a woman as she finds her way home."  -Paula 


Norene Laggart  Executive Director

Norene has been an active volunteer with Peoria Home since planning meetings convened in 2013 to create Peoria Home.  She held a board position, until she was hired as the Executive Director in February 2018.  She met Paula while working as a Victim Advocate for the Providence Intervention Center for Abuse and Assault in Everett, WA. With the desire to change her career path, she returned to school at Antioch University Seattle and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in the Psychology of Women’s Trauma and Healing. Working as a Victim Advocate is very rewarding work. However, when you don't have resources to offer a woman who has been brutalized through sexual exploitation it is very frustrating and disheartening.  "I'm proud to be part of the creation of Peoria Home, in addition to educating our community on the critical need for this resource. Housing is the first element of providing a safe environment for the healing and beginning to restore their lives. These  victimized women are  someone's mother, daughter, niece or cousin. The stereotype must be broken. I have traveled to Thistle Farms located in Nashville, TN, the model of residential recovery program we are replicating.  The tremendous work these women have done to change their lives is absolutely remarkable. We too, can do this in Snohomish County, yet it can not be done alone. This is a call to action for our community." -Norene

Scott Mitchell
Board Member

Scott is a local pastor who has a deep passion to witness hope and healing in Snohomish County and beyond. Upon learning about the injustice and prevalence of human trafficking in our community, he set out to help in whatever way he could. His love of learning and teaching have led him to help spread the word of this darkness that affects our area. His passion is contagious as he takes on the challenge of developing resources for victims of human and sex trafficking. He shares his knowledge enthusiastically with others and motivates them to get involved. After meeting the founder of Peoria Home, Paula Skomski, Scott was ready to commit his services to this project and open Peoria Home in Everett permanently.  As he became more involved with this project he saw the tremendous value it would bring to the community. He is grateful to be a part of Peoria Home!  In October 2014 he founded Grace and Mercy Church in South Everett, in hope this church would be gathering place for people to pray, and serve their community. Scott was raised in Monroe and lived throughout the US, making Everett his long-term home which he loves deeply. He is married to a wonderful woman who is the mother of their three
children. He enjoys spending as much time with his family as he can. Whether it’s hiking or
watching a show, being around his family is a great source of joy. He and his family have
committed their life to making a difference in the Pacific Northwest for the long term and to inspire hope and healing to folks who live their lives on the margins of society.




Laura Patton Ballard
Board Member

Laura Patton Ballard is a retired Family Practice physician.  She received her training at the University of Washington and subsequently joined the medical staff of Group Health Cooperative.  She practiced medicine  for 24 years, initially in Everett and later in Seattle.  She also held several administrative positions at Group Health, including quality assurance and contracting.  In addition, she developed and directed Group Health’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) program.  

During her years of practice, she saw first-hand the devastating consequences of physical and sexual abuse.  She first heard about Peoria Home in the spring of 2015 from a presentation by our founder, Paula Newman-Skomski, and knew immediately that she wanted to get involved.  Visiting the Thistle Farms program last fall convinced her that their program effectively addresses the complex needs of these women who have survived prostitution and sex trafficking. Her focus on the Peoria Home Board will be to obtain financial support from businesses and corporations.

Danielle Carnes Board Member

Danielle Carnes joins Peoria Home this fall as a board member and supporter. She brings experience in strategic planning, communications, marketing, data science and organizational development.

Danielle’s background is in higher education, receiving a Master of Science degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University in 2003, which is the study of college student development. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies. She has worked in both public and private colleges, four-year and two-year community colleges. She is currently the Executive Director of Strategic Enrollment Management for Edmonds Community College where she helps to position the college for optimal enrollments through trend analysis, strategic initiatives, and project management.

For the last 20 years, Danielle has been an advocate for social justice and helping to dismantle systems of privilege and inequity stemming from oppression and fear.  Passionate about safety, choice, and empowerment for women, she is excited to be a part of Peoria Home’s launch. Danielle and her family moved to Washington in 2016 from Colorado and are enjoying all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She has two children, ages 12 and 9, and two recently adopted kittens.