Karen Lobos is excited to give back to the community in which she grew up and to share the unique educational opportunities Rainier Prep has to offer with prospective families. As a Cohort II Alumna of Rainier Scholars, a First-Generation graduate of Scripps College, and daughter of Latino immigrants, Ms. Lobos understands first-hand the impact a supportive yet challenging academic community can have in the lives of students who face a number of barriers to achieving higher education. The most inspiring part of her job is working alongside families and teachers to support students in their academic journeys.
When not working, she likes spending time with family or in nature. She would like to learn more languages!
Karen attended Scripps College (BA) and the University of Washington (MPA).
Morgan Fernandez works at Rainier Prep to be a part of a different option for students and families that provides a supportive and rigorous learning environment based on our community’s needs. The most inspiring part of her job is seeing the small light bulbs of learning that take place each day for each student, and bearing witness to major growth in students over time here. When not working, she enjoys teaching her dog new tricks, cooking, and reading mystery novels.
She grew up in Portland, OR, although her favorite place that she’s lived is Cape Town, South Africa. She began her career teaching 3rd and 4th grade in DC, and then moved to Seattle as Rainier Prep’s founding 5th grade math teacher. She would like to learn how to speak Spanish to communicate with more families at school as well as with her husband’s family.
Morgan attended Colgate University (BA), Trinity University (MA), and Seattle University (SpEd endorsement).
Director of Finance and Operations
Kamille Dye works at Rainier Prep because "this school makes a difference in the lives of people in my community.” She is inspired by watching future generations find out how to claim their place as leaders in their communities through education. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends (usually around a good meal), spending time in her home state (Montana), and advocating for wider inclusion of all people in our communities and school systems.
Previously, she worked in early education, on political campaigns, and was a founding staff member at Rainier Prep (along with helping to start our drama program). She is continually trying to learn how to best help others reach their goals and claim their own pathways in life. Someday, she would love to learn to bake strawberry rhubarb pie and oatmeal raisin cookies as perfectly as her grandmother.
Kamille attended University of Montana (BA).
Gisela Mella works at Rainier Prep to give back to the community she grew up in. The most inspiring part of her job is helping parents, and eliminating language barriers so that parents can be part of their students’ education. When not working, she likes traveling, photography, hiking, and exploring Seattle.
She has traveled to Chile and Cuba for service trips, and she would like to learn how speak multiple languages.
Gisela attends Highline College, currently working on her degree in Business Administration.
Family Engagement Manager
Kowsar Hassan works at Rainier Prep because it's a school that holds every student to high expectations academically, and it prepares a diverse background of students for a path to higher education. “As a first-generation college student, I understand the barriers students face, and I’m excited to give back to my community.” The most inspiring part of her job is creating a collaborative environment between teachers, families, and students and eliminating language barriers so parents can be involved in all aspects of their children's education. When not working, she likes spending time with family, reading books, and exploring the outdoors with her sisters.
Previously, Kowsar interned for Communities in Schools as as case manager with students. She is starting to learn how to speak Arabic. She has lived in Kenya and migrated to this country 10 years ago.
Kowsar attended the University of Washington-Tacoma (BS).
6th Grade Math Teacher
Kaici Aloupis works at Rainier Prep because she believes in the power of youth as catalysts for change-making legacies. She is inspired by students, students, students! When not working, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors with her dogs and friends, completing jigsaw puzzles, and experimenting in the kitchen with plant-based recipes.
Previously, Kaici served with City Year Seattle/King County as a student success coach for high school math students. She would like to learn how to professionally chop vegetables to level-up her cooking game. Fun math fact: she has lived in 3/4 corners of the continental states: Maine, Florida, Washington.
Kaici attended the University of Miami (BS).
Nico Andrade works at Rainier Prep to help students have the same opportunities he did when he was younger that they otherwise might not have. The most inspiring part of his job is seeing the students grow and mature throughout their years here to become more confident in themselves and more passionate about their own education. When not working, he enjoys running on his own time as well as in races. He has run 3 marathons as of this year, with plans to run more!
