Dr. Gregory L. King
Washington MESA Executive Director
Since February 1, 2019, Dr. King has served as the Washington MESA Executive Director. He oversees 6 K – 12 Centers and 12 MESA Community College Programs. Prior to joining the WA MESA team, he served as a Seattle MESA Director and Advisory Board member. King has devoted his career to increasing educational opportunities for underserved and low-income youth. He began as a middle and high school teacher before serving as an assistant principal and an elementary and high school turnaround principal. Since then, he has worked as a district administrator, career and technical education director, chief academic officer and executive director for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).
Director of K-16 STEM
Shezwae (also known as Sezi) comes to UW MESA from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she worked as the Interim Director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence. Prior to that, Seziworked as a Manager ofDiversity and Inclusion for the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland and Michigan Technical University in Houghton. Seziearned her undergraduate and master’s degree from the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!).
Sezi is a native of Detroit, MI and enjoys reading, traveling, and watching movies.
Administrative Assistant & Board Liasion
MaryAnne has worked as an administrative assistant for the past seven to eight years. She has worked with college students through student leadership programs and served on the Executive Board for a grassroots organization founded in the Philippines. MaryAnne is very passionate about community organizing and various social justice movements.
Rebecca Cyr (She/Her)
Rebecca graduated this past spring with a degree in English, and recently moved back to her hometown in the Seattle area. In her free time, she enjoys face-timing with friends, listening to music, watching movies, writing, and reading. Some of her current favorite books are, The Deeper the Water… by Katya Apekina and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. She is so excited to be serving with VISTA this year, and joining the team at WA MESA as a K-14 VISTA Member!
Digital Media Coordinator
Makayla Gay was raised by two math teachers in Southeastern Kentucky. She attended Converse College in South Carolina. There, she studied Creative Writing, Philosophy, and Marketing. Makayla has written for print, digital, and radio platforms. She realized her passion for connecting communities to educational resources and opportunities when she taught English as a Second Language North Carolina then in the Czech Republic. She has recently moved to Seattle and is excited to engage with the community and to be a part of the digital team.
Kim Fessenden has taught across the world, working with students in South Korea, South Africa, Colorado, and Arizona. To better understand the complex issues impacting communities, he recently took a break from the classroom and earned his MA in Sustainable Communities from Northern Arizona University, researching the intersectionality of social, economic, and environmental justice concerns. In his free time, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Kim exploring the backcountry of Colorado or Utah, just before he disappears over the ridge or into the canyon.
Board of Directors
Dr. Shelley Redinger is in her eighth year as Spokane Public Schools superintendent and 30th year as an educator. Dr. Redinger has set high expectations for student achievement and launched the district’s T-2-4 initiative to prepare students for success in a technical, trade, two- or four-year education and beyond. She has added options and innovative programs, built significant community partnerships, prioritized better understanding of the connection between disproportionality in discipline and student achievement, and been a strong advocate for student voice. Dr. Redinger received her B.A. and M.Ed. from Washington State University and her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Angela Jones serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Washington STEM. Angela brings 25+ years of passion, service, and leadership in Washington’s P-20 public education systems. At the helm of Washington STEM, she is focused on ensuring that students underrepresented in STEM fields have access to the education, resources, and opportunity needed to thrive, regardless of race, income, or gender. Angela and her team convene and collaborate cross-sector to ensure that Washington’s students are on track to access family sustaining wages so that our communities and state don’t just survive, but prosper. She received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law, her Master of Science in Communications from Eastern Washington University, and her Bachelor of Arts in English/Language Arts and her initial teaching certificate from Washington State University.
Tennille serves as the assistant superintendent of System and School Improvement at Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). System and School Improvement provides oversight and support for Washington public schools identified for additional support through required state and federal accountability systems. System and School Improvement supports focus on graduation and post-graduation success through academic, social/emotional and career programming, including: school counseling, student engagement (attendance/behavioral health), safety, dropout prevention, reengagement, and dual credit. Prior to OSPI, Tennille served as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Spokane Public Schools (SPS) for six years. SPS is the second largest school district in Washington. Tennille serves on the National Policy Makers Council for Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Education Research (CALDER) and has served as the president for the Washington School Personnel Association (WSPA). Tennille is from Snohomish, Washington and is proud to be the product of public schools—Central Elementary, Snohomish Junior High, and Snohomish High School in the Snohomish School District.
Felix Braffith, director of student equity and outreach, has a deep understanding of the challenges historically underserved students face while attending college. The oldest of 16 children from a family with deep military roots, he was raised in Lakewood and Tacoma, Wash. Both of these ethnically diverse and culturally rich communities is where he provided transformative experiences for students strived to become the first in their families to graduate from college. With a background of working with the military community and directing TRiO programs, Braffith brings to his position a passion and commitment for ensuring that historically underserved student populations are provided the resources, support and affirmation needed to achieve their fullest potential at WSU Vancouver.
Kazuhiro’s current position is VP of Academic Affair / Provost at Heritage University (HU), Toppenish Washington. HU is a small, private, Hispanic and Native American serving institution located in the Yakama Nation in a rural agricultural region of Central Washington. In addition, he has served as a Director of Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program funded by US Department of Education. Kazuhiro has extensive experience with working with minority students especially low income, first generation Hispanic and Native American Students. As we all know, diversity among STEM professionals should be much higher. Kazuhiro strongly believes that diversity among STEM professionals will greatly benefit our society by bring in different worldviews from different cultures. His goal is to contribute his knowledge and experience of working with those minority students to MESA to achieve significantly higher diversity in fields of STEM workforce.
