Co-President, Innovative Schools
Rekha joined the WA Charters team in 2014 and created the Association’s school services arm. She oversees start-up and operational granting to schools and supports the School Leadership and Design Fellowship, the Strong Start planning year program, and the True Measure Collaborative, a unique public-private consortium focused on inclusive practices. Previously, she was a founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction at an independent charter school in Brooklyn and later served as the school’s founding Director of Operations.
Rekha began her career as a Teach For America corps member in West Philadelphia, where she taught high school English and earned the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. She holds an M.S.Ed in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Rekha has been as a mentor and judge for Startup Weekend EDU Seattle and serves on the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Idea’s board and as an advisory board member for Bellevue College’s Design Thinking program. In her free time, she enjoys bird watching and chasing her daughter around the great playgrounds of Seattle. Contact Rekha at email@example.com.
Co-President, Finance and Operations
Prior to joining WA Charters in April 2018, Haid was a manager at the public sector consulting firm Third Sector Intelligence (3SI). In her four years at 3SI, Haid worked with clients across the education spectrum – from early learning to post-secondary – to build sustainable solutions to complex problems through mission-driven and data-informed decision-making. Additionally, Haid has worked on K-12 funding issues in Washington state supporting the State Legislature, the City of Seattle, philanthropies, and nonprofits across the Puget Sound region. Prior to moving to Seattle to attend business school at UW in 2011, Haid spent six years instructing for Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and working in the ski industry.
Haid holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and a BA in History and Religious Studies from Colby College in Maine. Contact Haid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-President, External Affairs
An experienced advocate and leader in the K-12 education space with a background in economic and community development, Natalie has spent more than two decades working to ensure that families in South Seattle and statewide have access to affordable housing, and high-quality education options that they deserve.
Most recently, Natalie served as the Washington state organizing director for a national nonprofit education advocacy organization, where she focused on supporting families in their fight for improved college and career readiness standards and for the expansion of counseling and mental health resources in schools. Natalie has personal and professional experience in both district and charter public schools. Since entering the charter school space in 2015 as a founding parent at Summit Sierra High School in Seattle, Natalie has used her voice in a variety of roles – including volunteer, parent leader, charter school co-founder, and charter school board member – to influence legislation, statewide policy, accountability, and leadership practices within the charter space, that improve the experiences and outcomes of students who are furthest from educational justice. Natalie also served on the WA Charters Board of Directors from 2016 – 2019. Natalie is passionate about increasing the number of community-led, anti-racist public schools and ensuring that we have strong policies that are informed by the needs, desires, and voices of parents and families.
Natalie has is the proud parent of two daughters who currently attend college and Seattle Public Schools and is an active member and volunteer in her South Seattle community. Contact Natalie at email@example.com.
Digital Communications Manager
With a background in architecture, she is intentional about creatively telling authentic stories of communities. Rini believes in youth empowerment, advocacy and innovative solutions. Creating ethical and inclusive content with a social justice lens is at the forefront of her work in shifting narratives towards equity.
Rini earned her Master of Communication in Communities and Networks from the University of Washington’s Communication Leadership program and envisions designing a just future with WA Charters. She is a high energy lifelong learner who loves capturing candid frames and being on her feet, moving her body! Contact Rini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Innovative Schools
Bely (pronounced “Bailey”) is responsible for helping schools build capacity around fundraising. Prior to joining WA Charters, Bely served as the Associate Director of Events at Virginia Mason Foundation. She also spent nine years at the University of Washington working for the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, the College of Education, and the School of Medicine Center for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, serving in fundraising, events, and student support roles dedicated to advancing opportunities and access for systemically underserved students. Previously, Bely served as Development Officer at the International Examiner, a nonprofit newspaper focused on preserving and amplifying voices of the Asian Pacific American community. Bely holds a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Washington, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends and eating her way around the greater Seattle area. Contact Bely at email@example.com.
Vice President, Innovative Schools
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vice President, Communications
Maggie provides strategic oversight for all communications functions at WA Charters. Maggie’s passion for increasing awareness of and support for Washington’s high-quality charter public schools is fueled by her commitment to educational and racial justice. Prior to joining WA Charters in 2014, Maggie worked for a local, women-owned marketing firm, and as a magazine coordinator, freelance editor, and writer for various magazines and children’s book publishers. Maggie earned her B.A. from Bowdoin College and her Master of Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Washington. Maggie lives in Seattle with her husband and two young sons. Contact Maggie at email@example.com.
