Reid Saaris – Founder and CEO
With a personal commitment to equity in education that traces back to seeing his best friend not receive the same quality of education, even though he was just across the hall at the same school, Reid founded Equal Opportunity Schools to help schools develop systems to close achievement gaps and provide all students an equal opportunity to achieve their education goals.
At Equal Opportunity Schools, Reid provides vision, organizational and strategic leadership. His role as Executive Director includes partnership, fund, and board development; long-term planning; recruitment; team and program development; and advocacy on behalf of the Equal Opportunity Schools’ mission to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in challenging high school classes.
Prior to starting Equal Opportunity Schools, Reid coached soccer and cross-county running and taught history, economics, philosophy and psychology at a large, rural high school in South Carolina. He also headed the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs at a school that grew to the largest IB program in the state. It was there he found a relatively simple, high-impact reform that could enhance learning opportunities for “missing students” across the country. He committed to ensure that no student in the school would be overlooked for participation in AP or IB because of the color of their skin or the size of their parents’ paycheck. That reform effort seeded Equal Opportunity Schools.
Reid is a respected writer and researcher on education. His summa cum laude thesis at Harvard, Our Latest Generation: The Civic Greatness of Young Americans, disputed the idea that young Americans are disengaged and apathetic, and traced political inequalities back to inequity in educational opportunities. It was awarded the Hoopes Prize for excellence. Reid also authored a paper for the Education Trust about the missing students problem. He received Stanford’s only 2010 Social Innovation Fellowship and is currently a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and an Echoing Green Fellow.
Reid graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s in Government and has a Master’s in Business and Education from Stanford.
Charles Wright, Jr. – President
Charles is a senior executive with an entrepreneurial mindset and track record for establishing successful partnerships and close working relationships with internal and external stakeholders. He has demonstrated the ability to manage and coach team members to provide better service to their customers. He is effective at building constituencies that take action around emerging and complex interests and issues. Charles has an extensive network in K-12 education.
His highlights include establishing relationships and partnerships that advance strategic priorities, implementing processes that help leaders and stakeholders achieve shared goals and developing communication strategies and strategic messages.
Prior to joining EOS, Charles was the Deputy Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, a program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and held executive positions in public school districts.
Charles has a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College, a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education from Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He sits on the Leadership Tomorrow Curriculum Committee.
Chris Belcher -Superintendent-in-Residence
Dr. Chris Belcher brings a wealth of experience as a classroom, school and district leader to his position as the Superintendent-in-Residence at Equal Opportunity Schools.
As the former Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, he was recognized for his commitment to serving all students, cultivating community and staff buy-in and developing long-term financial and facilities plans for the district. He also spearheaded the district’s partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools, and with great personal investment and participation in the partnership, lead his district to close its race gaps in a single year.
Chris currently serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor in PK-12 Leadership and Policy at the University of Missouri. He retired as Superintendent of the Columbia Public School District, Columbia, MO in June 2014 and has worked in education for 31 years. He has served as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, college professor, and superintendent. He has also served as an education consultant to many public schools and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Chris earned a BSE in secondary biology and chemistry, Master’ of Education and Education Specialist degree in Administration from the University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg, and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Chris has received a number of awards and recognitions, including being named as Missouri State Teachers Association Administrator of the Year and the Missouri School Public Relation Association’s Superintendent of the Year.
Sandy Zook – Office Manager
Sandy’s strong operations, human resources and accounting background keeps Equal Opportunity Schools running smoothly and focused on closing educational opportunity and achievement gaps.
As Office Manager, Sandy develops and implements a wide variety of systems and processes essential to the organization’s effectiveness in areas including finance, human resources, legal, compliance, contracting, information technology and procurement.
Most recently, Sandy was the Office Manager for an international high tech startup. She managed finance and accounting, office operations and human resources.
