League of Education Voters C4
Board of Directors
Although we are not actively recruiting board members right now, you are welcome to submit an application for us to review in the future.
Ben Mitchell, Chair
Ben Mitchell is the Director of Advocacy and Policy for the Foundation for Tacoma Students where he supports the implementation of a recent investment in Tacoma by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role, Ben supports and works in partnership with the Foundation for Tacoma Students, Graduate Tacoma Partners, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to elevate the Graduate Tacoma community-wide movement in three areas: Community Partner Capacity and Capability; Data Capacity and Capability; and Postsecondary Access and Completion.
Prior to joining the Foundation for Tacoma Students team, Ben spent 4.5 years at Social Venture Partners (SVP) in Seattle where he managed their main grantmaking program and supported the work of providing capacity building and technical assistance to SVP’s grantees. Ben moved to the Northwest by way of Washington, DC where he worked in international development and spent a good chunk of time living and working overseas. His work took him to Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, and Moldova. To his great embarrassment, Ben has never been particularly good with any language other than English.
Ben grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has three younger siblings, all of whom work as educators. He lives in Seattle with his wife and a strange-looking but lovable dog. In his free time, he likes to go on runs and hikes, attempt to finish any one of the stack of books he’s started in the last year, and reluctantly peck away at DIY house projects.
Maria Zontine, Interim Treasurer
Maria Zontine has worked in higher education supporting academic programs for over 15 years. She is currently serving as the HR Director for the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. Maria earned both her BA in Marketing and Communications, and her Masters in Public Administration, from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. Growing up in rural Washington, Maria developed a unique educational perspective which creates a strong conviction towards equality in access to education for all.
Yelias is an Illinois native with a passion for affordable housing and community development. He started his career in community development at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco where he gained experience in single-family and multifamily affordable housing. After gaining finance experience at Sunrun, the nation’s leading residential solar provider, Yelias returned to community development finance at Union Bank. In 2017, Yelias moved with his wife to Seattle and joined the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing as a Project Manager before joining JPMorgan Chase’s Community Development Banking division. Yelias holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Cornell University and master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Accountancy from the University of Illinois and San Francisco State University, respectively. Yelias loves animals, and in his spare time enjoys live music, following his favorite sports teams, and traveling with friends and family.
After earning her Master in Teaching, Amy realized her deep passion for supporting students with unique learning needs and returned to school for an endorsement in special education. She has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary School in the Camas School District for 12 years. In her position as a teacher of students with significant disabilities, she collaborates with staff, parents, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student’s unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community.
Amy’s dedication to inclusive opportunities for all learners gained her recognition as the 2020 Washington state Teacher of the Year. In an effort to shift systems to provide more equitable opportunities for all learners, Amy is working to develop relationships with education partners. She is an active member of the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Student Learning Workgroup, contracts with the Washington Education Association and Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession to create professional learning experiences for educators, and is starting work developing courses at Clark College for future Special Education teachers. Amy serves on the board of directors for Micah’s Miles, a nonprofit focused on building community for individuals with disabilities.
Outside of work, Amy enjoys traveling, working out with friends, and watching movies with her husband, Ian.