McERA Board

Multicultural Education Rights Alliance (McERA) is an organization and movement of the community to support teachers and education leaders as “community” teachers and education justice champions to successfully grow all of our children to fulfill their greatness. We are a network of committed multicultural, multigenerational Parent and Community Mentors from all walks of life. From the grassroots to the grasstops, McERA advocates for socially and racially just, quality public education.
  • Dawn Bennett

    Dawn Bennett:Co-founder Dawn Bennett has been an advocate for children and teens throughout her career. As a basketball player and coach, gang prevention specialist and caseworker for the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools, Dawn has worked to support those who might otherwise fall through the education gaps. During her work on political campaigns and as a community organizer, she co-founded the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance (McERA) in 2011 with Kerry Cooley-Stroum to eliminate the school to prison pipeline through education and action. Dawn continues to work with teens and is Board Chair of the African American Leadership Forum and Board member on the UW School of Social Work Communities in Action Initiative.

  • Kerry Cooley-Stroum

    Kerry Cooley-Stroum:Co-founder Kerry Cooley-Stroum spent 20 years as a music industry PR exec and learned of the impact education inequities had on many of her brilliant artists. She turned her attention to tutoring, education organizing and advocacy and political campaigning. Through a shared and determined vision for connecting the grassroots to the grasstops to support education justice, Dawn Bennett and Kerry launched McERA.  She’s co-founder of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition and serves on boards of the African American Leadership Forum, Garfield PTSA, Seattle Teacher Residency Program and Schools First.

  • Amber Banks Grubb

    Amber Banks GrubbAmber Banks Grubb:Co-founder Amber has worked as a teacher, researcher, and education advocate for the past 15 years and is a champion of education equity. She’s taught students from Kindergarten through high school, and has designed and implemented innovative inclusion programs, project-based curricula, and teacher professional development. She directed a parent leadership training initiative in Southeast Seattle and worked as a University of Washington research assistant focused on teacher education and school/community partnerships. Amber completed a Pahara Institute Fellowship and is currently a Practice Associate at the Education Trust-West. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University and is completing a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington.

  • Lorena Guillen

    Lorena Guillen is a doctoral candidate in teacher education at the University of Washington. Before returning to graduate studies, Lorena served for six years as an English teacher at John Muir High School in Pasadena, CA. She helped build cross-curricular, project-based units of instruction and was particularly invested in family engagement through the Puente project. She implemented a culturally responsive pedagogy specific to the Latin@ community in the surrounding greater Los Angeles area. Her research and teaching interests include partnerships between teacher education programs and the communities they serve, social justice teaching and policy, and the recruitment and retention of teachers of color.

  • Michael Bowman

    Michael is a doctoral candidate in the social and cultural foundations of education at the University of Washington, with a focus on the history of American education. Before returning to university, Michael spent seven years working alongside educators and families in community-based organizations (Project for Pride in Living [Minneapolis] and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle) and in South Seattle elementary schools (Wing Luke and Concord). He believes strongly in place-based, community-driven, and justice-oriented curriculum across all educational levels and in all educational settings.

  • Kate Napolitan

    Kate is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. Before coming to UW as a doctoral student, she was an elementary public school teacher in Southwest Seattle. She is a proud graduate of Southeast Seattle Public Schools and comes from a family of public school teachers. In fact, she frequently can be heard exclaiming, “I love teachers!” and understands the knowledge and support they need to succeed. Since 2010, she has worked with teacher candidates as a coach and instructor at the University of Washington. She does this work, simply, because she believes in families, students, communities, and teachers.

  • Tamora Schoeneberg

    Tamora is an avid traveler, web designer, and a public school teacher. After working her way around the world, she both earned a B.A. in Art, and began a career in web design at California State University, Monterey Bay. As she continued designing web sites for a variety of clients, her passion for every child receiving an excellent, equitable education, led to a Master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington. Continuing on to teach general and special education in the Seattle area, Tamora is currently involved in web design, and in educational equity, as webmaster for themcera.org, as well as teaching kindergarten and first grade.

  • Andrea Tompkins

    Andrea Tompkins joined the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance (McERA) team as an intern where she she has been following her passion to advocate for improved education systems, policies and student opportunities. She is focusing her Western Washington University undergrad education on specific matters such as racial disparities, poverty in society, and criminalization, with a minor in Education and Social Justice. Through her student experiences in Federal Way public schools, her WWU work with Bellingham youth through the Northwest Youth Services and her ongoing work with McERA, Andrea is recognizing the urgency to build community voice and action to address community need.

  • Ken Zeichner

    Ken Zeichner is the Boeing Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. He grew up in Philadelphia and attended Philadelphia public schools. He is a former elementary teacher and taught in Syracuse New York in a public community school. After working as a teacher educator in the National Teacher Corps and completing his PhD at Syracuse University, he spent 34 years on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Throughout his career, Ken has focused on the preparation of culturally and community responsive teachers for urban schools. He moved to Seattle in 2009 with his wife Andrea where 2 of their 3 sons and their families also live.