He has recently visited Machu Picchu in Peru with plans to travel more in the future. Previously, he worked with Rainier Scholars as a Student Advisor. He would love to learn how to play the guitar.
Nico attended Union College (BS) and currently Seattle University (Ed.S.).
7th Grade Language Arts Teacher
Seth Armenta works at Rainier Prep because he values its emphasis on community building and outreach. It is important to him that students can feel like this is their home. “Rainier Prep is a place that encourages all of us to reach our highest potential beyond middle school, and I believe the only way we can do this is by starting with a feeling of belonging.” The most inspiring part of his job is meeting future leaders -- of our government, in health care, in education, and in their communities. When not working, and after having lived in Colorado his whole life, Seth loves to be outside in nature -- whether short day hikes with friends and family, or overnight backpacking trips in the woods.
Previously, Seth student-taught a semester of 9th and 10th grade at his home high school, Bear Creek High School. He would like to learn how to fly an airplane, alongside with perfecting his Spanish fluency. He has studied abroad in Seville, Spain for one semester but Portugal was his absolute favorite!
Seth attended Regis University (BA).
5th and 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Michael Augustine works at Rainier Prep because “I am dedicated to building relationships with our students and reaffirming the strengths and joy they have as middle schoolers.” Aside from joining pick-up basketball on occasion during recess, he is inspired by seeing students present in class or at school-wide community meetings. When not working, he enjoys cooking, hiking, drinking coffee, and writing.
Previously, Michael worked with young people in the context of writing tutoring, voter registration, and teaching English as a foreign language. He would like to learn to speak conversational Vietnamese. He spent a year after college living and teaching in Viet Nam's Mekong Delta, which allowed him to deeply explore the country and even get out and visit places like Laos, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Michael attended Whitman College (BA).
6th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Rachel Berner-Hays is excited to work at Rainier Prep “where we see value in our students and their communities and work to empower young leaders.” She is inspired when students take ownership of their education and are able to advocate for what they need and want. When not working, she enjoys cooking and eating yummy food with family and friends, as well as being on or near water.
Previously, Rachel served as an AmeriCorps College Coach with College Access Now for two years, working with 11th and 12th grade students at Nathan Hale High School. She would like to learn to speak and understand lots of languages!
Rachel attended Scripps College (BA).
Special Education Teacher
Elizabeth Erickson works at Rainier Prep because of the intentional ways that Rainier Prep builds relationships with students in order to propel student learning. She is inspired the most when students are able to take charge of their learning and become advocates for themselves and others. When not working, her favorite thing to do is spend time on the beach -- watching a sunset with a snack is the most relaxing and rejuvenating experience for her.
Previously, Elizabeth spent 10 years working for San Lorenzo School District in California, 7 years as a Resource Teacher, and 3 years as a Teacher on Special Assignment supporting new Special Education teachers. She would like to learn how to surf -- she has experienced it once but it would be fun to make it a hobby! She has lived in California for all of her life until just this year.
Elizabeth attended Ohlone Community College (AA), Cal State East Bay (BA), and The University of San Francisco (MA).
Learning Specialist + EL Content Lead
Dinorah Flores works at Rainier Prep to create sustainable change that will impact our communities in a positive way: “My core values align with the vision of Rainier Prep to prepare a path for students to access higher education and become leaders in their communities.” She is inspired getting to know the families that make up our school, since everyone brings something unique that adds to our community in enriching ways. When not working, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, daydreaming, exploring different parks in her neighborhood, and talking with people about interesting or funny topics.
She previously lived in Navajo, NM, where she taught an amazing group of 2nd grade kids. She has also done community advocacy work in South Seattle.
Dinorah attended University of Washington (BA) and the University of New Mexico for graduate coursework.
Physical Education Teacher
Joseph Froehlich works at Rainier Prep because of the good energy from both students and staff. The chance to support and teach in such a welcoming environment was one he could not pass up. He is inspired by seeing young students engaging and learning with each other, and watching them grow to understand that they have the abilities to succeed: “This is what inspires me to provide the best experience I can.” When not working, he enjoys exploring art.
Previously, Joseph has worked in youth development in both athletic and educational settings for over a decade. He has always wanted to learn how to backflip like Nani. He has spent time in his home country of Paraguay, and plans to return as soon as possible.