Sandy was an engaged parent of Advanced Placement students in public schools and served as PTA President and a parent representative to Bellevue High School’s program delivery council at the Bellevue School District’s finance committee. Sandy also has a strong commitment to community service and has been a volunteer and advocate for Hospice of the Valley, Little Bit Therapeutic Riding, Life Care Center of Kirkland, Los Angeles DSHS and New Directions for Women.
Sandy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
Leslie St. Pierre – Special Assistant to the CEO and President
Leslie joins her passion for systems and organization with experience in education at the post-secondary, K-12 and non-profit education sectors to her work with EOS.
For more than a dozen years, Leslie served in program management positions in state and non-profit online learning organizations. At the Digital Learning Commons (DLC), Leslie developed and managed the first statewide catalog of online courses available to K12 districts across Washington State, while working directly with school-based staff to onboard and prepare them in supporting students’ successful online course experiences. More recently, in the Digital Learning Department (DLD) at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Leslie continued her management of the state online course catalog system and helped design, launch and run the state’s first approval systems for online course and programs providers serving WA students.
Access to high quality educational experiences has been a driving force throughout her work with the DLC and DLD, and Leslie is particularly inspired by the opportunity to support EOS’s work in improving access to rigorous, high-level course work to underserved and underrepresented students.
Leslie holds a Masters in Library and Information Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.
Luke Justice – Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives
Luke brings a strong background in education advocacy and a broad set of skills from his private sector experience to his work at Equal Opportunity Schools.
Luke collaborates with the Executive Director and the rest of the Equal Opportunity Schools team on a wide variety of projects, including strategic and financial planning, new systems visioning, development, and implementation, and communications and innovation.
Prior to joining EOS, Luke worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a consultant on the Measures of Effective Teaching project. Luke analyzed the use of student perception surveys and developed a set of strategic recommendations for how the Foundation could help scale the adoption of student surveys in teacher evaluation systems. Luke has also consulted for Education Pioneers and 2Revolutions, an education design firm that launches new schooling models. Prior to his work in education, he served as Vice President for Aon Corporation, a global risk management company.
Luke serves as the Board Treasurer and head of the Finance Committee for Invictus Preparatory Charter School.
Luke graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts from Harvard and received his MBA from Columbia Business School, where he was President of the Social Enterprise Club.
Joseph Small, Jr – Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives
Joe is an education management professional with extensive experience cultivating school districts, state and federal relationships in the K-12 sector. Developer of high performance teams, selling and servicing complex education technology systems and solutions.
Prior to joining EOS, Joe had senior leadership roles with several organizations including Fortune 500 and small business. He is a high energy leader with distinctive people skills.
Joe graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts from Providence College.
Alexa Llibre – Manager, Strategic Initiatives
Alexa’s classroom experience and passion for ensuring educational opportunity for all students motivate her work at Equal Opportunity Schools. She brings her insights into the teacher experience, academic acceleration and data-driven decision making to her position at EOS.
Alexa taught Spanish at the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, while also leading the Coding Club. While teaching, she introduced her students to TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) through comprehensive introductory Spanish curriculum, and design-thinking through school-wide experiential learning opportunities. Previously, she served as the undergraduate Executive Director of a service organization bringing arts education to hundreds of students in the Cambridge, MA area. She also worked on teacher training resources in the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Performance, and at SGA Youth & Family Services in Chicago in non-profit development.
Alexa has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Harvard.
Sasha Rabkin – Senior Director, Partnerships
Sasha brings a strong background in diverse education settings including program management in a cross section of schools and districts.
For over eleven years, Sasha served as Director of School and Family Programs at the Institute for Community Leadership where he managed community based social justice leadership interventions with schools and families. Prior to this, Sasha spent three years at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions where he managed statewide youth leadership and service learning programs.
Sasha has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Redlands, where he also served as student body president. He recently completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.
Brittany Alvarez – Partnership Associate
Brittany learned of EOS while attending graduate school at the University of Washington and immediately connected with the mission and program model. She became passionate about pursuing a career ensuring equity within public schools systems while working in student services in Los Angeles.
