top of page

My name is Jani, and I have lived and worked in Pierce County for over 30 years. Here is a little herstory to help you understand me.

  • Born in Olympia, WA in 1973 and grew up with 2 younger brothers and my mother (my father passed away when I was 4).

  • Attended public schools in Olympia and had an amazing experience. Decided that I wanted to be an educator.

  • Watched my mother advocate for students in the Olympia area as a long time member of the school board.

  • Graduated from Capital High School in 1992 and got my first job as a camp counselor at St. Albans Girl Scout. I returned to camp every summer for the next 10 years.

  • Attended Pacific Lutheran University and majored in Biology, while earning my elementary teaching certificate.

  • Worked as a substitute teacher in Tacoma, Bethel and Franklin Pierce School Districts for over a year, and learned all the things that they do not teach you in the college classroom.

  • Started my first full time teaching position in the Clover Park School District at Lochburn Middle School. I taught Technology Education, Leadership and Yearbook and loved the students I worked with every day. After 10 years of working with many amazing educators I wanted a change.

  • Earned my Masters Degree from the University of Washington-Tacoma in Educational Technology.

  • Married Paul Hitchen while working at Lochburn and we were living in Parkland.

  • Accepted a position in the Bethel School District in 2009 at Spanaway Junior High, teaching 9th grade Physical Science. I moved to Liberty Junior High when it opened and when 9th graders were moved to the high school, I followed. Worked as a biology, physical science and physics teacher at Graham Kapowsin High School.

  • Was a proud member of the Bethel Education Association union and it was their encouragement that inspired my interest and involvement to run for office.

  • Ran for the Pierce County Council in 2020, and won.

  • Was sworn in, January of 2021 and have loved the opportunities to make impactful changes as a member of the Council.

My husband Paul, passed away in March of 2019, and though we had been working towards me one day running for office, I became inspired to NOT WAIT. You might not have a tomorrow to make the changes and do the work you want to and need to do. I am running with his blessing and know that he would be behind me 100%.

I am so glad I did, and I want to continue the work I have begun.

Jani's Family 1980

My younger brothers and I lived in the same home, with many different pets and a huge support system around us to help my mother as a single parent.

Barb Roder in Action

My mother demonstrating her passion at one of her many school board meetings.

St Albans

One of my favorite places in Washington is Camp St. Albans and Lake Deveraux. I spent 10 summers working for the Girl Scouts and continue to volunteer with Friends of St. Albans (FOSA) to preserve this place for future Girl Scouts.

My Wedding Day

My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life! I am so thankful to have had as much time with Paul as I did.

Our Future

Being a public school teacher has been my focus for over 25 years. Right out of high school, that was where I was headed. 4 different schools, 7 different grades, and over 4,000 students.

Teachers advocate for students

Lobby day in Olympia with WEA (Washington Education Association) brothers and sisters.


Meet Dexter, a rescue that joined my family the summer of 2019. He loves long walks at PLU, Wapato Park, Chambers Bay, and pretty much anywhere I want to take him.

bottom of page