League of Education Voters C4
Board of Directors
Dr. Tony Byrd, Chair
Dr. Tony Byrd entered the education sector as a Teach For America corps member in 1993, and his experience as a bilingual sixth grade teacher in a low-income school in Pasadena, California prompted him to pursue advanced degrees in education policy and education administration at Stanford University and to dedicate his life to public education. He has a doctoral degree from University of Washington’s Leadership for Learning Program and he has served as an adjunct lecturer at UW’s Leadership Development for Educators Program (current) and at Western Washington’s Principal Certification Program (2007-2012). He is also an Ambassador for UW’s College of Education (2016-2018).
Dr. Byrd has worked in Washington schools since 2002. He served 11 years as a principal and assistant superintendent at Edmond Public Schools, and completed his third year as associate superintendent of curriculum, assessment and special programs at Everett Public Schools before taking the role of Executive Director for TFA’s Washington region on July 1, 2016. As part of the Everett leadership team, Dr. Byrd led efforts to make Everett Public Schools the first district in Western Washington to have the AP Capstone Diploma program in each of its comprehensive high schools. He helped close the ethnic participation gap in advanced placement courses, expanded early learning programs, and supported the establishment of a PreK-12 computer science pipeline.
LeAnne Jones Wiles, Vice Chair
LeAnne is the Director of First Year Programs at the University of Washington focusing specifically on successful transitions for high school and transfer students entering the institution. She has held positions at various public and private universities and served as a board member for the YMCA, for NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and as a volunteer at the non-profit Treehouse. LeAnne is interested in connecting her experience with those focusing on the K-12 landscape to further align efforts supporting first-generation, low income, and underrepresented minority students. She earned her BA in Sociology from Pacific Lutheran University and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Delaware. She lives in Seattle with her partner, daughter, and foster son.
Kevin Washington, Treasurer
Kevin C. Washington is a semi-retired consultant in the fields of business to business electronic commerce and retail logistics, now spending the majority of his time as a volunteer across a host of local and Washington state childhood education projects. Having worked for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) for 18 years in retail management, Kevin spent another 6 years involved in business to business electronic commerce, retail logistics, and trading partner programs with the same firm. Several years of work with Gear.com, Zones, Inc., and Simmons/Galt Human Resources Consultants led to Kevin becoming more active in areas supporting childhood education in Seattle. Current involvements include: Board Member, Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA; Board Member & Education Committee Chair, Tabor 100; Board Member & Treasurer, League of Education Voters; Board Member & Treasurer, Black Education Strategy Roundtable.
Erica Hallock, Secretary
Erica Hallock serves as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Start Early Washington and also represents other health and human services clients in Olympia. Erica sat on the State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission for eight years as a public member. She has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Riverside and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University Sacramento.
Betsy Johnson, Immediate Past 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 and current Director at Groopit. She has four children in the Bellevue schools in middle and high school.
Roohi Sharma, Member At Large
Roohi is a Research Analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) and an Education Pioneers & Teach For India alumnus. Roohi has served as Communications Officer on the Alumni Advisory Board – Masters in Education Policy program at the University of Washington. She brings experience as a thought partner, contributing to policy discussions. She is a champion of educational equity for all children and brings international perspective to the group from her experience teaching third and fifth graders as a Teach for India fellow in Pune, India. Roohi is interested in serving on the LEV Board because of our shared vision towards achieving education equity for all children.
Lana Huizar is a California native born to Mexican immigrants. She is a Community Partner Fellow for Washington STEM and a doctoral student at the University of Washington. Before joining the University of Washington, Lana spent four years as a United States Marine. Lana’s work and research focus on improving quality and access to education systems for historically disadvantaged communities. At Washington STEM, Lana’s efforts are nestled in cross-sector work, which helps guide systems change and improve student outcomes. Lana is committed to advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, to create a more diverse workforce, especially in fields that provide family-sustaining wages.
She received her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Washington, and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Oregon. In her spare time, she enjoys playing strategy games, running, outdoor adventures, and spending time with loved ones.
Ben Mitchell is Project Manager at the Foundation for Tacoma Students where supports the implementation a recent investment in Tacoma by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role, Ben supports and works in partnership with the Foundation for Tacoma Students, Graduate Tacoma Partners and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to elevate the Graduate Tacoma community-wide movement in three areas: Community Partner Capacity and Capability; Data Capacity and Capability; and Postsecondary Access and Completion.
Prior to joining the Foundation for Tacoma Students team Ben spent 4.5 years at Social Venture Partners (SVP) in Seattle where he managed their main grantmaking program and supported the work of providing capacity building and technical assistance to SVP’s grantees. Ben moved to the Northwest by way of Washington, DC where he worked in international development and spent a good chunk of time living and working overseas. His work took him to Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Moldova. To his great embarrassment, Ben has never been particularly good with any language other than English.
Ben grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has three younger siblings, all of whom work as educators. He lives in Seattle with his wife and a strange-looking but lovable dog. In his free time he likes to go on runs and hikes, attempt to finish any one of the stack of books he’s started in the last year, and reluctantly peck away at DIY house projects.
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.
Maria Zontine has worked in higher education supporting academic programs for over 15 years. She is currently serving as the HR Director for the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. Maria earned both her BA in Marketing and Communications, and her Masters in Public Administration, from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. Growing up in rural Washington, Maria developed a unique educational perspective which creates a strong conviction towards equality in access to education for all.