Staff

Sharonne Navas

Sharonne Navas is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Equity in Education Coalition.

The first American born child of immigrant parents from Guatemala and El Salvador, Sharonne understands, and values, the complexity of being mutli-lingual and multi-cultural in America.  A native of New York City, Sharonne moved to the Seattle area in 2009.

Past professions include being a community organizer with Stand for Children, Executive Director of Para Los Niños, Assistant Director of Development for NARAL Pro-Choice America, Deputy Executive Director for Ayuda, Inc., and Development Coordinator for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

In 2010, she was appointed as Commissioner for the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Green River Community College.

Sharonne was an advisory member for the Thrive By Five‘s “Talk, Love, Play” initiative, a cohort member of Thrive by Five’s “Advancing Racial Equity Theory of Change in Early Learning,” a committee member of the WA State Education Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee.  Sharonne is currently a member of the advocacy caucus, community network steering committee and sponsors group of the Road Map Project of CCER.

She also volunteers for the South King Council on Human Services and was a Board member of the League of Education Voters and is on the Steering Committee of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition.  Sharonne holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from St. John’s University.

She spends her off-time exploring the various foods and wines of WA State with her husband Steve and their tweenie dachshunds, Manny, and Porter.

Sharonne Navas
Executive Director

Velma Veloria

The Honorable Velma Veloria, was born in Bani, Pangasinan, Philippines and immigrated to the United States in 1961. She received her BS in Medical Technology from San Francisco State College. She was elected into office and became the first Asian American woman and first Filipina American elected to the Washington State legislature. Representing the 11th District, Veloria served from 1992 until 2004. She organized and led international trade missions and provided contacts for small businesses to the international marketplace.

When 3 Filipina Americans were murdered inside the King County Courthouse, Veloria worked with Emma Catague, Norma Timbang and Dr. Sutapa Basu of the UW Women’s Center to gain passage HB 1175, making the State of Washington the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking on a state level. Since the enactment of HB1175, 48 states in the nation have passed similar legislation. Additionally, concerned that Washington State was silent on international trade policies that impacted Washingtonians and the Philippines, she authored legislation that created a Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Trade Policy.

As a former labor organizer, Veloria has a demonstrated track record of successfully lobbying for and educating the broader community on important working family issues. Veloria is passionate about sharing knowledge and working directly with people to empower themselves and has proved to be skilled as a leader in motivating and mentoring a multicultural workforce to realize their potentials.

As well as working for the EEC, Velma is also community organizer for multiple non-profit agencies, ( Faith Action Network and the Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC)). Veloria continues to serve as co-chair of the UW Women’s Center Anti Human Trafficking Task Force.

Velma Veloria
Director of Advocacy and Mobilization

Sameth Mell

Sameth Mell identifies as a 1.5 generation Khmer American who was born in the Kao I Dang refugee camp in Thailand a few years after the genocide ended in Cambodia. He is currently involved in a few grassroots organizations working towards social and economic justice. Sameth, is the Project Director for Partners in Change, a program of the EEC. Sameth has worked with youth, seniors, housing, and advocacy for policy changes. He enjoys leading team trips to Southeast Asia to bridge the diaspora to the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.

Project Director, Partners in Change Program

Risa Nagel

Risa Nagel is the Development Associate of the Equity in Education Coalition. As a fairly recent pupil of an underfunded public high school and over-resourced private university, Risa has first-hand experience of the gross inequalities eroding our education system.

Risa previously worked as an organizer for a variety of campaigns including increasing accessibility and understanding of Seattle’s new Democracy Voucher program; calling on major food companies to stop overusing medically important antibiotics in their factory farms, and preventing the opening of public lands to uranium mining. Last year Risa started with EEC under the Communications Fellowship, and now will be part of EEC’s development team.

Picture of Human
Development Associate

Reneeka Massey-Jones

Reneeka Massey-Jones is a 2018 graduate from Central Washington University with a bachelor of arts degree in English – Professional and Creative Writing. Since 2013, Reneeka has worked in customer service roles while making her way through college. She got her first experience in state work as a Student Co-op in the Migrant and Bilingual Education office at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction as a senior in high school.

Having gone to many schools and been the only or one of the few black students in her class or school as a whole, Reneeka is eager to play a role in closing the opportunity gap and working to achieve equity in all tiers of education.

For all media inquiries please email me.

Opportunity Youth and Workforce Development Coalition Coordinator & EEC Communications

Jacquelyn Billups

Jacquelyn, though born in North Dakota, claims Washingtonian status having been raised in Tacoma. After graduating in 2015 with her B.A. in Economics she pursued math education and youth advocacy. Jacquelyn enjoys tutoring math, skating, singing karaoke, and crocheting.

Senior Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Christi Keith

Christi Keith is coming on-board as our Covid Rapid Response Director on a temporary basis to help us with the food assistance program.

Christi was interim Executive Director at NARAL as well as Executive Director of the Seattle Children’s Museum. She was proud to lead the Museum through a tumultuous period and focused on actions that can be felt by BIPOC. Staff went from one person of color to 45% and she led the Museum through a series of changes that resulted in new exhibits that focus on culturally appropriate content in multiple languages and curated a new culture of diversity and inclusivity. These actions led to a marked increase in attendance and membership and put the Museum on a path to sustainability.

She co-founded Whites4BlackLives, a forum for helping white people understand black oppression, institutional racism, and white privilege and to spur them into using their personal and institutional powers for change.

Covid Rapid Response Director

Amy Robertson

Amy Robertson is the Volunteer Data and GIS mapping coordinator for the Digital Equity Program.  She spends her daytimes as a Research Professor in the Physics Department at Seattle Pacific University, working to reconceive physics as a more equitable and just space.  Amy’s orientation toward justice work is deeply shaped by her experiences as a chronically ill person.  She believes that rest and care are a birthright, and she is excited to collaborate with EEC to dismantle systems of oppression that normalize harm and center single ways of being.

In her free time, Amy enjoys connecting with her chosen family, crafting, and going for outdoor walks with her partner.  She is currently trying to convince said partner that they really need a dog.

Volunteer Data and GIS mapping coordinator