Our Staff

 

Jerrell Davis

Jerrell Davis

Co-Founder, Restorative Justice Director

Jerrell G. Davis is a proud product of the South End of Seattle. He passionately serves Rainier Beach and Seattle as a whole in community development, the arts and education at all levels.  Jerrell is the one of the cofounders of WA-BLOC, a member of Seattle Peoples Party, and also known as the budding hip-hop artist “Rell Be Free.” Jerrell has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Business Economics from Seattle Pacific University and has aspirations to radically transform Education.

Laura Wright

Laura Wright

Co-Founder, Operations and Finance Director

Laura is an educator, community organizer, and competitive amateur boxer, residing and working in the South End of Seattle.  She is a committed and passionate advocate for equity and racial justice, co-founding the first two Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools in Washington State and works to create spaces that magnify personal narratives, challenge societal injustices, and foster creative community engagement.  Laura has worked in the non-profit sector, specifically at Rainier Beach High School, for over a decade and is a founding member of Washington Building Leaders of Change (WA-BLOC). Laura has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Seattle Public University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University.  

Makaelah Smith

Makaelah Smith

Programming Manager

Makaelah was born and raised in the Seattle area. She is a Seattle University alumni, who studied English and minored in Sociology. She has been working with young people since she was fifteen and has mentored and cared for children from age 1-18! She has worked as a Servant Leader Educator with WA-BLOC for two summers and just completed her third summer as Site Coordinator. She recently began her current position as Programming Manager at WA-BLOC, working primarily at Rainier Beach. She is very passionate about writing, reading, modeling, and empowering young Black girls through her club at Beach called Black Girl Magic.

Julia Ismael

Julia Ismael

Restorative Justice Coordinator

Julia Ismael commits to equity in all aspects of her organizational work and does it with compassion. Julia also values opportunities for inter-generational learning and believes strongly in the agency and leadership of young people. She has nearly seven years of practice keeping peacemaking circles with an emphasis on race and equity issues. Julia also co-founded Africatown Center for Education and Innovation and recently served as Seattle Central College’s Student Involvement Coordinator where she supported students organizing. She holds an AA in Philosophy and a BA in Leadership and Organizational Studies and often presents at conferences about the ethics of care, the time it takes and its cost. And, she smiles a lot. 

James Williams

James Williams

Restorative Justice Coordinator

James Williams is a Father, Community Organizer, and Lifelong learner.  He moved to Washington State from New Orleans, LA in 2011.  James has spent much of his adult life as a labor organizer(helping people start unions) and as an educator(working with programs such as Youth Build and the International Baccalaureate program at RBHS). James currently serves as one of WA-BLOC’s Restorative Justice Coordinators at Rainier Beach High School.  He was introduced to Restorative Justice in 2013 by powerful young organizers from the No New Youth Jail movement.  James was intrigued and immediately wanted to learn more because he saw restorative practices as a better way to move forward and something that could replace the punitive school discipline system which wrecked the lives of many peers during his own school experience. James is honored to be part of the family WA-BLOC & RBHS family and a proud member of the Rainier Beach community.  Everyday, he is inspired by the people, history, creativity, and resilience that make Rainier Beach the rich and beautiful place it is today.

Keisha Kelley

Keisha Kelley

Homework Center Coordinator, Freedom Schools Servant Leader Educator

Keisha has been an educator with the Seattle Public Schools for 5 years. Born and raised in Seattle, Keisha has been working within her community faithfully. Keisha was a Servant Leader Educator with Freedom School’s WA-Bloc in the summer of 2018 and plans on continuing to be a part of their organization as she believes in their mission and everything they are accomplishing. Keisha is an aspiring poet and writer and will bring her passion and creativity along as she co-coordinates Rainier Beach’s after-school Homework Center.

Sierra Parsons

Sierra Parsons

Homework Center Coordinator

Sierra was raised in Tukwila and spent much of her youth running around the track at Rainier Beach High School running for the Rainier Beach Community Center’s track club before transitioning into competing for SeaTown Express, home to many track athletes from in and around the South End.  She is currently finishing her undergrad degree in Psychology at UW Seattle and plans to apply for law school this fall.  She believes our youth deserve to be uplifted and encouraged to learn and explore education authentically and unapologetically.  “WA-BLOC’s Summer Freedom Schools and the work we do year round provides space for our youth’s essential growth both inside and outside of the classroom and offers experiences that are seldom provided by the current institutions and systems in place.”

Hinkwei Tu

Hinkwei Tu

Operations Associate

Hinkwei Tu was born and raised in South Seattle. They are a recent graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Social Welfare and Diversity. They will be applying to Master’s programs for Social Welfare and Public Policy. They were a WA-BLOC CDF Freedom Schools Servant Leader Educator during the pilot program in South Shore. Hinkwei believes taking care of the Self and mindfulness is crucial to the outcomes of intentional work and ultimately – change. They love art and supporting local creators, so you might them at art walks, events, and showcases! 

Chelsea Gallegos

Chelsea Gallegos

Social Worker

Chelsea has been serving the Rainier Beach High School community since 2014 as the School Social Worker. Chelsea believes in young people and strives to be an unapologetic youth advocate in every space she enters. Chelsea’s mission is to help schools evolve into places of healing. She coaches both educators and scholars in trauma-informed and healing engagement strategies. Chelsea has been working to implement Restorative Justice at RBHS over the last several years, she believes that Peacemaking Circles are magical and have the power to transform both people and institutions in healing ways.

Our Freedom Schools summer Staff

 

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