Jennifer Thibodeau is Policy Advisor for the Vice President of Global Public Policy at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She counsels on policy related to cloud computing, emerging technologies, AI/ML, data privacy, education, procurement, infrastructure, and environmental issues she engages at all levels of government. Prior to her work at AWS Jennifer was the federal, state, and local policy manager for the largest consumer drone manufacturer in the world. Before her lobbying work, she spent five years at the Pentagon during the Obama Administration working on defense procurement policy and legislation. Jennifer holds a B.A. in History from The George Washington University and a M.A. in Government from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Seattle with her husband Tommy and their large malamute, Altair.
Dr. Ann Auman is Dean of the Division of Natural Sciences at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and a Professor of Biology. Dr. Auman has long been an active member of the PLU faculty. She has served in many roles and has held several leadership positions in PLU’s faculty governance system. Her role also includes the directorship of the NSSURP and the position of Responsible Administrator (RA) for the Tacoma/South Puget Sound MESA Program. She also serves as co-principal investigator of PLU’s STEM Scholars Program, which provides scholarship, curricular, and cocurricular support to low-income STEM students at PLU, an initiative supported by a recent award to PLU from the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM Program. Through her leadership, Dr. Auman is committed to promoting equity and to building a holistic learning environment for faculty and students at PLU and in our local community.
Dr. Chelsia Berry is the Associate Dean for STEM & Business at Seattle Central College. She began her pursuit of higher education at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana as a Biology major and later earned both her master and doctorate degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC. Her research examines the impact of early STEM exposure on African American students’ post-secondary STEM aspirations. Dr. Berry was recognized by the National Society of Black Engineers as a leading contributor to the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids curriculum. She volunteers her time as a mentor for the WA Administrators of Color Leadership Program and the Technology Access Foundation. She is also a member of the Seattle Urban League Young Professionals Chapter.
Jim Mohr has been in higher education for over 20 years. He Kim earned a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University where his dissertation focused on how members of white supremacists came to leave their organizations. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Student Development from Gonzaga University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Psychology. He has also been an active member of his community having served on the following boards: College Success Foundation, Priority Spokane, Spokane County Human Rights Task Force, Unity in the Community, Spokane NAACP, Blue Door Theatre, and others.
Evangelina Galvan-Shreeve is a passionate, results-driven manager with over 25 years of experience in Policy & Public Administration for K-20 Education, STEM education initiatives, strategy development and execution, and relationship building. She is a visionary leader, skilled in navigating and influencing policy, developing educational programs, resource identification and procurement, and management of programs and personnel. Evangelina has served as a board member for numerous federal, state, and local programs and organizations, building an impressive network in the areas of workforce development, higher education, government, and research institutions.
Tina Eskridge currently serves as Sr. Director of Cloud Marketing where she is responsible for driving all aspects of inclusion product and marketing strategy across Microsoft’s cloud platforms. Prior to this role, she most recently served as Senior Director of Retail Channel Operations across Microsoft’s North and Latin America supply chain, where she maintained responsibility for strategic channel engagement, supporting device operations and planning for some of the world’s top retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Gamestop, and Costco among others.
She is an active angel investor, member of the community and champion for diversity. Tina is an alumnus of Syracuse University and Howard University, where she earned her MBA. She currently resides in Seattle.
Joe currently serves as the system-wide Director of Student Services for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). . He is also the interim Director of the Washington State Student Success Center, part of a multi-state student success initiative led by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and other funders. His education credentials include a Doctor of Education degree from University of Oregon, a Master of Public Administration degree from Long Island University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Upsala College.
Dr. David Bowman is Dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and at Eastern Washington University. He holds a B.S. and PhD. in Geology from the University of Southern. He was a member of the faculty of the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University, Fullerton from 2001-2016 and Interim Dean of CSUF’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from 2014-2016 before taking over the College of STEM at Eastern Washington University in July 2016. Dr. Bowman’s research specialty is Earthquake Physics; he has authored numerous papers on earthquake seismology with students and colleagues from around the globe. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for MOBIUS Spokane and Washington MESA. He is the Co-Chair of the Spokane STEM Network and serves as an Honorary Commander for the 141st Air Refueling Wing at ANG/Fairchild Air Force Base.
Dana Riley Black
Continually inspired by innovation in education and industry, Dr. Riley Black’s career objective has been purposed to provide the leadership in support of community vitality by way of partnerships across education institutions and the broader community. By assuring their access to high quality learning experiences and introduction to in-demand career opportunities, today’s students will participate in their community as prosperous, informed and competent citizens. A self-described edupreneur, Dr. Riley Black’s work has largely focused on the leadership necessary to conceive, convene and resource partnerships that support professional development for teachers, university faculty, and administrators, as well as educational experiences for students. Such work has required her attention to contemporary educational research, practices and policies; workforce trends; and convening collaborative partnership from across a diversity of community sectors including business, labor and non-profit organizations. Dr. Riley Black received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington, and an M.Ed. in Science Education, and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Miami University.
Rickey Hall is the vice president for Minority Affairs & Diversity and university diversity officer at the University of Washington.
Hall has oversight of the university’s progress in diversity and works to ensure and facilitate an integrated vision and shared responsibility for diversity. Under his leadership, the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) administers programs that broaden college access, support student success and enhance diversity-related teaching and learning across campus. OMA&D also works collaboratively with and serves as a resource for colleges and administrative units as they establish, coordinate and assess their contributions to institutional diversity goals.
Terryl Ross, the College of the Environment’s Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion