meet our committee

Photo: Doug Hikawa

Photo: Doug Hikawa

Michelle Symes-Thiara
Co-Executive Director

Michelle Symes-Thiara was born and raised in Merced and still lives there today with her husband and their two boys. She has been working in education for the past 24 years and is currently the Director of District Support Services for the Merced County Office of Education. Michelle was a former contestant and has been volunteering for the MAO for 22 years.


Photo: Doug Hikawa

Photo: Doug Hikawa

Board of Directors:

Conchita Swiggart - Chairperson

Yvette Dahlhoff - Vice President

Stacie Arancibia - Secretary

Stacy Shasky - Director of the Board

Wendy Ekizian - Director of the Board

Wendy Ekizian
Co-Executive Director

Wendy Ekizian has been volunteering in the Miss America Organization for 22 years and was a former contestant.  She is a dedicated wife and mother of three beautiful children.  She has been the office manager in her husband’s chiropractic office for 25 years.  Wendy also dedicates her time to many community based projects around Merced County.