Prior to EOS, Brittany worked for a charter management organization to launch two of Washington’s first charter schools. Her work focused heavily on community engagement, family support, and recruitment of those students who have been historically underserved by public schools. During her pursuit of a Master of Public Administration, she studied public school finance and provided an in-depth analysis of Seattle’s public school funding to the Seattle Public School District.
She has a BA in Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University and a Master in Public Administration from the Evans School at the University of Washington, with a focus on education policy and management.
Laurie Bohm – Partnership Director
Laurie has a deep commitment to educational success for underrepresented students.
She has a track record of growing innovative programs based on best practices and community need; building consensus and alignment among staff and partners; using data in decision-making; and leading with an emphasis on strengths, racial equity, and continuous improvement.
Most recently, Laurie was the White Center Promise Director at the White Center Community Development Association. Here she worked closely with Highline Public Schools, local organizations and community members to plan and implement a place-based, cradle-to-career effort rooted in the federal Promise Neighborhoods initiative. Previously, Laurie directed community schools programs at multiple sites, developed and implemented college readiness curriculum and classes for foster youth, and taught opportunity youth at local colleges.
Laurie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emerson College and a Masters of Education from Lesley University. She is also a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow-Seattle.
Niambi Clay – Regional Director, Partnerships
Niambi’s passion for addressing the educational needs of students, business training and experience in the classroom help her make a difference in students’ lives as a Regional Director at Equal Opportunity Schools.
Niambi has dedicated her career to education reform. She was a high school math teacher in the Bay Area where she also served as a curriculum consultant for the creation of the California High School Exit Exam and developed an internship program for teachers pursuing their teaching credentials. Most recently, Niambi served as district administrator for tutorial support in Oakland where she managed a $5 million budget. During her tenure the program was recognized by the California Department of Education as a national model for program implementation.
Niambi has a Master’s of Education and MBA from Stanford University where she was also President of the Black Graduate Students’ Association. While at Stanford, she also helped develop the vision for Schools for Community Empowerment, an educational nonprofit that won the grand prize in the Global Social Venture Competition at the London Business School.
Tracey Conrad – Partnership Director
Tracey Conrad spent nearly 30 years in public education, 20 of which were in an administrative role. Most recently, she served as the principal of a large urban/suburban high school. She has always been extremely committed to social justice issues within the public school system. As a high school principal, she successfully partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools to close the AP access gaps. She retired from Columbia Public Schools in 2014.
Tracey earned her BSED in biology, Master of Educational Administration, Educational Specialist, and Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Most recently, she received the 2014 UCEA Excellence in Educational Leadership Award, due in part to her work with EOS and commitment to achieving equitable access to Advanced Placement classes for all students. She continues her work for social justice as a Partnership Director and a member of the Strategic Initiatives Team.
Courtney Daikos – Partnership Director
Courtney has served students, families and teachers in the K-12 arena for over 16 years. She brings a passion for social justice and racial equity and a track record of school improvement to EOS.
Courtney started her career as a classroom teacher and literacy instructional coach in Chicago Public Schools and Seattle Public Schools. She served as an administrator for Highline Public Schools in South King County, Washington for 9 years in 3 different roles, including overseeing Title 1 and other state funding streams of approximately $30 million as a K-12 district administrator. Then, as a high school assistant principal, she led significant growth of 9th grade algebra success and reformed the English Language Learners program to accelerate access to core content to increase graduation rates. During this time, Courtney experienced an EOS partnership from the school perspective as an instructional leader and master schedule builder. Courtney’s most recent role was as principal of an elementary school focused on increased performance of ELL students, STEM instruction with arts integration, and growth of social-emotional learning through restorative justice.
Courtney has a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and sociology from the University of Illinois, a masters of education degree in leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington, and a P-3 Executive Leadership credential from the University of Washington’s National P-3 Center.
