Recap: Washington state Teachers of the Year on Reimagining Education after COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern


As we enter the final quarter of this historic and challenging school year, students, families, and educators across Washington are navigating remote, hybrid, and modified in-person learning environments. But what should education look like when all schools reopen?

In this webinar, Washington state Teachers of the Year Brooke Brown (2021), Amy Campbell (2020), Robert Hand (2019), Mandy Manning (2018, and the 2018 National Teacher of the Year), Camille Jones (2017), Nate Bowling (2016), and Lyon Terry (2015) shared what they are hearing from students, families, and colleagues in their community on how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they recommend reimagining education based on what they have learned from teaching during the COVID pandemic, and answered your questions.
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Recap: The Role of K-12 Schools in Addressing Racially Motivated Violence

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern


From police violence around the country to the marked increase in attacks on members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community, we are continuing to see disturbing examples of racially motivated violence in the news. Over the past year, social movements have been thrust into the national spotlight, with youth at the forefront of the conversation. Recent incidents are impacting them in multiple ways, but how should K-12 schools respond? 

In this webinar, we assembled a statewide panel of students, educators, and a community organizer to discuss the impacts of racially motivated violence and how schools can best support students on a daily basis. They also answered your questions. 

Our panelists included: 

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Podcast – The Educators of Color Leadership Community

From Top Left: Brooke Brown, Stephanie Gallardo, Tamasha Emedi, Denise Daniels, Brad Brown, Eileen Yoshina

In our Putting Students First podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman hosts a panel discussion about the Puget Sound Educational Service District’s successful Educators of Color Leadership Community (ECLC), in which panelists address why educator diversity is so important, what the barriers are to recruitment and retention of teachers of color, how the Educators of Color Leadership Community supports teachers of color, and how we can scale the ECLC’s work to support teachers of color across Washington state.

We were honored to interview:

Brooke Brown, 2021 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Regional Teacher of the Year from Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, who teaches English and Ethnic Studies at Washington High School in the Franklin Pierce School District

Stephanie Gallardo, who teaches social studies at Foster High School in the Tukwila School District

Tamasha Emedi, Assistant Principal at Hazel Valley Elementary School in Highline Public Schools

Denise Daniels, Director of Recruitment, Retention and Workforce Development in the Auburn School District and President of the Kent School District Board of Directors

Brad Brown, Executive Director of Kindergarten through Post-Secondary at the Puget Sound Educational Service District

Eileen Yoshina, Director of Equity in Education at the Puget Sound Educational Service District, who facilitates the Educators of Color Leadership Community

Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker


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Washington Game Changers Podcast – Estela Ortega of El Centro de la Raza

Washington Game Changers with Lauri Hennessey features leaders who give back to our community, drive innovative solutions, and inspire others in making our state more equitable and just. This podcast is a one-on-one conversation with these powerful leaders in a time when we need to hear about more good in the world.

In this episode, Lauri talks to Estela Ortega, the longtime Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza, a backbone of the community in Seattle. Estela talks about how she has stayed centered during the pandemic, how her organization has fared during this time and about her late husband Roberto Maestas, and their early work in creating El Centro. She also talks about the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on students of color.

El Centro de la Raza is located in the old Beacon Hill School in Seattle, creating a gathering place for Beloved Community. Read more about El Centro’s historic journey.


Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker.


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Event Recap: Restorative Justice in Schools

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern


Restorative Justice allows people affected by crime to communicate with the person responsible, often with the aim of a face-to-face meeting. This gives them the chance to talk about the incident. They can explain how it has impacted them, seek assurances that it won’t happen again, and agree on how to put things right. 

This is what many people affected by crime want, which is why 85% of victims who go through Restorative Justice are satisfied with the experience. Restorative Justice also leads to a significant drop in re-offending, as it helps people who have committed crimes to recognize the harm they have caused. Restorative practice can also be used to address non-criminal harm. 

In this Zoom meeting, we discussed Restorative Justice in schools, focusing on a healing approach to student behavior versus a penal approach. Our panelists discussed what brought them to the work, what their programs do, their philosophy, and where they can be found. They also discussed ways to expand these programs throughout Washington state. 

Featured Participants: 

  • Toyia Taylor, Executive Director and Founder, WeAPP 
  • Sean Goode, Executive Director, Choose 180
  • Saroeum Phoung, Executive Director, Peacemaking Academy 
  • Dion Schell, Director of Education, Community Passageways

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Recap: WA state Superintendent Chris Reykdal on State Assessments during the 2020-21 School Year

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern


In this webinar, Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal outlined what he knows about this historic and challenging year’s requirements for state testing and answered your questions.

This LEVinar was meant to be a forum and opportunity for discussion, questions, and understanding about an issue that will affect many families this spring. Our goal is to support families in better understanding what to expect regarding statewide assessments.

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Resources to Support the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern


Asian Counseling and Referral Service

League of Education Voters is committed to taking action and rejecting any form of racism or hate against students, families, and communities. We support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and communities of color across Washington state and everywhere.

Excerpt from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide:

Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes.

Commit to disrupting hate and intolerance at home, at school, in the workplace, and in faith communities. Acceptance, fundamentally, is a personal decision. It comes from an attitude that is learnable and embraceable: a belief that every voice matters, that all people are valuable, that no one is “less than.”

We all grow up with prejudices. Acknowledging them — and working through them — can be a scary and difficult process. It’s also one of the most important steps toward breaking down the walls of silence that allow intolerance to grow. Luckily, we all possess the power to overcome our ignorance and fear and to influence our children, peers, and communities. Read More

Recap: Washington state Principals on Education in the Time of COVID

By Lizzeth Mancilla
Engagement and Policy Intern

Students at Summit Atlas Public School

In this webinar, we partnered with the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) to assemble a panel of principals from across Washington state to discuss how the 2020-21 school year is going, how they would reimagine education based on what they have learned from this unprecedented school year, and how principals can be better supported at the state and district levels. They also answered your questions. 

Panelists included:

  • Jason Smith, Rogers High School, Puyallup School District
  • Tricia Kannberg, Regal Elementary School, Spokane Public Schools
  • Carlos Gonzalez, McFarland Middle School, Othello School District
  • Nathan Plummer, Sultan Middle School, Sultan School District
  • Cindy Cromwell, Kelso Virtual Academy, Kelso School District
  • John Belcher, Mount Si High School, Snoqualmie School District
  • Justin Hendrickson, South Shore PreK-8, Seattle Public Schools

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Students Need Mental Health Resources on Every Public School Website

By Kellen Hoard, Chair, Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council
Guest Blogger


Kellen Hoard, LYAC

The Washington state Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) is codified in law as the official youth advisory body to the state legislature, and its activities are wide-ranging.  Throughout the year, 14-to-18-year-old student members of the council actively lobby legislators, testify in committee, advise various government agencies, host events around the state, collaborate with nearly 200 community organizations, and much more.  LYAC also spends much time conversing with young people in every corner of Washington about their priorities in order to be a more effective advocate to the legislature, and this year the council has heard consistently that one of the top concerns for students is mental health. Read More