Dr. Joel Domingo
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 Chuong Holgate
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.
Omar Vasquez is in-house counsel at Cercano Management, an SEC-registered investment advisor to ultra-high net worth families. Omar advises firm clients in venture capital, private equity, private credit and fund investments worldwide. Immediately prior, Omar was in-house counsel at Vulcan, the family office of the late Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen; and before that he was a corporate attorney at the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine.
Throughout his life, Omar has maintained a deep civic commitment to education and youth development. As a Teach for America corps member, he served as a high school teacher in Arizona for six years, during which time he served as a department chair while starting his school’s AP Calculus program. Omar served as a member of the Seattle Mayor’s Education Advisory Council, before running for a seat on the Seattle School Board with the sole endorsement of the outgoing incumbent director and the Seattle Times. While practicing as an attorney at DWT, Omar started the DWT Pre-Law Diversity Fellowship, which aims to expand the pipeline to law school for diverse undergraduate students in Washington state, awarding several fellows a fully-paid LSAT prep course as well as a two-day conference on law school admissions, law school success, and pathways in legal careers.
Omar graduated from law school at the University of Arizona, having served as a senior editor on the Law Review and as a member of the trial advocacy team and the moot court team. Omar studied finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He grew up in El Paso, TX, and is the first in his family to graduate from law school. Now calling Seattle home, he enjoys skiing, rock climbing, and cheering for the all the Seattle championship teams–Seahawks, Storm, and Sounders!
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.
Jim is the Board Chair Emeritus & Legal Counsel at Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. A longtime charter advocate for charter public schools in Washington state, in 1999, Jim was nominated to serve on the “A+ Commission,” where he served for six years, helping to make the state’s K–12 educational system more accountable and effective. Jim is also one of the original board members of WA Charters. Jim and his wife Fawn together wrote, filed, funded, qualified and led the first ballot initiative campaign (I-177) to bring charter public schools to Washington State. Although this campaign was unsuccessful, it energized previous legislative negotiations in 1997-2004 in Olympia that culminated in the passage of a charter school law in 2004. Although the 2004 law was overturned by referendum, in 2012, Jim was involved with the successful Initiative 1240, when a majority of voters approved high-quality charter public schools in Washington state. Jim graduated from the University of Washington Law School in 1983, magna cum laude.
Juan Cotto is the Director of Social Impact at BloodworksNW, Western Washington’s blood health, blood research and blood bank institute. Prior to joining BloodworksNW, Juan spent 12 years at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, where he worked to increase awareness of cancer research in minority communities. He was also Chair of the Fred Hutch Diversity Council and coordinated numerous programs to keep the conversation about diversity relevant on the Fred Hutch scientific and research campuses. A lifelong Seattleite who grew up in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of South Seattle, Juan attended Western Oregon State College where he graduated with a degree in Social Science and has completed his coursework at the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Public Administration.
Juan has served as Head Football Coach at Highline High School for five years and has also coached at Franklin High School and Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. Juan serves on numerous nonprofit boards including Sound Mental Health, the Children’s Campaign Fund, the Workforce Development Council, the Seattle Urban League, and Seattle Pony League Baseball. He currently serves on the Board of El Centro De La Raza where he was the President of the Board from 2016 through 2018.
Juan lives in the Leschi neighborhood of South Seattle with his wife and their two children.
Member Council Representative
Karen Lobos is the Executive Director of Rainier Prep in Highline. She is excited to give back to the community in which she grew up and to share the unique educational opportunities Rainier Prep has to offer with prospective families. As a Cohort II Alumna of Rainier Scholars, a First-Generation graduate of Scripps College, and daughter of Latino immigrants, Ms. Lobos understands first-hand the impact a supportive yet challenging academic community can have in the lives of students who face a number of barriers to achieving higher education. The most inspiring part of her job is working alongside families and teachers to support students in their academic journeys.
When not working, she likes spending time with family or in nature. She would like to learn more languages!
Karen attended Scripps College (BA) and the University of Washington (MPA).
Member Council Representative
Paige Albrecht is the Chief Executive Officer at PRIDE Prep Charter School in Spokane. She enjoys bringing a different learning option for students in the Spokane area. Keeping in mind the possible population that PRIDE Schools serve, Paige is dedicated to providing a supportive and successful school to all students regardless of trials they may face. Being able to work with families that are in need of something different and are able to find a home at PRIDE is the most inspiring part of her work.
Outside of work, Paige enjoys all things in nature, cooking and baking, and learning about new perspectives.
Paige attended Central Methodist University (BS) and Western Governors University (MBML).
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.