Kia Franklin – Director of Partnership Success
Kia is committed to advancing educational equity through policy, advocacy and direct services. She comes to Equal Opportunity Schools having successfully partnered with and in schools, districts, and non-profit organizations to provide meaningful educational opportunities to all students. She has also worked in the legal/policy fields to advance the interests of underrepresented groups.
Most recently Kia worked at TAF (formerly Technology Access Foundation) providing support to TAF Academy, a public 6th through 12th grade school in Federal Way, Washington. There she collaborated with teachers to design a college readiness curriculum for middle and high school students, advised seniors through the college admissions process, and supported district family engagement initiatives. She was a program manager in the Education Department at The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and a senior fellow at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy in New York.
Kia has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African and African-American Studies from Stanford University and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She is also a member of the Washington State Bar Association.
Anis Gisele – Partnership Associate
Anis believes that, in every young person’s life, education can mean the beginning of equity or exclusion. As a Partnership Associate, she brings her commitment to serving communities that have historically been denied access to opportunity.
She has worked with students in shelters, prisons, schools, and theatre companies. Together she and her students question existing systems and reimagine spaces that erase their experience. As a social commentator, she has received fellowships from numerous institutions, including Everyday Feminism, VONA/Voices, and King County. Her writing explores issues of race, power, and community accountability.
She earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University and formed her politics at Seattle’s BENT Writing Institute.
D. Janaé Landis – Partnership Director
Janaé joined the partnership team at EOS in the summer of 2014. She holds a B.S. and M.Ed. from Washington State University (Go Cougs!). Janaé served as the Principal of The Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment, a public high school in SeaTac, Washington. Her previous public school experiences have included serving as AP in two large high schools, a Dean of Students, and a CTE teacher.
Janaé took five years “off” from the public schools as Director of a non-profit in the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities area of Washington. She served as the principal investigator of Acesso a la Ciencia; a collaborative project funded by the National Science Foundation. This project focused on providing informal science opportunities for Latino(a) families in the Yakima Valley.
Janaé’s personal journey runs the gamut from private industry to public schools, as well as the non-profit world. This non-traditional path has shaped her thinking and passion for increasing equitable pathways for students in our school systems. Janaé has a body of work around issues of equity and access that bring her to this place. She is excited about the work at EOS and looking forward to closing gaps with the schools and districts who are ready to make change.
Eddie Lincoln – Partnership Director
Eddie is passionate about issues of social justice and educational equity. He is deeply committed to closing the opportunity gap for underrepresented youth and is proud to be an active member of his community.
Most recently, Eddie served as the Assistant Director for K-12 Partnerships as part of the Seattle University Youth Initiative, a community engagement effort focused on strengthening education and support systems for neighborhood youth and their families. In his role, he successfully partnered with Seattle Public Schools to develop programs which address gaps in services and learning opportunities. Eddie also served as the University liaison to staff, students, and community partners interested in engaging in school-based projects and programming.
Eddie has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Seattle University and a Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
Angie Luengen – Partnership Associate
Angie is passionate about providing underrepresented students with opportunities to expand their horizons and improve their lives. In addition to working to close opportunity gaps with Equal Opportunity Schools, she volunteers with Seattle Inspiring Connections Outdoors, introducing students to the splendor of the Pacific Northwest and the many outdoor activities the region inspires.
Prior to joining EOS, Angie taught mathematics at high schools in the Snoqualmie Valley and Renton School Districts. In addition to her classroom experience, she has had the privilege of working with students as a Link Crew Coordinator, Math Club Advisor, Drill Team Coach, and Assistant Drama Director. Each activity has strengthened her belief that all students are capable of realizing their amazing potential, given the right encouragement and support.
Angie is a semi-retired professional ballroom dancer and can occasionally be seen kicking up her heels with students on area dance floors. Angie has Bachelor of Science degrees in Probability & Statistics and Psychology from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Seattle Pacific University.
Bernadette Merikle – Regional Director, Partnerships
Bernadette is passionately committed to increasing access to higher education for underrepresented students. She spent most of her career in higher education admissions where she recruited students to New Mexico State University, Cornell and the Seattle University School of Law.
