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2020 Advisory Board Elections

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In 2020, NASPA held an election for four 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.

John Ortman and Dan Stock resigned before taking office.

Portia Zwicker accepted a 1-year appointment as an At Large member to replace John Ortman. An election will be held for a US West member next year.

Paul Wood, who ran for the US Midwest seat, replaced Dan Stock.

Electoral Districts

This year’s election will chose members in:

  • Canada
  • 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
  • US West: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY



Heidi Robertson wins this district by acclamation.

Candidate Candidate Statement
Heidi Robertson

[head shot]

Hi! I'm Heidi Robertson. You may remember me from such appearances as CNSC 2018 and "NASPA tonight - Mar 12, 2019".

I help run virtual Ottawa club sessions; sing self-scribed SCRABBLE parodies with the best of you; and have the ear of all your favourite Grandmasters.

Vote for me or don't — but I did accept Sue's nomination to offer y'all some Canadian representation...

And you may not end up with a choice anyway ...

So you might as well pretend that I was who you wanted all along. 😉

US Midwest

Candidate Candidate Statement
Dan Stock

[head shot]

I am honored to have been nominated by Dallas Johnson to represent the Midwest Region on the Advisory Board.

My SCRABBLE career spans over 25 years. I direct two clubs in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. I've directed dozens of tournaments and assisted in running over 100. That includes being a Division Leader at the last 11 North American SCRABBLE Championships, where I have also been the primary author of the 100-tile statements or "tableaux" placed on the Big Board. [http::/www.cross-tables.com Cross-tables] tells me that I've played over 4000 tourney games. Based on my playing history, NASPA has awarded me the title of "SCRABBLE Expert" – although my rating has dropped a little since that title was earned.

I've been on NASPA's Rules Committee since 2009. That experience should show that I have the three qualities that NASPA recommends for Advisory Board members: "Good communication skills; the ability to work well in a group situation; and a willingness to make tough decisions on sensitive or controversial issues."

I certainly would like to see the game move forward and increase in popularity, and I fully support current NASPA efforts to do so – including supporting School SCRABBLE and the efforts of the Forward Energy Committee. But that's easy to say. The reality is that this is a political position, so let me tell you where I stand on three key issues that are facing NASPA.

First is the question of resuming over-the-board play after the pandemic. On this issue, I am an advocate of significant caution. NASPA was a little slow in officially closing down its clubs and tourneys, and I do not want to risk the health of our players by reopening prematurely. The decision to reopen needs to be made based on sound, scientific recommendations that say it is safe to do so, paired with appropriate healthful practices when we do.

Second is the question of lexicons. On this issue, I favor the status quo where NASPA supports both the Collins and NWL (formerly TWL or OWL) dictionaries. Collins is wonderful for those who can compete internationally and choose to do so, as well as for a limited number of players who prefer the much larger word list. However, I feel that most NASPA players prefer the more compact and more familiar NWL lexicon. Accordingly, the best approach is to continue to provide many opportunities to play with both word lists.

Third is the question of competing organizations. I am definitely a NASPA partisan, and I personally don't attend tourneys run by other organizations – but I disagree with NASPA's traditional stand on this issue. I would like to see outreach from NASPA to competing organizations, especially efforts to coordinate scheduling to minimize the conflicts between major tourneys run by any such organizations. Let's see if we can work toward having one plan for scheduling tourneys!

As I write this, there is one other candidate for the position of Midwest representative on the Advisory Board. My opponent also loves the game and would serve well. Please vote for the candidate with whom you agree more and/or the one you feel to be better qualified.

My campaign slogan is one of my tableaux. It uses the 100 tiles in the standard set and can be placed on alternate rows of the board: "Valuing one plan, we realize Daniel Stock is hopeful to be a quite exacting Advisory Board juryman for the Midwest Region." The blanks are the L in "hopeful" and the N in "exacting."

Paul Wood

[head shot]

Playing SCRABBLE has been a unique way for a player to grow in self belief and confidence. As a Board member I will seek to support, strengthen and enable each member of NASPA and those who wish to become members, in growing in both their playing skills and their own personal skills and development. Working with other Board members, I will engage in actively promoting SCRABBLE in all its formats within the United States, and beyond the borders as appropriate.

I see the growing importance of School SCRABBLE tournaments and development of the youth as a solid foundation for the growth of SCRABBLE worldwide.

US Northeast

Candidate Candidate Statement
James Flomo

[head shot]

Greetings to my fellow professional SCRABBLE members of NASPA. Our social gathering has partially crumbled and been impacted by isolation and shelter-in-place policies as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Nonetheless, our abilities to actively network various social media in these difficult times remain unchanged, as some of us constantly connect online and play scrabble virtually.

I am James Flomo, a resident of Prince George’s County (MD) and a member of both the District of Columbia and Bowie sanctioned SCRABBLE Clubs. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and am married with children.

I am formally registering my interest to be nominated and elected to the NASPA Advisory Board in June 2020.

I came to the United States in 1998 upon an invitation to participate in the 1998 then National SCRABBLE Championship held in Chicago (IL).

My passion and love for the SCRABBLE game date as far back as 1978 while in my junior year in high school in my native land, Liberia. Never did I think that I would have been socially intertwined or occupied my time with the “world’s most popular indoor game." My interest at the time was purposely recreational – intended to only boost my word power and vocabulary in competing in spelling contests.

Little did I know that I would one day become a professional SCRABBLE player competing with fellow professionals in sanctioned tournaments around the world. In 1995, my passion for the game further grew actively when I became the first organizer and chairman of the SCRABBLE game in Liberia, West Africa. I was instrumental in having the game officially registered and recognized as a professional indoor game (like other games such as soccer and basketball) with the Ministry of Youth & Sports in Liberia, West Africa.

