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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 GonzalezBoard 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 NormanBoard 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. 

Dr. Thomas StaigerBoard Vice-President, 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.

Maks Dedushko was born and raised in a fairly small town in Ukraine, just a few hours away from the border with Russia. Maks was able to come to the United States on the exchange student scholarship for a year. He is the first in his family to go to college but trying to get and education in a foreign country without support was a struggle. SEA and helped him on his educational journey. Currently, Maks is pursuing a PhD at the University of Washington.

Eliseo (EJ) Juárez currently works for the Poverty Action Network as their Communications and Development Manager. EJ earned his BA in Community Services from Saint Martin’s University and a master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington where he was a UW Civic Engagement Fellow and Global Leadership Fellow at the University of the Free State in South Africa. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Bus Education Fund and serves by appointment of Gov. Inslee on the Commission on Hispanic Affairs, where he advises the Governor and the legislature on policy and issues that impact the Latino community.

Maggie Hawthorne Kaye has worked in the field of education for over twenty years, and currently has an independent educational consulting practice in Seattle. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University, as well as a post-graduate certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. Maggie brings her passion and expertise to the community in a variety of ways, but she is especially dedicated to the topic of equality in college access. Besides her new role as board member at SEA, she also volunteers her time for College Access Now and serves as the college consultant at Lambert House, a gathering place and support agency for LGBTQ youth. In her “down time,” Maggie enjoys reading, dreaming up stories, being in nature, circus arts, and blowing bubbles to appease crying children. She also likes glitter.

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.

Stephen Pak is Senior Business Manager at Amazon.com. He is originally from Houston, Texas and has most recently moved from Arlington, Virginia. He joined the Air Force out of high school and completed his undergraduate degree while working as SWAT team leader and later a Special Agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He became a commissioned officer and led counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. He has been recognized with the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and member of a Outstanding Unit with Valor. In 2010, Stephen left the Air Force and consulted in strategic planning/intelligence analysis for intelligence community and private sector clients. Stephen has a MBA from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is passionate about reforming education and empowering people to achieve their goals.

Staff

Anthon SmithExecutive 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.

Jeff CoreyProgram 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.

Ashley BairdCentral 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-GoodmanTutor 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, works 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.

Angela Pierce South King County Education Advocate. Angela first came to SEA as a tutor through the AmeriCorps program. She works with South King County partner sites including Green River Community College, Big Picture High School, and Kent Phoenix Academy.

Jen MillerNorth King County Education Advocate. As a native Tacoman, she has experience working with GED students and developing educational programming and partnerships at the REACH Center. She studied History and Latin American Studies at the University of Puget Sound and is passionate about educational equity. Aside from her work, she enjoys cooking, biking, and spending time with her two nieces.

Vanisha Austin (501 Commons) is our bookkeeper.

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Advisory Board

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
Coordinating Board.

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.

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Our Scholarship Review Committee

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.

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.

Kevin Karande is a Project Manager at Expedia, Inc. and joined the Scholarship Review Committee in 2014. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, where he volunteered with several groups focused on providing educational access to underserved students in West Philadelphia. In his free time, Kevin volunteers as a math and reading tutor for SEA and enjoys live music, international travel, and playing soccer.

Maggie Hawthorne Kaye has worked in the field of education for over twenty years, and currently has an independent educational consulting practice in Seattle. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from Antioch University, as well as a post-graduate certificate in College Counseling from UCLA. Maggie brings her passion and expertise to the community in a variety of ways, but she is especially dedicated to the topic of equality in college access. Besides her new role as board member at SEA, she also volunteers her time for College Access Now and serves as the college consultant at Lambert House, a gathering place and support agency for LGBTQ youth. In her “down time,” Maggie enjoys reading, dreaming up stories, being in nature, circus arts, and blowing bubbles to appease crying children. She also likes glitter.

Jenn Maglalang is currently a part-time Lecturer, teaching Community Service-Learning, and the Program Coordinator for MSW and Undergraduate Programs at the UW School of Social Work. Jenn completed her undergraduate studies in American Cultural Studies and received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington, with a focus on Multi-Ethnic Practice. Prior to her current work at the UW, she spent several years doing neighborhood community engagement, youth development, and site supervision, primarily with low-income, refugee and immigrant communities at a community-based non-profit in South King County, as well as conducted trainings/workshops on Cultural Competency and community engagement primarily with K-12 educators. Jenn is passionate about mentoring young people and supporting their educational dreams. Jenn has previously volunteered for The Children's Alliance (a statewide advocacy organization), mentored young women of color with GirlsFirst through the YWCA, and has also served as a member of the Social Justice Fund's Environmental Justice Giving Project.

Christine Cannan moved to the greater Seattle area in the summer 2013 from Colorado. She has her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado and a BA in Psychology from Penn State University. Christine has worked for the Institute of International Education (IIE), Regis University, and the University of Denver. Presently, Christine is working for the University of Washington on special projects and assignments on an as needed basis. She would like to eventually transition into a Program Management role working for a non-profit organization that is mission driven to help students gain access to higher education. Christine joined SEA as a volunteer working with students on the Eastside in Dec 2014 and SRC in Jan 2015. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, cooking and dining out (avid foodie) and spending time with family and friends.

Tristen Hall is a Toddler Teaching Assistant and French Specialist at West Campus Children's Center, a Montessori preschool. She's previously worked as a middle school English Assistant in France, a baking assistant in Eastern Washington, and a tutor and nanny all over. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in English and French. She is passionate about education and social justice.

Mathiew Le is the Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Washington School of Law. Prior to joining UW Law, Dean Le served as the Associate Director of Admissions & Director of Campus Diversity at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA. He is committed to pipeline programs that educate underrepresented groups about access to justice and legal education. Mathiew obtained his B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin, his J.D. from The Ohio State University and is a member of the Illinois bar.

Catherine Cantrell is the Dean of Instruction for the Transitional Studies and Wellness (TSW) Division at Green River College. In that role, Catherine oversees the Adult Basic Education (ABE), English for Speakers of Other Languages, GED Preparation, I-BEST, Youth Reengagement, and High School Completion programs and the Physical Education and Health Education departments. She partners with the local school districts and community-based organizations to bring the best programming and opportunities possible for local students. Catherine holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Training from Seattle University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics from the University of Oregon. Her background previous to becoming a dean includes 15 years as a college instructor and eight years as an instructional technology specialist/trainer for adult educators. Among her core beliefs is that by providing access to excellent educational opportunities locally, we help build stronger, more resilient communities. When she’s not working, she enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, reading, and bicycling.

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