Her focus shifted to educational equity when she was selected as the inaugural Director of Diversity and Equity for South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA. Recently, Bernadette served on the Senior Leadership Team for Highline Public Schools as Director of Equity and Family Engagement.
Bernadette received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and has a Master’s of Education from Seattle University. Additionally, she completed the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Collaborative Leadership for Results program and is a 2011 graduate of the National Urban Fellows’ America’s Leaders for Change cohort. Bernadette volunteers on the Curriculum Committee for Leadership Tomorrow, Seattle.
Aurora Parrish—Partnership Director, Continuing Partners
Aurora brings her strong background in education policy and school/community partnerships to her role as a Partnership Director at Equal Opportunity Schools.
Aurora worked for seven years for the YMCA of Greater Seattle, developing and managing innovative programs for college and career readiness, as well as for extended learning time, within a number of public middle and high schools. Previously, she acted as an academic coach at School’s Out Washington for program providers at two diverse middle schools to increase their efficacy with meeting students’ academic needs.
Aurora has a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University. She completed a Thomas C. Wales Foundation fellowship in 2010, which focused on non-profit leadership development.
Marquise Roberson – Partnership Director
Marquise comes to Equal Opportunity Schools after a stop in the political world. Marquise served as the Regional Manager for Save the Children Action Network, a policy organization aimed at advocating for investments in early childhood education now. He also was the Field Director for the Seattle Preschool Program campaign that created a system for all children to have an opportunity to attend preschool.
Beyond his policy work, he brings a strong background in school/community partnerships and youth development. He was the Community Organizer for the immigrant refugee community of White Center. In addition, he was the Assistant Director for College and Career Readiness programs at the Meredith Mathews YMCA where he worked with a number of Seattle Public Schools high schools. His passion lies in social justice with an emphasis on engagement and equity. He is an active member in his community volunteering with youth groups such as: The Service Board, The Portfolio Project and Treehouse. His aim when working with youth is providing the perspective that their wildest dreams are possible if they chase them with great intensity.
Marquise has a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Marketing, Retail Merchandising and Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Matt Tanguay – Partnership Associate
Matt brings a diversified background in education and a strong determination to expand student opportunities to his work at EOS.
Previously, Matt served as Program Director at Lehman Learning Solutions, an education company based in Seattle that focuses on resolving learning difficulties in students struggling academically through cognitive and executive functioning based interventions. In this role, as in most of the positions that he has served in, Matt worked directly with students while also spending a significant amount of time leading administrative projects and developing student tools.
Matt has also taught at a public high school in Thailand, worked in administration at a government sponsored tutoring company and led the quantitative analysis of student engagement surveys at North Seattle College as part of an internship in 2014 and 2015.
Matt has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado and a Masters in Educational Leadership & Policy with a specialization in education-based data analysis from the University of Washington.
Kimberly Thomas – Partnership Director
Kimberly is deeply committed to educational access, equity and transformation and to the challenging, but critical work of ensuring that marginalized students have access to rigorous, transformative educational experiences.
Before joining EOS, Kim served as Managing Director of Kitebridge, Inc. Tacoma, an international boarding school program that provided acculturation support, college advising and housing for students from China and South Korea. Previously, Kim was the Director of the Premajor Studies Program at Seattle University, where she worked with hundreds of students to discover who they are, what drives them, their values and their joy. During her tenure, Kim was twice nominated for Advisor of the Year and nominated by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) to serve as the chair of their Undecided & Exploratory Students Commission. Kim is also the Founder and Owner of empower! College Advising Services, serving high school students in Tacoma and Pierce County.
Kim received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Puget Sound and her Master of Education in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington. She is a member of the Black Alumni Union at the University of Puget Sound and serves as a mentor for Palmer Scholars.
Kirstin Wagner – Partnership Associate
Kirstin developed a strong commitment to equity in education through her work in a diverse set of underserved schools and classrooms. In prior roles, she coordinated preschool math and elementary creative writing programs, tutored middle school AVID students, and led outdoor science exploration classes.
