Staff & Board

Meet Our Board

Dr. Joel Domingo


James Heugas


Carolyn Chuong Holgate


Chris Gibbons


Eric Pettigrew


Steve Smith


Debbie Veney


Todd Ziebarth


Morgen Flowers-Washington

Member Council Representative
Head of School, Spokane International Academy

Dan Effland

Member Council Representative
Executive Director, Summit Atlas

Dr. Joel Domingo is an Associate Professor and Dean of the Research Institute at City University of Seattle, where he leads the university’s overall scholarship and research objectives. Prior to this role, he was the Director of the EdD in Leadership Program in the School of Applied Leadership at CityU.

His work focuses on leadership development and civic capacity building for creating social transformation in the public and community nonprofit spheres. Prior to CityU, he served as a fellow at the University of Washington’s Center on Human Development and Disability, bringing greater collaboration among medical professionals, schools, and parents of children with disabilities. Dr. Domingo also served in the Washington State Governor’s Office, helping develop community leadership skills in diverse communities across the state while doing policy and academic research on the effects of education, family, and community partnerships.

He has served on several nonprofit boards and committees, including the Seattle Special Education PTSA, the UW Center on Human Development and Disability, and the Washington State Family and Community Engagement Trust. He regularly volunteers in several organizations as well as the local children’s hospital and has led medical relief efforts in Central America. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in theology, and a doctorate in educational leadership.

James serves as Regional Director at Washington Charter School Development. Prior to joining WCSD, James worked within the Ernst & Young Commercial Real Estate Advisory group. As a senior consultant he provided his clients with a range of strategic development, cost assessment/management, and risk analysis services focused around their commercial real estate holdings. James leverages this experience, as well as eight years as a practicing civil engineer in the Bay Area, to bring solutions based focus to the challenges of developing school facilities. James has an M.B.A from from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Carolyn is a Principal Technical Product Manager at Amazon. She is currently working on a new business Buy with Prime, bringing Prime shipping and benefits to brands that sell direct to consumer. Carolyn has also developed products within Amazon Health (launching COVID-19 testing for Amazon’s warehouse and frontline workers as well as Amazon’s first commercial diagnostics product), reordering technology, and Alexa Education. Before joining Amazon, Carolyn was a consultant at Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit focused on changing educational outcomes for underserved students. At Bellwether, Carolyn supported K-12 education clients—including charter schools— on strategic planning, grant writing, and financial forecasting. Carolyn also worked at Mathematica Policy Research where she measured the effectiveness of social policies using impact evaluations and data analytics.

Carolyn previously served as the founding board treasurer of Why Not You Academy (formerly Cascade Public Schools), a public charter school south of Seattle. She began her career teaching in Venezuela as a Fulbright Fellow. Carolyn holds an M.B.A. from the UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and a B.A. from Brown University.

Debbie Veney is the senior vice president of communications and marketing at the National Alliance. She brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, advocacy, crisis communications, and media relations.  She also brings a deep passion for equity in education and believes in the power of a high-quality education to change a child’s life.

Before returning to the National Alliance, she held senior communications and policy positions at NewSchools Venture Fund, The Education Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Communities In Schools, and previously at the National Alliance.

Prior to entering the nonprofit arena, Debbie built a solid career in corporate communications, working with an impressive array of Fortune 500 corporations, including United Healthcare, DuPont, and CIGNA Corp.  Her experiences include media relations, crisis communications, speech writing, community relations, internal communications, corporate publications, investor relations communications, and corporate giving.

Debbie serves on the board of directors of the D.C. Jazz Festival, Education Writers Association, and the Contemporary American Theater Festival. She was also the founding board chair of the Philadelphia affiliate of Komen for the Cure. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Howard University, and a master’s degree in broadcasting, telecommunications, and mass media from Temple University, where she was honored with a Lew Klein Award and inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Currently serving as the Executive Director at the Black Education Strategy Roundtable, Steve Smith has an extensive background in higher education administration overseeing offices of admissions, student affairs and community relations. He has been an active member with K-12 and higher educational initiatives at regional and statewide levels to improve the educational outcomes of students.

Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the College Success Foundation’s Tacoma office supporting the educational success of underrepresented middle and high school students. He also co-facilitated the Tacoma College Support Network, a collaborative collective impact organization that worked to ensure graduating high school students had plans for their postsecondary vocational, military or college education.

Steve is on the Pierce College Board of Trustees and has served as a board officer for numerous civic, healthcare, social and educational nonprofit boards. He holds an MA in Educational Counseling and BA in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University.

Todd Ziebarth is the senior vice president for state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In this role, he leads the National Alliance’s work to improve state charter school laws. Todd has helped numerous states enact laws to better support high-quality public charter schools. He has also authored many national- and state-level research and policy publications related to key charter school issues.

Previously, he worked as a policy analyst both at the Education Commission of the States from 1997 to 2003 and at Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates from 2003 to 2005. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Morgen Flowers-Washington has had the privilege of serving students ranging from kindergarten to college. She began her career working in higher education in student life. After discovering her passion for K-12 education she served as a classroom teacher, school counselor, and Assistant Principal at elementary, middle, and high schools in Spokane.

Mrs. Flowers-Washington currently serves as the Head of School of Spokane International Academy in Spokane, Washington. She is committed to closing opportunity gaps, providing student support that emphasizes social and emotional learning, serving traditionally underserved student populations, and ensuring rigorous high-quality differentiated instruction.

In 2017, she began her principalship at the School’s Primary Academy campus with grades K-3. She has delighted in leading the Spokane International Academy community as it has expanded to serve students in grades K-11. Mrs. Flowers-Washington has a B.A. in English Literature from Gonzaga University, an M.A. in School Counseling from Gonzaga University, a Masters in Teaching from Whitworth University, and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Whitworth University. Additionally, she holds valid Washington State principal, school counseling, and teaching credentials. Beginning in July of 2023 she succeeded the outgoing school founder and former CEO.

After working for 10+ years as a professional musician based in Chicago, Dan was inspired by some incredible experiences working with young people in Chicago Public Schools to change paths and dive fully into the world of K-12 education. Going through Teach for America, Dan earned an M.S. in Special Education from Dominican University and worked as a Special Education teacher for grades 6-12 in Chicago and eventually Seattle. He then served as the Dean of Culture and Instruction for Grades 11-12 at Summit Sierra Public School for two years and received his M.Ed. in Public School Building Administration from Columbia University. Dan is currently the Executive Director for Summit Atlas Public Hight School and also serves on the Network Leadership Team for the Summit Public Schools Charter Management Organization in Washington and California.

Chris Gibbons (Deputy Director, U.S. Charters) leads the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation’s national charter school strategy, which has a particular focus on charter school students with disabilities in Washington State.

Chris was the founder and CEO for 16 years of STRIVE Prep, a network of public charter schools in Denver, Colorado, that prepares low-income students for college success. STRIVE Prep, which runs 10 schools and serves 3,200 students, has closed longstanding achievement gaps. A STRIVE Prep school ranked first in academic growth among all public middle schools in Denver for seven consecutive years.

Named the 2013 Top Thinker in Education by The Denver Post and a Game Changer by 5280 magazine, Chris is an alumnus of the Broad Superintendents Academy and a recipient of the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship and the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. He served as co-chair of the Denver Public Schools Collaborative Council, directed Denver Summerbridge (now part of Breakthrough Collaborative), and was a charter school teacher. He is fluent in Spanish.

Chris has a B.S. in biology from Yale University and a M.Ed. from Regis University. He is happily married to Audra Philippon, also a charter school founder, and they are proudly raising two daughters.