Who We Are
In an ideal world, every young person would have the opportunity to achieve a complete education and build a fruitful life. The truth is that many of the young people in our community will never get the chance to go to college and achieve their dreams. That is, unless people who can make a difference step in and change that reality.
Poverty and homelessness profoundly limit the lives of thousands of young people in King County. Seattle Education Access assists marginalized youth and young adults in gaining entry into colleges and completing degrees. We provide them with the resources they need to transition successfully to college, so that they can finish their educations, leave poverty behind, and contribute to society.
If you have the will and the determination to go to college but don’t know how to get there, click here. If someone you know has been living on the edge and lacks the resources needed to get back into school click here to make a referral. Our doors are open to any low-income person under the age of 30 no matter their legal issues, parenting status, sexual orientation or immigration status. We offer a FREE, welcoming, non-judgmental approach to helping young people living in poverty get the education they need to thrive.
Our Board of Directors
Cristina Gonzalez Board President, currently works as Senior Business and Economic Analyst for the King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget and teaches a graduate economics course at Seattle University’s Institute of Public Service. She previously worked as the Regional Labor Economist for Seattle-King County with the state's Employment Security Department and earned her master’s degree in economics from Washington State University. Her past volunteer experience includes work with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, and an organization at Texas A&M University committed to increasing compassion and understanding across diverse cultures. Cris is so proud to work for SEA's outstanding and brilliant students!
Matthew Norman Board Treasurer is a Vice President and Treasury Relationship Manager with Union Bank Commercial Treasury Services. His group focuses on the cash management needs of Middle Market and Corporate clients based in the Pacific Northwest. Matthew manages a portfolio of deposit and treasury management relationships. Matthew graduated from Chapman University in Orange, California. He earned a BA in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations. He also volunteers regularly with local organizations that support higher education, social justice, and fight youth homelessness.
Lindsey Wilson Board Secretary is an Infant Toddler Specialist for the North Snohomish County Early Head Start program. She earned her Master’s degree in Counseling & Student Personnel. Her passion for equality and education led her to Seattle Education Access. She currently serves as the Events Lead.
William Wiggins works in Human Resources at Group Health. William was recently voted onto the Board of Director. His description is not yet available.
Kate Baber is a Community Organizer for the Statewide Poverty Action Network where she works to build political power in low-income communities and forward statewide public policy campaigns. Kate currently serves as SEA's Advocacy Committee Chair and first became interested in education advocacy while volunteering as a tutor at King County Jail. Through this experience, she witnessed structural inequalities and policy barriers preventing low-income, incarcerated young adults from accessing higher education. Kate believes that policy advocacy is a key strategy in making post-secondary education more accessible to low-income students and is excited to address these issues by working with SEA. Kate holds a Masters in Social Work Degree and Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health from the University of Washington.
Katherine Gayler is a Director of Program Management at Microsoft. Prior to her current work at Microsoft, she spent several years in Management Consulting at Accenture. She earned Bachelor’s degrees in Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in International Pacific Affairs from University of California, San Diego. Katherine is passionate about education and literacy and volunteered with Second Start, a program focused on adult literacy in Oakland, CA. She currently serves as Development Lead.
Arne Hendrickson has spent over 20 years in the private sector in various managerial roles. In his most recent role as Senior Director of Sales Operations for Coinstar/Redbox, Arne played a key role in helping the company achieve record growth and profitability. His past community involvement includes various youth groups, including Boy Scouts of America (as Scoutmaster), volunteer activities for the homeless through his church and as a volunteer worker for Treehouse for Kids, a Seattle based organization that provides support services for foster children. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and attended Claremont Graduate University. Arne and his wife Linda have 3 grown children and reside in Bellevue.
Dr. Thomas Staiger is the Medical Director of the University of Washington Medical Center and is a general internist at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is active in the Society of General Internal Medicine and chairs the society’s Clinical Practice Committee. His academic interests include the evaluation of low back pain, physician-patient communication, and educating physicians regarding leadership and quality improvement. He is married, has 3 children, and enjoys sailing, skiing, hiking, and music. He currently serves as Audience Engagement Lead.
Jennifer Wooten is a Teen Librarian at the Renton and Renton Highlands branches of the King County Library System. She has a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Florida State University and a B.A. in History from the University of Washington. Jennifer is passionate about literacy and lifelong learning. Jennifer volunteered as the SEA Book Access Coordinator for over six years before joining the Board and Scholarship Committee.
Kirk Adams (Advisory Board Chair), President and CEO, Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
Rhonda Berry, Assistant Deputy County Executive at King County.
Dr. Michael Bisesi, Director of the Master of Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University.
Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director WA State Workforce Training and Education
Tim Harris, Founder & Executive Director of RealChange.
Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice President and Vice Provost at University of Washington.
Gregory Ernst, Director of Finance at Free & Clear.
Bill Grace, President of Common Good Works and Founder of Center for Ethical Leadership.
Diana Moller, Immigration Attorney.
Jana Heyd, Assistant Director at Society of Counsel.
Tony Lee, Advocacy Director of Solid Ground & Policy Director at Poverty Action Network.
Anne Keeney, Executive Director of Seattle Jobs Initiative.
Harry Hoffman, Executive Director at Housing Development Consortium Seattle-King County.
Kevin Washington, Educator & Consultant.
Anthon Smith Executive Director, has over fifteen years of non-profit experience, including seven years of international non-profit work. He graduated with bachelor's degrees in both Sociology and Ethics from the University of Malta, and attended Seattle University for graduate studies in Non-Profit Leadership. In addition to his work with SEA, Anthon is active in the community as an artist, activist, and band manager.