Joseph attended Beloit College (BS).
5th Grade Math Teacher
Renn Gutierrez chooses to work at Rainier Prep because he believes that we are changing outcomes for students in south King County: “Our students are expected to work hard, and the rigor that we set is pretty challenging for a lot of students to meet. However, because of the way we hold kids accountable, they are consistently encouraged to rise to high standards.” The most inspiring part of his job is having students start the year not enjoying math, and ending the year excited to learn more about math in 6th grade.
Previously, he served with City Year Seattle/King County as an AmeriCorps member and as a Program Manager. His number one goal in life is to beat Indika Ekanayake at ping pong.
Renn attended UCLA (BA) and UW (MIT).
8th Grade Science Teacher
Bashar Haidar works at Rainier Prep because “this is a unique school with an inspiring mission that resonates with me as an educator. It harnesses the power of education to transform individual lives and communities.” He is inspired by the students' ability to adapt to new surroundings, and to see them grow and develop strong opinions of their own about the society that surrounds them. When not working, he enjoys hiking, reading on his balcony, and mountain biking.
Previously, Bashar was working with students from all over the world with a focus on conflict resolution, peacemaking, and sustainability. He grew up in Lebanon, and lived in Armenia for two years before moving to Washington. He loves traveling, regularly visits Tbilisi and Istanbul, and he would like to learn glassblowing.
Bashar attended United World College Dilijan and Whitman College (BA).
7th Grade Science Teacher
Stacy Harbour works at Rainier Prep because Rainier Prep feels like family: present, supportive, and with the highest of expectations for its students, families, and staff. “It's like tough love: challenging, and good for you, too.” She is inspired by those moments when we connect; whether it's over a common interest, understanding of a new topic, or mastery of a new skill, and seeing the joy that comes with these "light bulbs" is pretty great. When not working, she is roller skating!
Previously, Stacy worked at The Museum of Flight in curriculum development in STEAM topics for middle + high school youth. She has worked in education for just about 20 years now. She would like to learn to speak another language fluently. Stacy was born in Arizona, and has lived in both the desert and the mountains. “Appreciate it all,” but she will always choose to live near water.
Stacy attended the University of Washington (BA) and the University of Colorado-Boulder (MA).
Student Support Specialist
Vanessa Harvey works at Rainier Prep because of the impact and resources the school has provided to the community and students. “Rainier Prep believes in their students' potential, and gives them the space for holistic development and to foster meaningful relationships.” She is inspired by the smiles and joy her students experience as they conquer, understand, and apply the challenging coursework they encounter -- as well as building relationships with her students as their cheerleader, catalyst and connector. When not working, she enjoys hanging out with her pets Tyger and Squid, hanging out on the beach, taking art classes, and baking lots of desserts!
Previously, Vanessa worked as philanthropy chair for her sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma) to raise money for non-profits like Reading is Fundamental, Ryan House, and Broadview Shelter. She would like to learn how to fly a plane! She has lived in Arizona most her life, and studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for a summer.
Vanessa attended Arizona State University (BA, BS) and is currently attending the UACT program at University of Washington.
Director of Development
Scott Hicke works at Rainier Prep because he enjoys starting new initiatives and collaborating with smart, dedicated change-agents for meaningful social justice. He is inspired by how the staff, students, and families have created a community school where the emphasis on building students’ confident, powerful voices is so strong. When not working, he loves hiking and exploring mountains, listening to KEXP, and following through on book recommendations.
Previously, he has taught neuroscience, evolution, and aerospace science in DC and Seattle, and he has also worked as a musician, ghostwriter, and curriculum developer when not traveling. He would like to learn how to fly a plane and skydive.
Scott attended Saint Joseph's University (BS), Duke University (MTS), and Fordham University (MA).
6th Grade Science Teacher
Vanessa Howard works at Rainier Prep because “I want to be part of a team that is committed to building genuine relationships and bringing exciting STEM opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds.” She is inspired by watching students grow through challenging and complex areas of learning. When not working, she enjoys listening to music, jumping rope, and making treats with her daughter.
