Leadership Team

Emily Yim

Executive Director

emily yimEmily Yim is the Executive Director of the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS), a collaboration of Puget Sound school districts, whose mission is to leverage resources, talent, and intellectual capital to help over a quarter million students graduate career and college ready. Emily works with the Board of Directors, comprised of the Superintendents from the respective member school districts, along with industry and higher education leaders to implement collaborative efforts to develop exceptional teachers, engaged students, and empowered families across the region. She also serves as the Chair-Elect for the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) in Washington, D.C., providing leadership in governance and policy advocacy, which serves over 520 governing boards and 6,500 trustees. She serves as the Chair of the ACCT Public Policy Committee and is the former Chair of the API and Native American Caucus. Ms. Yim was also the founding Director of the Department of Neighborhoods and Community Affairs for the City of Lynnwood; Vice President of Community and External Affairs at Washington Mutual Bank, helping to oversee and invest a $29 million annual philanthropic budget; Campaign Coordinator at Microsoft; and a former Board Member of the International District Housing Alliance in Seattle, United Way of Snohomish County, and the Community Services Advisory Council for Snohomish County. She completed her B.A. in International Studies and Political Science at the University of Washington.

Shereen Henry

Director of Instructional Leadership

Shereen Henry has been involved with K-12 education for over 20 years. She taught high school math at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, WA for 11 years before moving to the district offices to serve as the Secondary Math Instructional Specialist for Shoreline Public Schools. In this role, Shereen built up an extensive background in implementing and designing professional development and support for mathematics teachers. She has also collaborated with colleagues around teacher leadership through the national Teach to Lead movement with the intent of building leaders in our school buildings. Ms. Henry has a passion for college and career readiness and has been involved in numerous partnerships and grants with higher education to further student’s opportunities.

In 2015, Shereen became the Director of Instructional Leadership at Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS); a role that allows her to focus on college and career readiness in the STEM fields. WABS serves students, families, and teachers in 11 school districts in the Puget Sound area, in partnership with higher education and industry leaders. In addition to her role at WABS, Shereen is also a WA state Bridge to College Math trainer, supporting the implementation of the new senior level course that leads to college readiness for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Shereen holds a B.A. in History from Harding University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in mathematics from the University of Washington.

Cindy Sackett

Director of Expanded Learning & Operations

Cindy Sackett is the Director of Operations and Expanded Learning for Washington Alliance for Better Schools. Cindy joined WABS in 2012 after 20 years of accounting experience in the for-profit sector. She transitioned to nonprofit work in 2010 and came to WABS from the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation where she was the Executive Director.

Cindy manages the day-to-day operations for WABS as well as being the Program Director for both the After School STEM Academy and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the Marysville School District. In her role as Program Director for Expanded Learning, she organizes diverse partners to advance after school curricula, address unique rural program needs, and offers effective supports for struggling students. She brings a great understanding of the expanded learning landscape, and works on programming that operates outside the school day, allowing her to create a community-based environment for students and partners to create life-long learners.

Cindy holds an AA from Edmonds Community College and completed the Nonprofit Management Program at the University of Washington.

Lisa Chen

Associate Director of Instructional Leadership

Lisa is a Seattle-area native and attended the public schools in the same district she eventually taught in for 15 years. Before returning to Shoreline as a science teacher, she honed her inquiry science skills for 8 years at Pacific Science Center, in exhibit interpretation and live stage and planetarium presentations, onsite as well as traveling all over the Pacific Northwest in their colorful vans. Lisa has taught physical science, biology, chemistry, and AP Biology at Shorecrest High School and has also served as the K-12 Science Instructional Specialist for Shoreline for 9 years. Much of her work involves facilitating professional learning for middle and high school science teachers and elementary teachers in science content and strategies, as well as leveraging partnerships with local industries, non-profits, and government entities to provide opportunities for students to experience the real-world applications of science and engineering.

In 2017, Lisa joined WABS as the Associate Director of Instructional Leadership. In addition to supporting teachers to provide all students the opportunity to access STEM through her work with WABS and the Shoreline Public Schools, Lisa is also the representative for the Central Puget Sound region for the Washington Science Teachers Association and was the conference chair in 2015. Lisa has a B.S. in Biology (Cell and Molecular) from the University of Washington and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University.

Jennifer Martinez

Family Engagement Program Manager

Jennifer was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she spent her childhood outside, in the arroyo behind her house basking in the sun and breathing in the smells of juniper and clay. It was in this place that her imagination ran wild and dreams of serving the community were formed. These dreams led to experience as a community educator, teacher, program manager, and family advocate. While in Santa Fe she worked for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc, and the Office of the State Historian. She also worked for two years at her former high school, Capital High School, as a Seminar teacher and GEAR UP Site Coordinator. Jennifer moved to Shoreline in 2012 and began working for the Shoreline School District in 2013. She worked as a Specialist in the Office of the Assistant Superintendent and a Family Advocate at Echo Lake Elementary. She has served on several Shoreline District committees and currently still serves on the District Race and Equity Steering Committee.

She holds a BA in Humanities from the College of Santa Fe and an MA in Educational Leadership – Community and Organizational Learning from the University of New Mexico. In her free time, Jennifer loves to spend time with her husband and two teenage daughters. She loves to cook, write and explore the Pacific Northwest as much as possible.

April Nilsen

Associate Director of Expanded Learning 

Grant Writer

April Nilsen joined WABS in 2014 while completing her graduate degree, which focused on education policy, program evaluation, and nonprofit management. She works on programs that operate outside the traditional school day, including the directing the three 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Kent & two in Marysville. April also serves as WABS’ Grant Writer and supports general organization operations. Previously, she has experience as an educator and an administrator in early childhood education.

April holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and an MPA from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington. In her time outside of work, April enjoys rock climbing with her husband, having tea parties with her two daughters, and hiking with her Boston terrier.

For a complete list of staff at the WABS 21st CCLC sites, please email info@wabsalliance.org.