Jennifer Moore Development Director, has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for over fifteen years. She earned a bachelor's degree in Social Work & Applied Sociology and a master's degree in Non-Profit Leadership from Seattle University. Outside of work Jen enjoys writing, reading fiction, trying out new recipes, and planning her next road trip.
Jeff Corey South King County Program Manager, provides direct service to our students in South Seattle and South King County, and is also partnering with other nonprofits to bring our services on site to places such as Renton Youth Source, Auburn Youth Resources, and the YMCA. Jeff has been working for non-profit organizations in Seattle for the past eleven years. He spent five years as a Harm Reduction Specialist at the Street Outreach Service’s Syringe Exchange program, and six years as the program coordinator for the Capitol Hill Homeless Youth Case Management Program. Jeff is a co-founder of the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (PHRA), which operates the University District Syringe Exchange. He holds an MPA degree from the University Of Washington with a focus on Non-Profit Management and Public Policy. In addition to his work at SEA Jeff enjoys soccer, working with PHRA, and spending time with his amazing partner, VeraEve.
Polly Trout, Ph.D. North King County Program Manager, founded SEA in 2002. Polly has a B.A. from The Evergreen State College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Boston University. She lectured in Religious Studies for three years at San Diego State University, and is the author of Eastern Seeds, Western Soil: Three Gurus in America. In addition to her work with SEA, Polly is an educator, activist, writer, and mother.
Ashley Baird Central Seattle Education Advocate, studied English at the University of Washington. She worked at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library before getting into education. Ashley has experience preparing students for the GED and COMPASS tests as a GED teacher at a community organization and as tutor in the King County Jail. Outside of work, she likes to make art and read comics.
Susan Blythe-Goodman Tutor Coordinator, received her M.Ed from UW in Science Education, with a focus on environmental education. As part of this degree, Susan spent a year teaching and learning at IslandWood, a residential environmental education center on Bainbridge Island serving 4th-6th grade Seattle and Puget Sound children. Susan also teaches the GED at PSKS. Susan enjoys reading comic books, riding her bike, and exploring the natural areas of the Pacific Northwest.
Danika Martinez, MSW South King County Education Advocate, recently joined SEA to provide direct service to students in the western corridor of South King County, and will be working with partner sites such as South Seattle Community College, Neighborhood House at High Point Center and Port Jobs. Danika received her MSW from UW in Community-Centered Integrative Practice and takes interest in anti-oppressive practice, dialogic social justice models, youth empowerment and digital storytelling. She has worked with several Seattle-based nonprofit organizations over the last four years. In her spare time, Danika loves spending time with her family in Eastern Washington and playing with her dog Maya.
Vanisha Austin (501 Commons) is our bookkeeper.
Guy Boster is our Volunteer Newsletter & Creative Designer.
Maria Lychagina is our Marketing & Administration Intern.
Committee Chair: Jennifer Wooten
Jennifer Wooten Jennifer Wooten is a Teen Librarian at the Renton and Renton Highlands branches of the King County Library System. She has a Master’s Degree in Information Studies from Florida State University and a B.A. in History from the University of Washington. Jennifer is passionate about literacy and lifelong learning. Jennifer volunteered as the SEA Book Access Coordinator for over six years before joining the Board and Scholarship Committee.
Anurag Arepally is a Sr. Web Systems Engineer at REI. He has a Master's Degree in Computer Science from University of North Texas and a B.Tech in Computer Science and Information Technology from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India. Anurag is passionate about technology and quality education for all. He volunteered as a tutor at The East Harlem School @ Exodus House in NYC and has been volunteering at SEA since 2011 before joining the SRC.
Leon M. Holloway. After graduating in 2004, with a Bachelors of Architecture and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Design, he wanted to pursue his further exploration of architecture in Seattle. Since being out here he has worked for a couple of architectural firms, designing schools and community based projects. Leon has been actively involved in several American Institute committees such as the Seattle Honor Awards, the Diversity Round table, the Committee on Design, and the Young Architect’s Forum. He is currently the President of the National Organization for Minority Architects’ North West chapter. He has also been involved in Habitat For Humanity South King County either working on a site or creating workshops for future house owners. Working with SEA Leon is very excited to provide whatever help and resources he can.
Katy Terry has 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors, and she has worked or volunteered with several groups focusing on education and training for marginalized populations. Katy has master's degrees in International Studies and Public Administration from the University of Washington and a BA in Russian from Columbia University. Katy currently works at King County Parks, and she is thrilled to help students have access to scholarships, having been helped by scholarships so much herself.
Stephen Friend has over 20 years of business operational experience within the telecommunications industry. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University, and is currently pursuing a certificate in culinary arts from South Seattle Community College. Stephen has found his first year with SEA as one of his most rewarding experiences. He sits on the Scholarship Review Committee, as well as tutors SEA students achieve their personal goal of obtaining their GED/COMPASS.
Kristin Blacker moved to Seattle from New Haven, CT in 2011. She holds a BA in Performing Arts Management from The Hartt School and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in College Counseling. Aside from her interest in college access and admissions, she also spends her time writing short fiction and children's stories. She is currently employed as a visual merchandiser for The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Diana Mena is working towards her Masters in Social Work. She interned with SEA as an education advocate in 2012 and has remained involved with the organization through her work on the scholarship committee. Diana is passionate about education access. She recently completed a research project on the experiences of SEA students of color in higher education and hopes that this will have an impact on how SEA addresses the unique needs of this population.
Jennifer Fleck is a Teen Services Librarian for King County Library System. She received her Master in Library and Information Science as well as her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington. Jennifer has worked as a barista, a writing consultant, an assistant paralegal, and a variety of other jobs in environments ranging from the King County Juvenile Detention Center to Mercer Island Library. She is passionate about education, youth advocacy, and social justice.