Previously, Vanessa conducted and presented engineering lab research, participated in STEM outreach, and worked in an engineering charter school in Boise, ID. She would like to learn how to speak another language and play the piano. She grew up in Idaho, lived in both Oklahoma and Kansas, and recently settled in the great state of Washington.
Vanessa attended the University of Oklahoma (BS) and Boise State University (3 years of coursework in Biomedical Engineering), and currently attends the University of Washington (MiT).
Student Support Specialist
Andrea Hurtado works at Rainier Prep because of the strong sense of community and the dedication to providing all students with equal access to opportunity. “There is a collective passion for fostering a space where students can learn and grow to be self-advocates and leaders in our society.” She is inspired by being able to walk alongside students as they grow and develop into their most authentic selves. When not working, she enjoys hiking, photography, painting, and spontaneous adventures!
Previously, Andrea worked as a caregiver for adults in an assisted living facility and spent the last two years as a special education teacher in San Antonio, TX. She has taken one sign language course and would love to continue her learning. She was born and raised in Pasadena, lived in Spokane for 4 years, lived and worked in San Antonio for 2 years, and travels to Guadalajara, MX every Christmas to visit family.
Andrea attended Gonzaga University (BS).
Food Service Coordinator
Maria Juarez works at Rainier Prep because she likes the cultural diversity and the great opportunity that is offered to each student. She is inspired by how each student receives adequate food, and that they feel happy when taking their food. Maria coordinates parents and volunteers to help with food prep, service, and clean-up, bringing even more attention and joy to the students' time away from their academic classes. When not working, she loves spending time with her family (including one of our alums from the Class of 2019), especially walking, playing cards, or going shopping.
Previously, Maria worked in restaurant service. She would like to learn to play the guitar and the piano.
5th Grade Language Arts Teacher
Lynnie Kehoe works at Rainier Prep because of the value of rigor and high academic standards: “Teaching at Rainier Prep also allows me to create my own curriculum to meet the unique needs of my students, and to practice teaching methods that I believe are best for young learners.” She is inspired whenever her students are engaged in a thoughtful, lively discussion, and witnessing their thought processes in real time. She found her passion for teaching reading, writing, and children's literature when she managed a reading tutoring center for elementary students.
When not working, she likes reading, watching TV, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with her dog, cat, friends, and family. She is originally from New York State, and has driven coast to coast a total of five times! Someday, she would like to visit all 50 states, and is about halfway there.
Lynnie attended Allegheny College (BS) and University of Pennsylvania (M.S.Ed.).
School Social Worker
Shauna Larson works at Rainier Prep so that she can be part of a closely-knit, community-based option to traditional public education. “The most inspiring part of being at Rainier Prep is the trust and teamwork developed between the school, families, and students, and being able to support all learners as they achieve their social and scholarly goals.” When not working, she likes going to movies, spending time with family, and watching Seattle sports teams.
Previously, Ms. Larson worked in the office of Diversity and Community and in Global Programs at a local independent school. Ms. Larson is thrilled to be part of the dynamic learning community at Rainier Prep!
Shauna attended Scripps College (BA) and the University of Washington (MSW).
6th Grade Language Arts Teacher
John Masla works at Rainier Prep because “I am able to constantly learn, work with people I respect to solve problems and overcome challenges, and be part of a caring community.” Seeing students put in hard work that leads to incredible growth, both personally and academically, is the most inspiring part of his job. When not working, he likes reading, playing basketball, and cooking.
He previously lived in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo, and in Rome, Italy. He was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Grant in Malaysia.
John attended Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (M.Ed.).
English Language Coordinator
Heather McKey works at Rainier Prep because “I want to work at a school with a strong mission that ties to social justice.” The most inspiring part of her job is that the teachers she supports are fantastic educators. When not working, she enjoys time with her children exploring local parks, rivers, beaches, and mountains.
She previously lived in VeraCruz, Mexico on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. Heather taught middle school English in Prague, Czech Republic, as well as English Language Learners in public and private schools in the Seattle area and in several foreign countries.
Heather attended Princeton University (BA).
