Staff

Washington State Charter School Association


Patrick D’Amelio

Patrick D’Amelio serves as WA Charters’ Chief Executive Officer. Patrick, who joined WA Charters in May 2017, brings a long track record of increasing high-quality educational opportunities…

Patrick D’Amelio serves as WA Charters’ Chief Executive Officer. Patrick, who joined WA Charters in May 2017, brings a long track record of increasing high-quality educational opportunities for students in Washington, and comes to WA Charters with more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience in education and youth development.

Consistent with WA Charters’ mission – to advocate for and support high quality charter public schools that meet the needs of historically underserved students – Patrick has dedicated his career to bringing educational opportunities and critical developmental support to children, particularly those with the greatest needs and fewest resources.

Prior to leading WA Charters, Patrick held a highly successful five-year post as CEO at Washington STEM. When he joined Washington STEM in 2012, statewide awareness of STEM education was low, at just 32%. Today, 94% of Washington voters believe that every child in the state should have access to a high-quality STEM education in Washington’s K-12 public schools. Under Patrick’s leadership, Washington STEM  raised and leveraged more than $50 million through connections with private and public donors, the impact of which has been an extraordinary increase in the number of students able to access STEM education, particularly those in low-income communities and from communities of color.

Patrick’s work over the past two decades in the nonprofit space reflects his unwavering commitment to ensuring that every young person has an opportunity to succeed in life. As President and CEO for the Alliance for Education, he executed strategic planning to reframe the mission of helping students in Seattle Public Schools achieve academic success, and he worked with varying interests to support their common vision. During his tenure at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Patrick oversaw the pairing of caring adult mentors with young people while growing programs, increasing revenues, and balancing budgets.

In his free time, Patrick, a Seattle native, enjoys travel, outdoor recreation, and spending time with his husband Jeff and their children Etta and Dylan. Contact Patrick at patrick@wacharters.org.

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Constance Awenasa

Constance is the Director of Operations and Assistant to the CEO at WA Charters. She is responsible for managing day-to-day operations and supporting the CEO,…

Constance is the Director of Operations and Assistant to the CEO at WA Charters. She is responsible for managing day-to-day operations and supporting the CEO, Board of Directors, and staff in their mission to advocate for and support high-quality charter public schools that meet the needs of historically underserved students.

Constance brings 18 years of experience supporting education and youth development nonprofits. Prior to joining WA Charters, Constance served as CEO Patrick D’Amelio’s executive assistant at Washington STEM, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, and the Alliance for Education.

A Seattle native, Constance loves road trips, exploring the deserts of the Southwest, making and collecting art, and volunteer work. Contact Constance at constance@wacharters.org.

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Gillia Bakie

Gillia works as WA Charters’ Director of Development. In her role, she directs all fundraising activities at the organization. Before WA Charters, Gillia worked at Washington…

Gillia works as WA Charters’ Director of Development. In her role, she directs all fundraising activities at the organization. Before WA Charters, Gillia worked at Washington STEM, where she held increasingly responsible fundraising roles specializing in institutional giving and managed the philanthropic communications for the organization. Before Washington STEM, Gillia taught English in Italy for three years and worked in government aid and finance. Gillia holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma Advance Programs. She serves on the boards of the Puget Sound Grantwriters Association and E3 Washington. Contact Gillia at gillia@wacharters.org

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Rekha Bhatt

Rekha serves as the Chief Program Officer at WA Charters. Rekha joined WA Charters in September 2014 leading our member services, school incubation and Strong Start program…

Rekha serves as the Chief Program Officer at WA Charters. Rekha joined WA Charters in September 2014 leading our member services, school incubation and Strong Start program for newly operating schools. Prior to joining WA Charters, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at an independent charter school in Brooklyn, New York, and later served as the school’s Director of Operations. Rekha began her career in education in West Philadelphia, where she taught high school English and earned her M.S.Ed at the University of Pennsylvania. Rekha is committed to working for equity in public education to improve outcomes for all students. Contact Rekha at rekha@wacharters.org.

