Kathy Markeland, Executive Director

Kathy joined the WAFCA staff in January 2007 bringing a diverse public policy and member services background. In 2019, she was selected to serve as Executive Director to guide the continued growth of the Association and increase member capacity to deliver outstanding human services that help Wisconsin’s children and families to achieve their full human potential.

Prior to joining WAFCA, Kathy served as an associate director for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, the public policy voice for Wisconsin’s Roman Catholic bishops. In her eight years with the Conference, Kathy advocated on a wide range of issues from environmental matters to human concerns and health care policy. In addition, she followed state developments related to welfare reform, services for the vulnerable and state and local finance.

In her early career, Kathy spent seven years serving the Wisconsin Counties Association, providing both member support and public policy advocacy services to elected representatives on Wisconsin’s 72 county boards. Her experience with the counties introduced her to a wide range of county services and programs and advanced her knowledge of state and local funding relationships. Her policy focus included human services, nursing homes, county organization and environment and land use management.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Behavioral Science and Law in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Emily Coddington, Associate Director

Emily joined WAFCA in 2019 following nearly 20 years of child welfare experience, including direct service, supervisory, and management roles. Emily’s career has focused on supporting and advocating for children, youth, caregivers and parents, as well as those connected to the county, tribe, state and non-profit workforce.

For the past 5 years, Emily served as a Section Chief with the Department of Children and Families – first, with the Child Welfare Licensing Section and most recently with the Bureau of Youth Services. Emily also spent several years working on behalf of the non-profit sector and a county human services agency.

Emily obtained her Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Rachel Kruse, Office Manager & Events Coordinator

Rachel joined the WAFCA staff in the fall of 2016. A UW-Whitewater graduate, she most recently worked with the Wisconsin Campus Compact (WiCC), a membership organization based at the University of Wisconsin – Extension with a mission to strengthen civic engagement and service-learning partnerships between Wisconsin’s post-secondary institutions and the communities they serve. Rachel started out doing marketing communications, such as producing their annual report, maintaining their membership database and redesigning and updating their website. She then advanced to Associate Outreach Specialist, a position that had her taking a more active role with the WICC Board, organizing their statewide conference, and coordination of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service grant project that outperformed national target measures in number of volunteers recruited, pounds of food donated and number of veterans receiving assistance and support. Rachel is an AmeriCorp*VISTA alumna whose service involved creating a Latino Parent Association at a Whitewater elementary school as well as recruiting and managing UW-Whitewater students to volunteer in a local after school tutoring program.