Chief Executive Officer | @LauriAHennessey
Lauri brings 30 years of experience in journalism, community engagement, advocacy, strategic communications, and fundraising. Lauri’s personal mission is educational equity and making a difference in Washington state, both at the League and in her volunteer time.
Before joining the League, Lauri was the Vice President for Engagement at Woodland Park Zoo. Prior to that, she directed public affairs in the Northwest for Edelman, working with a diverse portfolio of political and public affairs clients from the University of Washington to the Bezos Family Foundation. She has also held positions at Community Schools Collaboration, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and the Municipal League of King County (executive director). Early in her career, she was an editor at KIRO Radio in Seattle and worked as a press secretary in Washington D.C., as well as a senior manager in the federal government.
Lauri has volunteered and served on boards for a variety of nonprofits, including Treehouse, Mary’s Place, Thrive Washington, Southwest Youth and Family Services, and the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses, among others. She currently is involved with the Seattle Chamber and Seattle Rotary, as well as the Western Washington University Journalism School Professional Advisory Board. She also is a member of the board of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Washington State Chapter (and Fundraising chair).
Lauri is most proud of her three grown children, all of whom went to college. Her second-biggest source of pride is her own educational journey. Lauri has her Bachelor’s degree in the Integrated Social Sciences from the University of Washington and is working on her Masters of Mass Communications degree with an emphasis on Public Interest Communications from the University of Florida. The UF program is the first of its kind in the country, focused on how to use communications to drive social change and transformation. She is also a frequent guest lecturer on grassroots communications and advocacy.
Regional Field Director, Spokane
Kenji Linane-Booey was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. He comes from a family of six who taught him the importance of building community at an early age. Whether it was through community engagement events or Sunday family dinners, understanding others has always been a part of who he is. Kenji went to Shadle Park High School and then on to Gonzaga University as an Act Six scholar. Throughout his adult life, he has been focused on working for and with underserved communities and is excited to support students all across Washington state and throughout the Spokane region.
Eleanor (Ellie) joined the League of Education Voters (LEV) in 2019. Holding a B.A. in History and Literature with a secondary in African American Studies, Ellie spent her undergraduate years focusing particularly on the role of education in shaping narratives of slavery, the Civil War, and freedom, as well as the ongoing legacies of disenfranchisement that affect communities of color across America. Her studies showed her that history classrooms can be a profoundly powerful tool for liberation and empowerment, so she decided to become a teacher focused specifically on serving high-needs schools. Prior to joining the LEV team, Ellie was a 7th grade history teacher at Leadership Prep Ocean Hill Middle Academy in Brownsville, New York and then at Prospect Hill Academy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also gained experience in legislative offices while working for Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser.
Ellie hails from Boston, where she received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). She was a member of HGSE’s new teacher-training program, the Harvard Teacher Fellows, which aims to offer an innovative pathway into teaching for social justice-oriented graduates. Ellie enjoys music and singing, exploring national parks, and petting all the dogs she spots around Seattle.
Director of Field and Community Engagement
Eric Holzapfel is an immigrant from Ecuador. He has been working with underrepresented communities on medical access, immigration, youth mentorship, criminal justice reform, language rights, politics, and labor rights for the last 12 years. Before coming to LEV, he was the Deputy Director of Entre Hermanos, a Latino LGBTQ organization. At Entre Hermanos he increased the footprint of the organization by threefold and created a Legal Services Department that represents LGBTQ Latinos in immigration proceedings. Eric earned his master’s of public administration from UW’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. He is the son and grandson of life-long educators. His grandmother was an English teacher in Ecuador for 35 years and his mother is a Spanish professor in Kentucky.
Eric enjoys traveling and experiencing the biological and cultural diversity of this planet. He’s been to nearly 50 countries, and strongly encourages people to visit Ecuador. He loves backcountry hiking and camping and reading Latin American magical realism.
Nancy joined the League of Education Voters in 2012, after brief stints at Historic Seattle and Washington STEM and after several years at the New School Foundation. Through her work at NSF, she was part of the team that built the Rainier Beach Children’s Garden at South Shore School. Her personal involvement in public education includes being a PTA Board member, serving multiple roles, from Legislative Liaison to President, at Olympic View Elementary in Seattle.
Nancy is a product of local public schools (Go Kangs!) and earned her BA in English at UCLA and her master’s degree in public administration at Seattle University.
