Staff

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 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

WABS Deputy Director

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.

Jennifer Martinez

Associate Director of Equity and Family Engagement

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. Jennifer has been with WABS since 2017.

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, two teenage daughters, and new baby. She loves to cook, write, and explore the Pacific Northwest as much as possible.

April Nilsen

Associate Director of Development & Student Programs

An east coast native, April Nilsen joined WABS in 2014 while completing her graduate degree, which focused on education policy, program evaluation, and nonprofit management. April is responsible for WABS’ organizational development including grant writing, reporting, and communications. She oversees WABS’ student programs including After School STEM Academy and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. 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 a Master’s in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington. In her time outside of work, April enjoys spending time with her daughters, listening to podcasts, and exploring the outdoors.

Richard Patterson

Associate Director of Educator Leadership

For over 30 years, Dr. Richard Patterson remains committed to teaching, learning, and educational leadership and is passionate about developing people, systems, teams, and organizations. He has grown to understand the importance of providing opportunities that promote equitable learning at the center of all that we do within organizations, on teams, and as individuals.

Dr. Patterson spent 20 years in the Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, CO, where he served in the roles of science and math teacher, technology manager, assistant principal, middle school principal, director of student achievement, and director of P-20 campus development.   During his tenure in leading the instructional components of the P-20 campus and creation of academic and career pathways for students, he engaged in many opportunities of collaborating with and facilitating teams within public education, higher education, the Colorado Department of Education, industry partners, and workforce development.  This work also led to his pursuit of a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership from the University of Denver. His dissertation detailed the conception and significance of specific innovations within the creation of the Vista Peak P-20 Educational Campus in Aurora, CO. 

Before moving to Seattle to achieve a dream of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, he served again as a middle school principal and Director of Student Achievement for 27J Schools in Brighton, CO.  During this time, he also held positions as adjunct faculty at the University of Denver and affiliate faculty at Regis University in their respective Educational Leadership and Policy Studies masters programs to provide blended learning experiences for coursework in Instructional Leadership, Data Literacy, Policy and Organizational Leadership, and Equity Leadership.

Daisy Alcayaga-Neri

Administrative & Finance Manager

Daisy Alcayaga-Neri joined the WABS team in 2018 supporting leadership and operations. In 2020 she expanded her role, overseeing financial management of the organization. She has over 8 years of marketing and human resources experience in the private sector working for small businesses and also served as an intern with United Way. She is excited to join the non-profit sector because she wants to make a difference in the community. Daisy found WABS to be an excellent fit because she is passionate about the academic achievement and college readiness of all students, particularly in public education.

Daisy holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. She grew up in Southern California and recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest after living in Japan and exploring Southeast Asia for 3-1/2 years. Daisy enjoys traveling and learning about new places, foods, and cultures with her husband, two kids, and her Maltese.

Fedden Amar

Equity & Family Engagement Program Coordinator

Fedden was born and raised in Seattle, WA. Her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Eritrea in the 1980s. Their life experiences, in addition to her own as a first-generation american woman of color, have fueled her passions and desire to work in equity and social justice from a young age. She believes equity must be integrated as a primary part of the foundation of all organizations. Fedden has a background in community outreach, marketing, and communications–specifically for organizations that center historically underserved populations. She is looking forward to championing this work in her new role at WABS as the Equity & Family Engagement Program Coordinator.

Fedden holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Western Washington University and recently completed her M.A. in Communications with a focus on Communities and Networks at the University of Washington.  In her free time, she likes to channel her artistic side as a form of self care. She loves to paint, play piano, discover new music, and dream of new travel destinations. Most of all, she enjoys spending lots of quality time with her best friend in the world (her dog).

Grace Schouten

Program Coordinator

Grace Schouten joined WABS as an Executive Assistant in 2019, where she supports programming and operations. She became passionate about the nonprofit sector while working in child protective services and juvenile justice diversion programs where she worked directly with youth and families. In prior roles, Grace facilitated professional trainings and managed volunteer groups supporting programs for women and children. In her work, she most enjoys connecting people with their community and strengthening public programs.

Grace holds a BA in Criminology and Sociology from the University of South Florida, and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from South University. She grew up throughout the Southeast, moving to many new places as a military daughter. She enjoys volunteering, cycling, board games, and being outdoors with her family. 

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

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