Dean of College Success
Shannon Smith Moe loves working at Rainier Prep because “I collaborate daily with a community of talented educators in our shared goal of improving our craft and offering the best education possible to our students. Our flexibility as a small charter school allows us to work closely with families to quickly adapt to the ever-changing strengths and needs of our students.” The most inspiring part of her job is watching our students develop a strong sense of agency and seeing the meaningful leadership roles they take on in their community and high schools.
When not working, she likes traveling, relaxing, or exploring the outdoors with her young son and husband. Before joining Rainier Prep, Shannon served 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, South America and 6 years teaching Biology and AVID at Federal Way High School. She would like to learn how to play the violin!
Shannon attended University of Washington (BS, BA) and Harvard (M.Ed.).
Khoa Nguyen works at Rainier Prep because it feels like a big family here where the staff members work closely together to undertake a shared mission: breaking through social barriers to provide equal opportunity for kids from different economic and cultural backgrounds. He is inspired by getting to be there for students in the early stage of their journey to success. When not working, he enjoys producing music, exploring new cities, cooking, and spending time with family and friends..
Previously, Khoa has worked on numerous industrial projects with various companies and organizations including Microsoft, Fresh Consulting, Whitman County Humane Society, and Buzzi. He would like to learn sign language. Khoa grew up in Vietnam, came to the US in 2010, and has lived in Seattle since then.
Khoa attended Washington State University (BSME).
8th Grade Language Arts Teacher + ELA Content Lead
Shakari Ogletree works at Rainier Prep because “Rainier Prep believes that even as a middle school, students should be preparing and thinking about college. For this reason, I immediately knew Rainier Prep was the perfect fit for me!” The most inspiring part of her job is witnessing the growth and changes that students make over the course of a school year.
In addition to her love for English, Shakari has also taught middle school science. When not working, she likes watching Netflix and trying different restaurants. She would like to learn how to start a garden at home.
Shakari attended Bowling Green State University (BS, M.Ed.).
Dean of Humanities
Allison Robbins works at Rainier Prep because of our commitment to meeting the needs of each individual student and family, and the collaborative spirit in pursuit of educational equity and opportunity. The most inspiring part of her job is the mindfulness, drive, and enthusiasm of our students and families. When not working, she likes running, trying out new restaurants, time with friends and family, and watching old movies.
She has lived in Brooklyn, NY; Charlotte, NC; Los Angeles, CA; and Park City, UT. Previously, she taught Social Studies and English-Language Arts at the middle school level in Charlotte and Brooklyn. She would like to learn how to fold a fitted sheet properly.
Allison attended University of Southern California (BA) and the Relay Graduate School of Education (MA).
7th Grade Math Teacher
Xochi Suarez works at Rainier Prep because of its community-driven mission that truly finds a way to empower students, while simultaneously providing them with skills that can further their own careers as they navigate life. The most inspiring part of her job is the ability to get to know so many people and really feel connected with both students and families. When not working, she enjoys being in her hammock, hiking, concerts, painting, and reading in her free time! She also loves sharing good food with people that she loves.
Previously, Xochi mentored students in the South King County area through the University of Washington Dream Project, which furthered her understanding of what educational equity can look like and the need for greater resources for our students in preparing them for their futures. She would like to learn how to speak French, and to be a better cook so that she stops eating so many bagels. Xochi has lived in the Seattle area her whole life and grew up in Kent.
Xochi attended the University of Washington (BS).
5th Grade Science Teacher
Stacey Tiffany-Diaz works at Rainier Prep because she is impressed by Rainier Prep's commitment to social justice and equity. She is inspired by seeing students grow and deepen their understanding of the world. When not working, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and anything outdoors.
Stacey has been a middle school teacher for 16 years in California before returning home and joining Rainier Prep. She would love to learn to hang glide, paraglide, or surf -- and has always been fascinated by these activities. She has lived in San Francisco (a beautiful city) and really enjoyed visiting Washington, DC (also amazing and full of history!).
Stacey attended San Francisco State University (BA, MA).