Nancy volunteers at SHINE, a retail store located at SCCA House whose proceeds benefit patient programs at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She lives in north Seattle with her husband and two teenage children. She enjoys going to their athletic and musical events, exercising, traveling, and camping, especially in Hawaii. She is an avid reader.
Regional Field Director, Tri-Cities
Ruvine joined the League of Education Voters in 2014. Prior to that, she participated in Early Achievers Institutes in Spokane and Yakima to receive training in the Early Childhood, Infant & Toddler, and Family Child Care Environment Rating Scales and became a pre-K-certified reliable observer on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System. She attended these institutes while also taking Columbia Basin College’s Child Development Associate (CDA) course and volunteering with AARP’s Tax-Aide Program in her community.
Ruvine worked for Benton Franklin Community Action Committee (BFCAC) in Pasco for 14 years in various positions. Most recently, she was instrumental in helping BFCAC exceed Healthplanfinder enrollment goals in Benton, Franklin, and Walla Counties by training more than 100 individuals to become certified navigators (in-person assisters) for Washington Healthplanfinder. Ruvine also served as BFCAC’s Child Care Support Services Director, where she oversaw the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Homeless Child Care Program, Child Care Resource and Referral Program, Seasonal Subsidy Child Care Program, and STARS training, and developed a close working relationship with childcare providers.
Ruvine has 6 children and 12 grandchildren. She lives with her dog, two parakeets, cat, three daughters, and five grandchildren. She loves sharing new lessons she’s learned with her family, on topics such as early learning, social and emotional development, gardening, reading, and about her community.
Communications Director | @ArikKorman
Arik Korman has worked in Seattle media for over 20 years with KING, KIRO, KZOK, and KJR. He currently hosts his own interview program on iHeartRadio. Arik earned a Puget Sound Radio Broadcasters Association Soundie award for his partnership with World Vision, which has resulted in nearly 5000 children sponsored around the world and annual donations of more than $2M for projects such as education, clean water, food security, and medical care. Education is in his DNA, as his mother and sister are teachers, he has a son of color in public middle school who is accessing special education services, and he views education as the single greatest catalyst for change in society.
Arik recharges by playing tennis and ultimate frisbee, hiking, board gaming, traveling, and enjoying Washington wine.
Pam joined League of Education Voters in 2020. She has spent her career in the nonprofit sector, working toward disarmament, death penalty abolition, economic development, immigrant rights, and environmental sustainability. She discovered her affinity for accounting in the mid-’90s and has focused on it exclusively since 2007. She spends the other part of her workweek as the finance manager for an organization serving people with disabilities.
When not working, Pam enjoys being active in the mountains, cooking, and playing with her music ensemble.
School Transformation Partner
Jennifer has worked in education for 20 years. She began her career as a bilingual first grade teacher in her hometown of Wapato, WA then moved on to Seattle Public Schools. From Seattle Public Schools, Jennifer moved into a management role in private tutoring in both Seattle and Southern California. Prior to joining the League of Education Voters, Jennifer spent ten years as a dean and campus director in adult education. Jennifer has developed and facilitated training programs for teachers and leaders in education and feels strongly that continuing education and professional development contribute to student success.
Jennifer, a West Seattle transplant, enjoys spending time with her fur babies, attending Sounders matches, and is a long time Huskies season ticket holder. She is an avid reader and enjoys cooking for herself and others.
Jennifer has a bachelor’s in Spanish from the University of Washington and moved on to complete Heritage University’s Education program when she realized how much she loved working with students.
Director of Policy and Research
Jacob Vela’s strong desire to get involved in the civic process led him to work in the election cycle in Nevada. That adventure compelled him to work as a legislative assistant in the Nevada Legislature, where he focused on civic engagement and electoral issues. The strong civic culture and beautiful scenery of the Great Northwest managed to lure him away from Nevada. After settling in Seattle, Jacob attended the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. Prior to joining the League of Education Voters, Jacob worked with local nonprofits in strategic planning and working to develop policies to improve the quality of life of formerly homeless individuals in downtown Seattle.
Jacob received his BA in political science and Spanish from the University of Nevada. He earned his master’s of public administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs with a focus on policy analysis and urban policy. When not in the office, he can be found wandering the Cascades, enjoying Tacoma’s parks, or honing his skills as a woodworker. He also enjoys introducing his one-year-old daughter to the happiness of being outdoors.
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.
Betsy Johnson, Treasurer / 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.
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.