Regional Advocacy and Organizing Manager for Eastern Washington
Darcelina lives in her hometown of Spokane, Washington. Raised by a single parent with an eighth-grade education, Darcelina understood the value of education from a young age. She is the first in her family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree; she enjoyed her educational experience so much that she pursued a second degree! She holds degrees in Organizational Management and Accounting from Whitworth University.
Darcelina and her wonderful, supportive husband are founding parents at Spokane International Academy where their two sons attend. In 2015, Darcelina volunteered with Washington State Charter Schools Association to rally parents and community members to advocate for public charter schools; this is where her passion for education advocacy began. She quickly discerned that parents often did not know the power of their own voices – and that she could help them harness their power.
In 2017, Darcelina began working as an organizer for Stand for Children Washington, an education advocacy non-profit, as their Spokane organizer. During that time, she supported families by developing workshops to help them navigate K-12 and postsecondary education opportunities. In addition, Darcelina helped to implement a parent fellow program and parent advocates to work alongside the Spokane district to support the Racial Equity Resolution by hosting parent listening sessions and developing a racial equity team.
Darcelina is excited to be using her skills in her current role at WA Charters. In her personal time, she works to keep her boys from fighting too much while playing Minecraft. She is hopeful that once the pandemic settles, she can go back to karaoke and singing at church and local events. Contact Darcelina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Assistant to President & Office Manager
Kim Torres brings to the team an extensive education and operations background. A credentialed Montessori elementary educator, Kim has supported education researchers at the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform. She is a master at organization, operations, and program design, and she brings a strong commitment to equity to her work at WA Charters.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Arkansas in addition to her American Montessori Society credential in Montessori Education (ages 6-12) from Westminster College. In her spare time, Kim loves to travel and experience new places by eating her way through them! When Kim isn’t traveling, she likes to take leisurely hikes in the Cascades or relaxing in town with her boyfriend and large mugs of coffee.
CSP Project Director & School Implementation Coach
Jeannette serves as the statewide Charter Schools Program (CSP) Grant Project Director and School Implementation Coach for schools in eastern Washington. Prior to joining WA Charters, Jeannette served as Director of Innovative Programs for Spokane Public Schools, where she led the development of charter authorizing and school options for the school district. Previously, Jeannette served as a charter school leader in California and a teacher. Jeannette holds a BA Liberal Studies degree from San Diego State University and a Masters in Educational Technology from National University. Jeannette feels passionately about the need for school choice and is a strong advocate for how charters can provide opportunities for students, families, and communities. Contact Jeannette at email@example.com.
Director, Finance and Operations
Rodrigo comes to WA Charters from his native New York City, with several years of accounting experience in the nonprofit sector. Rodrigo’s most recently post was Assistant Controller for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), an organization focused on economic revitalization through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments, and small business assistance. Prior to UMEZ, Rodrigo served as Senior Accountant at the Provident Loan Society of New York, and as Finance Associate for Cicatelli Associates Inc., another nonprofit organization focused on providing quality of health care and social services to underserved populations worldwide.
In his free time, Rodrigo’s enjoys creating memories with his wife and young daughter. Contact Rodrigo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Advocacy and Organizing Manager for Western Washington
Jonthomas “JT” Williams works to support high quality, anti-racist educational programs that uplift the voices and stories of families from the Global Majority. He does this through advocacy, collaborating with educators, and working together with families to dismantle oppressive systems and hold those systems accountable.
JT has worked in K-12 educational system in the Puget Sound region for about 20 years including, charter public, traditional public, and independent schools. He worked for Rainier Scholars for over 7 years, leading admissions efforts and collaborating with K-12 public and independent schools on equitable enrollment and college readiness pipelines for students that are most underrepresented in higher education.
As the Founding Community and Family Engagement Manager for Ashe Prep charter public school, JT led equitable family-centered engagement, fully enrolled the school, and collaborated with founding families and the community to build a school that was responsive to the needs of Black American families. Most recently, JT worked for the Renton School District as one of only four partnership and engagement managers, leading an anti-racist family and community engagement plan to increase student achievement.
JT earned his B.A. in Community, Environment, and Planning from the University of Washington and has a master’s degree from the University of Washington in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He has certified training in Basic Mediation and Family Mediation; he is currently in practicum to become certified as a Washington state family mediator.
JT is the proud father of one son and volunteers his time to fight for equity and racial justice in his community of South Seattle/Skyway. Contact JT at email@example.com.