Physical Education Teacher
Sarah Wheeler works at Rainier Prep because she loves the educational culture here. The most inspiring part of her job is working with students, families, and staff. When not working she loves traveling, getting outdoors, playing tennis, reading, and hanging out with friends.
Before working at Rainier Prep, Sarah was an Education Coordinator and Instructor at a non-profit organization in Seattle. She has also coached soccer, skateboarding, and sailing. "Being outdoors and being active brings me joy. Learning and practicing new skills alongside others is one of the many reasons I love my job so much."
Sarah attended Cuesta College (AS), the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA), and the University of Washington, Seattle (MIT).
Dean of STEM
Tim Tran is excited to move back to the Pacific Northwest where he grew up to work at Rainier Prep. He is a proud Vietnamese American and loved growing up with his huge Vietnamese family, including over 30 cousins. Tim loves working with students and helping them grow and experience success. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and traveling to new places.
Previously, Tim spent the last 10 years as a secondary math instructor and Dean of Students at YES Prep Southwest in Houston, Texas. He would like to learn to be fluent in more languages. He was born in Texas, was raised in Seattle, moved back to Texas after college, and is now returning to his Seattle roots.
Tim attended University of Washington-Seattle (BA) and Rice University (MBA).
Student Support Specialist
Tina Trinh works at Rainier Prep because of the strong vision for educational equity as a means of liberation. They are inspired by working in mission-aligned partnerships to support our student leaders in learning the skills to enact the change they want to see in their communities. When not working, she is coddling her cats, playing Nancy Drew or Tetris, and trying new recipes from TikTok.
While in high school, Tina began mentoring and tutoring future first-generation college students with college readiness in mind, and then they carried this work into college, where they worked with the Dream Project, Mentor Power for Success, and the Together Program. She would like to learn how to keep her plants alive. They are a proud Washingtonian -- born and raised in Bellingham and moved far enough away that they could move out (but still see family) for college in Seattle.
Tina attended the University of Washington-Seattle (BS).
8th Grade Science Teacher / Student Support
Annika van Leynseele works at Rainier Prep because it is a school where students and families are valued as individuals with valuable skills, knowledge, and expertise. She wholeheartedly shares Rainier Prep's values of academic excellence, collaboration, and curiosity, and feels honored to be a part of this community. She is inspired by her students, and cherishes the relationships with her students individually and as a community. “I learn so much from my students every day. Their energy and authenticity keeps me showing up!” When not working, she enjoys cooking for her partner, friends, and family, and snuggling with her very large, very fluffy orange cat, Franklin.
Previously, Annika completed a six-month culinary program and worked as a cook at a restaurant in Napa, CA. In 2018, she moved home to Seattle and worked for a local nonprofit teaching cooking and nutrition classes for folks living on a limited income. This job is where she fell in love with teaching!
Annika attended Santa Clara University (BS) and the University of Washington (MA).
8th Grade Math Teacher + Math Content Lead
Nora White works at Rainier Prep because growth made in middle school can have a huge impact on outcomes. In her previous work with high school students, she saw students build their success on a strong foundation from middle school. She is constantly inspired by the dedication of both students and staff to the ability to grow and improve: “Just because something isn't working for you one day, it won’t be that way forever. Just because you're doing something well, does not mean you can't make it better. I love working at a place where everyone is seeking to improve themselves.”
She previously spent a semester studying mathematics while living in Budapest, Hungary. As an AmeriCorps Member, she worked with students at Como Park Senior High in St. Paul, MN on college and scholarship applications.
Nora attended Carleton College (BA) and the University of Washington (M.Ed.).
Anna Casey works at Rainier Prep because teachers, administrators, and all staff embody the persona of the “warm demander,” an adult who develops strong relationships with each student while holding them to high expectations. The most inspiring part of her job is seeing student growth and celebrating with students and families as they meet their goals. When not working, she enjoys reading, walking around Green Lake, and playing video games.
She grew up on the foggy coast of California, in a little town with the world’s only Taco Bell that’s right on the beach. Previously, she was a Licensed Nuclear Reactor Operator. She would like to learn enough Spanish to present assessment results to Spanish-speaking parents.
Anna attended Reed College (BA) and UC Berkeley (PhD).