Most recently, Kirstin served as an AmeriCorps Member at the Neighborhood House Youth Tutoring Center in the Seola Gardens neighborhood of White Center, where her work focused on planning and facilitating curriculum for predominantly immigrant and refugee students. Her primary goal was to help support White Center youth in their development as community leaders and change makers. One of the highlights of this work was a Middle School Youth Leadership Conference that she helped put on to bring youth in South King County together to collaborate on the issues they face.
Kirstin has a BA in International Relations with a minor in Education from Stanford University.
Jennifer Ward – Partnership Director
Jennifer is a long-time advocate for youth who are historically underrepresented on college campuses, and is deeply passionate and committed to the work of helping young people change their life trajectory through education.
Jennifer comes to EOS with over a decade of experience in direct service to low and middle-income students and families of color. Her most recent work experience was with the Seattle-based college preparatory non-profit Rainier Scholars—a pipeline program that assists low-income students of color from 5th grade through college completion in accessing the highest educational rungs available. As a Program Director, Jennifer created a number of programs aimed at college readiness, career exposure, identity development and parent engagement.
Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering, as well as a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, both from the University of Washington. When she’s not saving the world with EOS, Jennifer mentors with 4C Coalition and is also an avid dancer with the West African group, Gansango Music and Dance Company.
Allison Wood – Partnership Director
Allison is committed to ensuring all students have the opportunity to realize their full potential through equitable access to a rigorous, high quality education. In addition to her Partnership Director responsibilities, Allison co-led the pilot of EOS’ Partnership Success initiative, which aims to identify and scale best practices in closing race and income AP/IB participation gaps within a single year. Outside of work, Allison serves as a mayoral-appointed member of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee, which reviews and makes recommendations regarding investment of $235 million.
Prior to joining EOS in 2013, Allison worked at the New York City Department of Education as an Education Pioneers Fellow, and also led research activities for a community-based organization in Brooklyn that was applying for a $30 million federal Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods grant. Before entering education, Allison spent five years working as an instructor at FareStart, a Seattle-based culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged men and women.
Allison has a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and graduate certificates in Business Administration and Case Management from the University of Washington and Antioch University. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Kara Follmer – Analyst
Kara is an experienced data analyst who is excited to apply the business strategies she used in risk analytics and data-management consulting to work with Equal Opportunity Schools. Her passion for education stems from a desire to improve her local community. She further developed that passion while volunteering in the Baltimore City schools as a teacher’s assistant in middle school math.
Prior to Equal Opportunity Schools, Kara created data-driven reporting solutions to compare quality and performance of hospital care around the country. She looks forward to helping schools and districts easily track and monitor their environment by developing more automated, less error-prone, and statistically sound analyses.
Kara has a dual-Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Applied Math & Statistics from Johns Hopkins University. She enjoys playing sports and is thrilled to be back in Seattle after living the previous six years in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Jamila Hussein – Analyst
Jamila is a social justice advocate committed to educational equality. She is passionate about closing opportunity gaps and increasing access to education.
Jamila comes to EOS after interning at the Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project where she assisted non-profit legal aid programs improve services through effective and innovative use of technology. She also interned at the Council on American Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization where she worked as an advocate for people facing religious discrimination in education, housing, and employment. When she’s not working, Jamila leads her community garden’s efforts to grow organic produce for donation to the Queen Anne Food Bank. She also loves to hike and play tennis.
Jamila has a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Classics with a concentration in Critical Theory from Macalester College.
Holly Karakos – Research Analyst, Data Science
Holly is thrilled to be working on the Data Science team to make existing research applicable and accessible at EOS and to conduct original research with EOS to generate knowledge and improve program tools. EOS’ mission aligns closely with Holly’s passion to use data to make tangible steps toward equity, school improvement, and maximizing the potential of every young person.
