Tom Weeks, Chair
A Seattle native, Tom Weeks earned a BA in American Studies from Middlebury College and an MA and PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, where his dissertation analyzed the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Palau (Micronesia) with his wife, Deborah Oyer, MD. He was an elected member of the Seattle City Council for two terms and was Executive Director of Human Resources for the Seattle Public Schools prior to Chairing the Board of the Seattle Monorail Project. For several years he taught at the Evans School of Public Policy at the University of Washington and has consulted in public policy and negotiation. He has served on numerous boards, including the New School Foundation, Lakeside School, and People for Puget Sound.
Betsy Johnson, Vice Chair
Betsy Johnson has been active in education in Bellevue and Washington state for the past 13 years. She has been a PTSA volunteer, past PTSA and Bellevue Schools Foundation president, and Bellevue School Board member. She has been volunteering for Eastside Pathways on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading since its inception, currently serving as lead for the overall initiative and facilitating the Summer and Extended Learning collaborative. Betsy is a former Microsoft executive. She has four children in the Bellevue schools in middle and high school.
Karen Cooper, Immediate Past Chair
Karen Cooper is a part-time political and fundraising consultant. She retired from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington in 2009 after fifteen years as the executive director. Before moving to Washington state in 1981, Karen taught elementary school in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Karen holds a master’s degree in public school administration from Howard University.
Kevin Washington, Treasurer
Kevin C. Washington is a semi-retired consultant in the fields of business to business electronic commerce and retail logistics, who now spends the majority of his time as a volunteer across a host of local and state childhood education projects. Kevin worked previously in the private sector for more than 25 years, including 18 years of retail management at REI. Kevin is the Chair of the Seattle YMCA Black Achievers Program, board member of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA branch, board member and Co-chair of the Grants Committee for the Seattle Foundation and serves on the boards of numerous education and civic organizations including Thrive By Five, Tabor 100, and the Coalition for Equal Education Rights.
Vange Ocasio Hochheimer, Secretary
Dr. Ocasio moved to the US from Puerto Rico at the age of eleven. She received her BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law (PPL) from Binghamton University in New York. She received her Master’s and PhD degrees in economics from Colorado State University. Dr. Ocasio’s vocation as a teacher and a researcher is centered on the idea of equal access as a way to reduce economic and social inequalities. In her work, she finds that when there is access to resources, the population develops both, socially and economically. This premise is inherent in Dr. Ocasio’s teaching philosophy, her research and her involvement in the community. She was recently appointed to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs for the City of Spokane and will be reporting to the Mayor and his cabinet on the stability, health, and status of underrepresented groups in the city. Dr. Ocasio joined Whitworth University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Economics in the School of Business in the fall of 2011. Dr. Ocasio moved to Spokane from Colorado with her husband, Manny Hochheimer, in 2011. They have two little boys, Noah and Luca. Dr. Ocasio is a runner and enjoys camping and skiing. She also enjoys major league baseball (go Mariners!) and is a devout Whitworth Pirates fan!
Lee Lambert is Washington STEM’s STEM Network Director, leading the charge on the organization’s statewide effort to advance STEM education in alignment with local economic development. He previously worked as the Director of the Washington College Access Network (WCAN). Lee is a native of Tacoma and a graduate of Foss High School; he has a degree in political science from Washington State University and a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University. Prior to joining WCAN, Lee worked in the Seattle office of Senator Maria Cantwell, serving as the State Grants Coordinator and Special Project Manager. Earlier in his career, Lee had the opportunity to work for Congressman Adam Smith and Congressman Norm Dicks, as well as the Bates Technical College Foundation. Lee lives in Shoreline with his wife Adrienne and their two children. They are active members of the Meridian Park Elementary PTSA.
Janet Levinger is an active community leader in the Seattle area. She is passionate about education, believing that investments in children improve their lives and have enormous positive community outcomes. Janet joined the LEV Foundation Board of Directors in 2009. Currently, Janet is Board Chair of Social Venture Partners Seattle and serves on the boards of United Way of King County, Thrive by Five Washington, and Eastside Pathways. She is a founding board member and Emeritus Trustee of Eastside Prep School. She previously served on the boards or committees of the Child Care Resources, Bellevue Schools Foundation, Children’s Alliance, Foundation for Early Learning, the Early Care and Education Coalition, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Janet worked in the tech industry for 16 years in Boston and San Francisco. She has a BA in English with honors from Brown University. Janet lives in Bellevue with her husband and two cats. She has a son and daughter both in college. She likes to cook, travel, and SCUBA dive. She and her husband ride a tandem together.
Dean Nielsen is a political strategist and Principal of Cerillion N4 Partners. Since starting his political career in 1992 working for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, he has worked on political campaigns in 32 states on every level of campaign, from school board to Congress to Governor to President as well as advising candidates and political parties in Eastern Europe. He’s worked on numerous government relations and communications projects for corporate and nonprofit clients including the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, a major sports team ownership group, a Fortune 500 agricultural interest, Seattle’s Harborview Hospital, and the Seattle McCaw Performance Hall. More recently, he has expanded his portfolio to include companies focused on clean energy, biomass generation, online cable TV, spectral pattern matching, data processing, and other services. Mr. Nielsen holds a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University.
Robert O’Hara earned a BA in Architecture from Penn State University and an MS.CS from Union College. He is a software and wireless industry veteran, with over 40 years of experience at companies including IBM Research, Microsoft, and Motorola. He has been involved in the mobile wireless data industry since it began, working with companies such as AT&T Wireless and Qualcomm. He is Vice Chair of the Trustees of Union Graduate College, now merged with Clarkson University, and is Chair of the Redmond City Planning Commission. He taught Computer Science at the graduate level for six years, and currently teaches it part time at the high school level.
Marquita Prinzing is a 4th grade, National Board Certified Teacher at Dearborn Park International in Seattle. She is in her sixth year of teaching in Seattle Public Schools, five of which were at schools with a large low-income and English Language Learner (ELL) student population. Before becoming a teacher, she counseled students as an Academic Counselor at Rainier Scholars. As a member of the Teachers Advisory Council, Marquita worked with other teachers in Seattle Public Schools to advise the school board and the union on policies that affect teachers and students. Marquita received a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Seattle University and a Master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington. She lives in south Seattle with her husband and 2 year old baby, Viet.
Bill Shaw is a partner at K&L Gates in Seattle where his primary area of practice is complex civil litigation, in both state and federal courts. He has extensive jury trial experience in Washington state and federal courts. Bill handles a wide variety of litigation matters, including significant patent, trademark, intellectual property and trade secrets issues, legal malpractice, general commercial disputes, white collar crime, products liability and toxic torts, and environmental litigation and arbitration. Bill’s practice has focused on matters involving complex technical and scientific issues. Bill also has extensive board experience, including with the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (SCRAP), the Washington SIDS organization, Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, and Seattle PONY Baseball. Bill also volunteers weekly as a tutor for high school students at Garfield Teen Life Center. In his spare time, Bill coaches youth sports, including baseball, soccer, and basketball.
Cate Simmers is a teacher in the Seattle School District. She is an educator whose career in teaching has included both public and private school experiences. She has taught overseas and in the Seattle area for over 15 years. Cate holds a master’s in teaching from the University of Washington.