The 2014 Miss Idaho Judges

The Miss Idaho Organization is pleased to announce the judges for the 2014 competition. On July 11 & 12 this panel will select the 65th Miss Idaho to be crowned. This diverse group of judges will evaluate the contestants throughout all sections of the pageant - interview, lifestyle & fitness, talent, on stage question, and evening gown. The 2014 Miss Idaho judges are:

Debbie Kling is the President/CEO of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce. She is motived by her desire to help others succeed and to make a difference in the lives of her children, grandchildren and community. 

Prior to joining the Nampa Chamber of Commerce, Debbie served in several leadership roles; VP of Legal Management for Unity Media Group, General Manager of then Qwest Arena and Executive Director of Team Idaho, (organizing the National Governors’ Association meeting, hosted in Idaho, for then Governor Dirk Kempthorne). Debbie has served on numerous national industry and community boards. She has a tremendous love for this community, a passion for the business community and a desire to help others succeed.

Debbie lives in Nampa and has been married to Jim Kling III for 39 years. They have three married children and eight grandchildren.

Jeffrey A Johns has been involved with the Miss America Organization in many capacities from local executive director, producer, host, judge, and dancer at the Miss California Pageant.

Jeffrey has performed in national and international tours, in regional theatres throughout the country (including Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre in Idaho), on television shows like “America’s Got Talent,” and in various independent films.  He’s also the author of the children’s book,  “Have You Ever Tried To Stop The Rain?”

In addition, Jeffrey wrote the feature film entitled, Waiting In The Wings: The Musical where he had the thrill of performing opposite Sally Struthers, Shirley Jones, and former Miss America, Lee Meriwether.

Nanci Wudel has been involved with the Miss America Organization for more than 30 years and has judged numerous state pageants. She served as an officer on the Board of Directors of the Miss Arizona Scholarship Pageant for 12 years and was state traveling companion to Miss America for five years. She also served as an interim traveling companion for Miss America 2003, Erika Harold, and in state competitions, she judged Sharlene Wells, Miss America 1985, and Laura Kaeppeler, Miss America 2012, prior to their winning national titles. 

Professionally, Nanci works in film, television, and theater production. She was executive director for “The Finalists’ Show,” featuring the Top Ten finalists from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Recently, she completed filming a cast role in T.C. Christensen’s feature movie, “The Cokeville Miracle,” scheduled for theatrical release next year. She is represented by FORD Talent Agency and has appeared in many national television commercials, and in the feature film, “Chaplin,” with Robert Downey, Jr. 

Nanci has worked as an entertainment consultant for various tourist attractions, including the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, as well as directing pre-tour concerts in Nashville, Tennessee. She has also been the artistic director of “The George Dyer Show” and the Polynesian extravaganza “Island Fire,” both in Branson, Missouri. 

Currently, Nanci works as Creative Director for The Dutton Theaters, in both Branson and Phoenix. 

For nine years, she served as Director of the Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant, the largest, annual outdoor Easter Pageant in the world – featuring a cast of 500 and audiences of nearly 100,000, during an annual ten-performance portrayal of the Easter story through song, drama, and dance. 

Nanci has directed numerous vocal and dance productions for the past 20 years, and is a classically-trained pianist, having studied for three years in Caracas, Venezuela, with Polish concert artist, Margot Schmidt. 

She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Brigham Young University, and a secondary major in Theater Arts. She has interviewed dozens of high-profile personalities, including Dan Rather, Mitt Romney, Daniel K. Inouye, and Barbara Smith. 

Nanci serves on the Board of Directors of “Time To Blossom,” a personal development program for girls, and she also sits on the National Advisory Board for Southern Virginia University. 

She and her husband, John, are the owners of “Nanci’s Frozen Yogurt,” distributed throughout the U.S. and in 45 countries internationally. They are the parents of four children and reside in Mesa, Arizona.

Philip Michael Casias is an interior designer for Carols Design House in Boise Idaho. Formally educated at Mississippi State University School of Architecture and the University of Louisiana school of Architecture and Design, Michael is a modern renaissance man who has worked as a design professional for the past fifteen years.

In his career, Michael has been a design partner for fine residences, restaurants and commercial spaces including Hilton Hotels, Brennan’s Restaurants, and the Academy Share Center for Oliver Finley Cosmetology.  He has renovated rare and historic buildings in New Orleans, Alaska, and Idaho. He has also served as a gourmet food educator and sous chef, most recently for William Sonoma Incorporated.   

Committed to serving his community, Michael has designed art features for the Acadian Outreach Service, has provided services for the Boise Philharmonic Chef and Gourmet, and has assisted with charitable projects for the Idaho Botanical Gardens. He looks forward to his next collaboration with the Women’s and Children’s Alliance as they foster healthy and safe relationships for families across the treasure valley.

Michael is passionate about lifelong learning and the preservation of cultural heritages.  He enjoys celebrating culture through the bounty that is food, music, art, design, and architecture.  When he is not busy designing or volunteering, you may find him kayaking on the river or sea, landscaping and gardening, entertaining, fundraising, or collecting the unusual and obscure ephemera of science, history, and archeology.  

Brooke Bennett is a native of Idaho and a Boise State University graduate. She was crowned Miss Idaho 1995 and was first runner up for the distinguished Quality of Life Award at Miss America for her Get Into Reading program, which motivated children to become lifelong learners. Brooke traveled the northwest sharing her platform and participated in several national literacy campaigns, including one with former First Lady Barbara Bush. Brooke was also crowned Miss Idaho USA and represented Idaho at the Miss USA pageant in 2000.

Brooke served in the Office of the Governor for Dirk Kempthorne and First Lady Patricia Kempthorne, acting as personal assistant to the First Lady. In this capacity, she supported the First Lady on children and family issues. In late 2000, Brooke moved to Washington, DC to pursue a career in communications. Brooke was part of a corporate communications team at the prestigious global private equity firm, The
Carlyle Group. Brooke later became the Communications Director for an anti-trafficking organization, Shared Hope International. In this role, Brooke spearheaded an effort to bring media and public attention to the demand side of sex trafficking of women and children in both the U.S. and abroad. This included work in Singapore, Amsterdam, Mumbai, and other international cities. In addition to a variety of awareness campaigns, Brooke co-produced a documentary entitled DEMAND. This documentary focuses on demand factors for sex trafficking, one of the most significant being pornography. It also addresses how all forms of commercial sexual exploitation are connected to sex trafficking and sex slavery. DEMAND has been used by the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, local law enforcement, and other advocacy organizations.

Brooke's passion to help women and children who have fallen victim to atrocities such as war, trafficking and poverty has continued with her involvement in a newly launched company, Ethic: Goods that make a difference. Ethic is committed to purchasing and creating beautiful items that create jobs for marginalized women. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted by gifted artisans employed by Ethic. These artisans earn a sustainable income with dignity, and are able to provide opportunities for their families to rise above poverty and escape vulnerable situations.

As a classically trained violinist, Brooke shares her love for music through teaching violin lessons, performing with various bands, music artists and at social events. Brooke is also on the worship team for National Community Church (NCC) in Washington, DC. Her most recent project was a worship album entitled The God Anthology, produced by NCC.

Brooke resides in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Nathanael, and three beautiful children: Jude (5), Brell (3) and Hope (2). She homeschools her children and also serves as a tutor for a classical
education program in Alexandria, VA.

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