Prior to joining the team at EOS, Holly was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University where her research employed quantitative and qualitative approaches to understanding civic engagement among youth in diverse contexts, evaluating the effectiveness of recovery high schools as a continuing care resource for youth in recovery from substance use disorders, and program evaluation. She has also enjoyed opportunities to work internationally, including serving as a junior high school teacher in Liberia and working on a collaborative community-based research team in South Africa.
Holly has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religion from Furman University, a Master of Arts in Psychology from Wake Forest University, and recently completed her Doctorate in Community Research and Action with a Minor in Quantitative Methods from Vanderbilt University.
Adam Kay – Director, Data Science
Adam works to develop and use research, findings and tools to enable schools around the country to understand the causes and potential solutions to the problem of students being under-matched with the challenging coursework that will prepare them for college.
Previously, Adam was a faculty member of Teacher’s College at Arizona State University and in the Department of Education at Dartmouth College where he taught courses and conducted research in teacher professional development, learning across cultures and adolescent social development.
Adam has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Northwestern University, a Master of Education from U.C. Berkeley and a Doctorate of Philosophy with a focus in Cognition and Development.
Alex Lee – Software Developer, Product Development
Alex brings a unique skill set to the development team and to EOS as a whole. His project management background and aptitude for technical challenges allows EOS applications to grow with strong vision and best practices.
Before he joined the EOS team, Alex worked in heavy civil construction, starting with run-of-the-river hydroelectric projects and moving onto the SR-520 Floating Bridge and Landings project. There he managed survey crews and organized the project schedule while teaching himself to code in his spare time. He opted for a major career change, leaving heavy civil construction and finding a new adventure doing software development for Equal Opportunity Schools.
Alex has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington.
Rika Meyer – Research Analyst, Data Science
Rika is passionate about improving children and adolescents’ well being and has past research experience in both education and health. She was previously a Research Scientist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and was an adjunct faculty member in the Child Development Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills. In addition to her work at EOS, she is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology Department at Bellevue College.
Rika received her BA in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles and a MA and PhD in Developmental Psychology from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Jessica Paulson – Manager, Program Implementation
Jessica comes to Equal Opportunity Schools after a career in the political world. Jessica served as a Senior Analyst for Grove Insight, a polling and communication strategy firm.
After college graduation, she worked in her hometown of Seattle as membership coordinator for the Washington Food Coalition – emergency food providers committed to developing new programs, helping to provide additional food for individuals and families in need, and informing the public about hunger issues. While still in college, Jessica interned with Washington Governor Gregoire’s office. She also built up a taste for change as the intern for the Center on Diversity and Community on the University of Oregon’s campus.
Jessica has Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Oregon.
Derek Robbecke – Director, Product Development
Derek brings a strong background in product development and software engineering to Equal Opportunity Schools. In his role as Director of Technology, Derek oversees the development and architecture of EOS applications for capturing and analyzing student information and effectively executing on the goal of students having opportunities and access to challenging coursework that will prepare them for the future.
Prior to joining EOS, Derek contributed in positions at Boeing and Verizon Wireless and played key roles in the product development at local technology startups Varolii, Calamander and Knoq.
Derek has Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degrees from Washington State University and the Leadership Executive MBA degree from Seattle University.
Elizabeth Sykes – Analyst
Elizabeth is thrilled to return to her hometown of Seattle to join the Equal Opportunity Schools team. She brings a broad set of analytical skills to EOS, including survey development, database management, statistical analysis, and data visualization. She has great enthusiasm for the task of identifying missing students and increasing access to challenging coursework for all students. As a member of many student-led organizations throughout her educational career, Elizabeth has seen firsthand the importance of inclusion and equal opportunities for students at all levels.
Prior to joining EOS, Elizabeth conducted research focusing on the effects of social integration on individuals’ levels of trust in institutions. Elizabeth has a passion for tackling social justice issues from an institutions perspective, and is interested in finding ways to use evidence-based research to inform policies that will end institutional racism.
Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Portland, and a Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
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