In 1997, a 5-member team of the National SCRABBLE Association of Liberia, including myself, was invited to participate in the World SCRABBLE Championship held in Washington DC. Unfortunately, Liberia could not participate due to political upheaval and civil crisis at the time.

Again in 1998, an invitation was accorded us to participate in the then National SCRABBLE Championship held in Chicago (IL), and we did commit ourselves to participate. Since then, I have continued to actively play professional SCRABBLE both at the national and club levels. A synopsis of my profile and activities with NASPA can be found on the Association’s Website for your easiest perusal.

I can, therefore, assure you that if nominated and elected as one of your Advisory Board Committee Members, I will faithfully and diligently execute the duties assigned me – to assist the Executive Committee to decide matters of policy and adjudicate appeals on decisions made by other committees of the Association. Hence, I am committed to ensuring that we not only professionally play the game, but find ways to continuously improve the game worldwide and encourage more people to join our endeavors.

Portia Zwicker

[head shot]

Like many tournament SCRABBLE players I know, I’ve been enjoying SCRABBLE since I was a child. However, I didn’t discover NASPA, club, and tournament play until I moved to New York City in my 20s. I played one time in NASPA Club #56 (I remember playing in pairs, and my partner and I defeated Joel Sherman and his partner), but as a struggling 20-something, I couldn’t afford the weekly admission, not to mention tournament costs, so I remained with an informal SCRABBLE meetup.

After returning to my home town five years ago, I joined the Albany club and have participated in almost every Albany-area tournament since - including Lake George, Albany New Year’s, Albany 4th of July, and Saratoga Springs. As a full-time working mother of a young child, SCRABBLE club has been my one “night off” and I look forward to it every week. Tournaments are special occasions involving extra child care arrangements, sometimes limiting me to playing just the Early Birds, but somehow I make it work. I am looking forward to a time when I can attend more tournaments that are a bit farther away, including Nationals.

As a member of the AB, I’d hope to be able to continue an initiative I’ve already started implementing in the Albany area: zero waste tournaments. If you attend those, you may have noticed recycling and composting stations. I’d like to expand upon that as well as encourage and help other directors to implement zero waste tournaments.

I have found a home in SCRABBLE. My fellow club members are my friends, and I feel very welcomed at tournaments. I would be honored to be able to give back to NASPA for this by serving on the Advisory Board.

Will Anderson

Will Anderson.jpg

My name is Will Anderson and I have been playing tournament Scrabble for eleven years. I have a unique skill set that I believe makes me a strong candidate for the AB.

First, my career as a player includes success in both the NWL and CSW lexicons, including winning the North American SCRABBLE Championship in 2017. I favor dictionary unity under the CSW lexicon, but I come from a background of extensive experience with and deep respect for both lexicons.

Second, I have served as a commentator for the North American School SCRABBLE Championship online broadcasts for five years. This experience has helped me get to know the players and coaches who have built School SCRABBLE into a thriving community. It has also greatly improved my ability to explain the appeal of SCRABBLE to potential newcomers. Articulating my passion for SCRABBLE in a clear, understandable way to newcomers to our game is a challenge I always embrace.

Third, I have extensive experience working with Hasbro and other SCRABBLE-related entities on outreach efforts and educational materials. I have always sought to be a good ambassador for the game in media interviews and promotional events. I work well in teams with others and this quality would serve me well on the AB.

Lastly, I’ve been heavily involved in online Scrabble initiatives, including offering remote commentary for past in-person events; more recently, I’ve been focused on improving my Twitch streaming channel, including developing the capability to cover online tournaments. This is especially important now in the absence of in-person SCRABBLE events.

My diverse experience within the SCRABBLE community makes me an ideal candidate for the AB.

Thank you for your consideration.

US West

John Ortman wins this district by acclamation.

Candidate Candidate Statement
John Ortman

[head shot]

Thanks for considering me for the Advisory Board. Between playing tournaments since 2003 and having been on message boards and forums from the beginning, I think I have a pretty good grasp of the variety of perspectives that SCRABBLE players have.

I launched the Roseville SCRABBLE Club around 2006, and I’ve directed a few local club and open tournaments. I’m open to people’s opinions and think I have some fair insights on how to regrow the game.

Also,and this is big (for me), in about a month I’ll be going on a trial work retirement. I’ll be able to devote the due time to the Advisory Board and potentially other volunteer positions later with NASPA. Also I plan on traveling quite a bit to tournaments outside of my region in the near future.

As far as platform stances, here are mine:

  • I advocate for freedom and creativity. In the context of the post and continuing COVID period I believe that if directors want to direct, they should have that freedom, but just be clear about what precautions will be instituted and then let people decide what their risk-appetite is and if they then want to participate. With respect to creativity, within reason I would advocate variations on tournament play. E.g., I like the allowance for laddered tournaments that may take weeks to finish, and I like the allowance for 5-point penalty challenge with the NWL (although I have yet to direct these variations myself).
  • I advocate for no limitations on dictionaries. If you are a proponent of Collins only or NWL only, I’m not your candidate.
  • I would like the exploration of ways to promote NASPA more. Crazy possibility, though it might be out of our price range: semi-targeted advertising on the SCRABBLE Go app.

That’s all I can think of as far as platforms. Regardless of whether I’m elected, I would enjoy chatting with you about Scrabble issues or just plain chatting.


Voting will take place from June 1–30 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 four 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, 2020.
  • 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 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 2020 North American SCRABBLE Championship (NASC) to the 2022 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.