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Derek Dias

Derek Dias serves as Family and Community Engagement Manager at WA Charters. Derek joins our team with over a decade of experience serving impacted communities…

Derek Dias serves as Family and Community Engagement Manager at WA Charters. Derek joins our team with over a decade of experience serving impacted communities across the country, having previously worked in one of Baltimore’s strongest youth development programs, and for the last three years as a Communities in Schools site coordinator at an elementary school in White Center. Derek also expanded his passion for advocacy and education on a global scale, having lived in Rwanda, serving young girls and women through Aspire Rwanda, a women’s empowerment program, teaching English in Sudan, and volunteering in Singapore. Derek received his Bachelor’s degree in Global Affairs from George Mason University and has a deep passion for advancing education reform through family engagement, racial justice, and strong community partnerships. Contact Derek at derek@wacharters.org.

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Nancy Durham

Nancy is the Finance Manager at WA Charters. Nancy became involved in public education and youth development while working at the KIPP Foundation and the…

Nancy is the Finance Manager at WA Charters. Nancy became involved in public education and youth development while working at the KIPP Foundation and the Forum for Youth Investment, which provide education and programs to underserved communities throughout the nation. Inspired by the dedication of the students in charter school communities, Nancy returned to college after a decade-long hiatus to earn a degree in Accounting from Bowie State University, a historically black university in Bowie, MD. Email Nancy at nancy@wacharters.org.

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Diana Marker

Diana serves as the Director of School Services at WA Charters. Prior to joining WA Charters, Diana was the Assistant Director of the True Measure…

Diana serves as the Director of School Services at WA Charters. Prior to joining WA Charters, Diana was the Assistant Director of the True Measure Collaborative, a special education collaborative, which offers compliance support and training in inclusive practices to member charter schools in Washington State. Diana earned her Master of Education Policy from the University of Washington.  She began her career as a special education teacher and is committed to supporting equitable, high quality education. Contact Diana at diana@wacharters.org.

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Francesca McDaniel

Francesca, or Franki, serves as Family and Community Engagement Manager at WA Charters. Previously, Franki worked within Seattle Public Schools, facilitating family and student engagement…

Francesca, or Franki, serves as Family and Community Engagement Manager at WA Charters. Previously, Franki worked within Seattle Public Schools, facilitating family and student engagement and created professional development programming focusing on race and equity. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Seattle Pacific University, where she focused on public policy and women’s studies. Franki is a strong advocate for quality public education, women’s rights, and race and equity, having previously volunteered with organizations in her hometown of Los Angeles, and is currently active as a volunteer to local efforts here in Seattle. Contact Franki at francesca@wacharters.org.

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Holly Morris

Holly is the Director of School Incubation for WA Charters. She brings four years of experience creating and driving programs to advance innovation, and developing…

Holly is the Director of School Incubation for WA Charters. She brings four years of experience creating and driving programs to advance innovation, and developing new models in higher education, from her prior role as the Director of Postsecondary Model Development and Adoption for EDUCAUSE. Prior to EDUCAUSE, Holly spent seven years practicing as an attorney, providing career counseling to students at the University of Washington School of Law. Holly is also an ICF certified professional coach, a curious student of Design Thinking, a traveler, and a dabbler in many things that could one day become hobbies. She holds a BA from Northwestern University, a JD from University of California at Berkeley, and a M.Ed. Policy from the University of Washington. Contact Holly at holly@wacharters.org.

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Maggie Meyers

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen…

As the Director of Communications, Maggie drives the development of, manages, and implements all communications functions at WA Charters to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of the organization’s messaging and programming. Maggie received her B.A. from Bowdoin College and earned her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from the University of Washington, where she specialized in the area of Language, Literacy and Culture. Maggie is deeply committed to reducing inequities and closing opportunity and achievement gaps, and this commitment drives her work at WA Charters. Maggie has worked in marketing and children’s book publishing, as a magazine coordinator, a substitute teacher, and for the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center. She joined WA Charters in February 2014. Email Maggie at maggie@wacharters.org

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Mitch Price

Mitch serves as Director of Policy and Government Relations, and is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot…

Mitch serves as Director of Policy and Government Relations, and is a founding team member of WA Charters. Previously, he worked on the successful statewide ballot measure campaign in support of Initiative 1240, which authorized the creation of charter public schools in Washington. Prior to that, Mitch was a researcher at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, where his work focused on education law and policy. Mitch has also worked as an attorney, a college admissions and financial aid counselor, and a substitute teacher. Email Mitch at mitch@wacharters.org.

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