Yelias is an Illinois native with a passion for affordable housing and community development. He started his career in community development at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco where he gained experience in single-family and multifamily affordable housing. After gaining finance experience at Sunrun, the nation’s leading residential solar provider, Yelias returned to community development finance at Union Bank. In 2017, Yelias moved with his wife to Seattle and joined the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing as a Project Manager before joining JPMorgan Chase’s Community Development Banking division. Yelias holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Cornell University and master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Accountancy from the University of Illinois and San Francisco State University, respectively. Yelias loves animals, and in his spare time enjoys live music, following his favorite sports teams, and traveling with friends and family.
Dr. Goldy Brown III
Dr. Goldy Brown III is the Director of Whitworth University‘s Education Administration Program. He has served as a former professor and routine guest speaker in college courses, where he has gained valuable experience leading college-level discussions on educational foundations and leadership. In addition, he has conducted seminars on “what principals look for when hiring a teacher.” He also has seven years of experience as a K-12 leader, serving as a principal. Schools that he led received four state recognition awards for closing the achievement gap between low-income and affluent students. Dr. Brown has also published five articles on school leadership.
After earning her Master in Teaching, Amy realized her deep passion for supporting students with unique learning needs and returned to school for an endorsement in special education. She has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary School in the Camas School District for 12 years. In her position as a teacher of students with significant disabilities, she collaborates with staff, parents, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student’s unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community.
Amy’s dedication to inclusive opportunities for all learners gained her recognition as the 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year. In an effort to shift systems to provide more equitable opportunities for all learners, Amy is working to develop relationships with education partners. She is an active member of the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Student Learning Workgroup, contracts with the Washington Education Association and Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession to create professional learning experiences for educators, and is starting work developing courses at Clark College for future Special Education teachers. Amy serves on the board of directors for Micah’s Miles, a nonprofit focused on building community for individuals with disabilities.
Outside of work, Amy enjoys traveling, working out with friends, and watching movies with her husband, Ian.
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 from the University of Oregon. In her spare time, she enjoys playing strategy games, running, outdoor adventures, and spending time with loved ones.
Diana Huynh is communications director for Group Health Foundation, where she leads the development and execution of communications strategies to advance community aspirations for health equity across Washington. She has nearly a decade of experience in education policy and justice, most recently with the Community Center for Education Results, where she oversaw communications for the Road Map Project initiative in South King County. Previously, Diana was deputy director of the Education Policy Center at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. She is a proud resident of South Beacon Hill and is a member of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition.
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.
Derek Morrison is a Communications professional currently based out of Seattle, but originally from Portland, Oregon.
With 15 years of experience, Derek now oversees communications and public relations as a VP at Davis Elen Advertising, where he works with a variety of brands; such as Toyota and 50-year client, McDonald’s USA. He began his career in the radio industry, which later led him to promotions, events, advertising, and PR.
Derek is the proud uncle of two elementary school students and is the son of a Danish immigrant mother, and a father born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In his spare time, he is actively involved in many nonprofits that focus on the youth, as well as LGBTQ+ communities. Most recently he has been appointed to the Advisory Board for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon.
Lastly, and most importantly, he has two small dogs, Patsy (12, CKCS) and Milo (10, Cairn Terrier) of whom he spends every night unsuccessfully attempting to kick out of his bed.
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.
Dr. Marcus Pimpleton
Dr. Marcus J. Pimpleton is an award-winning teacher and instructional leader committed to ensuring that all students receive an exemplary education that prepares them for success in college, career, community, and life. He presently serves as Executive Director of Equity, Partnerships, and Student Engagement for the Yakima School District. Prior to that, he served two years as principal of Quincy High School and as a Superintendent Intern with the Quincy School District. As a co-facilitator of the Quincy School District’s Access, Opportunity, and Equity Coalition, Dr. Pimpleton was instrumental in facilitating much of the racial equity professional development for the diverse coalition of stakeholders that wrote the Quincy School District’s Race and Equity Policy. The end result was board adoption of one of the strongest-worded racial equity policies in the state, one that applies the University of Washington’s Leadership for Learning (L4L) leadership standards to the unique context of Quincy.
Dr. Pimpleton is the 2020 recipient of the Washington Association of School Administrator’s Howard M. Coble Scholarship, which honors underrepresented leaders preparing for central office roles. Additional honors he has received include a Washington State Golden Apple Award from KCTS and the Phillip B. Swain Excellence in Teaching Award from the A+ Alliance for Education. During the summer months, Dr. Pimpleton continues to serve as director and program administrator for the Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band and on Husky game days an assistant director with the University of Washington Husky Athletic Bands.
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.
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