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.
LeAnne Jones Wiles, Vice Chair
LeAnne is the Executive Director of First-Year Programs & Strategic Initiatives for Student Academic Services at the University of Washington focusing specifically on successful transitions for high school and transfer students entering the institution. She has held positions at various public and private universities and served as a board member for the YMCA, for NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and as a volunteer at the non-profit Treehouse. LeAnne is interested in connecting her experience with those focusing on the K-12 landscape to further align efforts supporting first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students. She earned her BA in Sociology from Pacific Lutheran University and Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Delaware. She lives in Seattle with her partner, daughter, and foster son.
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.
Anastasia (Ana) Henderson received her B.A. in Sociology with a focus on wealth and poverty at Ohio University, where she gained a passion for work focused on equity and inclusion. Ana has spent time in rural Ecuador with the organization Manna Project International, working closely with the community to provide tutoring services as well as teaching English and lifestyle classes. Ana is currently working remotely as the director of fundraising and donor relations at the nonprofit Kids’ Chance of Kentucky. She was inspired by her education and experiences to pursue a Master’s of Public Administration that she is currently working towards at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Ana is continuing her work with Kids’ Chance as well as beginning an internship with United Way of King County.
Lana Huizar is a California native born to Mexican immigrants. She is a Mental Health Counselor at Highland Middle School in the Bellevue School District and a doctoral student at the University of Washington. Lana previously served as a Community Partner Fellow for Washington STEM. At Washington STEM, Lana’s efforts were nestled in cross-sector work, which helped guide systems change and improve student outcomes. Before joining the University of Washington, Lana spent four years as a United States Marine. Lana’s work and research focus on improving quality and access to education systems for historically disadvantaged communities. Lana is committed to advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, to create a more diverse workforce, especially in fields that provide family-sustaining wages.
She received her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from the University of Washington, and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Oregon. In her spare time, she enjoys playing strategy games, running, outdoor adventures, and spending time with loved ones. She is also a mom of a toddler.
After graduating from Emory University with her B.A. in Psychology, Calista (Cali) Jahn has worked for a number of nonprofits and state agencies primarily in Atlanta, GA. Here, she discovered her interest in communications and civic engagement – being driven by the power of information and engaging all people in public policy. She has led the strategy and production of multiple communications and marketing campaigns, including most recently the “Free Your Feels” children’s mental health campaign and the “Everyone Counts in Georgia” census campaign. Cali is currently studying for her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance while continuing to work from Georgia remotely, as well as for the Evans School Dean’s office.
Outside of work and school, you can find Cali trying not to trip hiking up PNW’s many mountains, playing soccer, and hunting for Seattle’s best ice cream and cheeseburger.