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Washington Family Engagement takes immense pride in providing free youth and family programs that are inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of linguistic or cultural backgrounds.
Our leadership, advocacy and civic engagement programs teach youth and parents how to navigate the public school system, how to advocate for legislative policies that affect them and other families, and how to use their voice to make a difference. We also empower public schools and other state institutions and organizations to include youth and parent voices when designing programs and initiatives or proposing legislation that affects families.


Washington Family Engagement fosters social transformation by developing diverse multigenerational leaders and providing opportunities for the voices and experience of Washington adults and youth to be heard and included in systemic and organizational change.


We envision our state as a community where families of all backgrounds and walks of life have a voice in systems and policies directly affecting them and are seen as valued and primary contributors to positive change. We believe that empowering individuals of all ages and backgrounds with the tools and knowledge they need to exercise their voice, become effective leaders, and engaged citizens is key to equitable, positive outcomes.

Foundational Beliefs

Washington Family Engagement was founded on the following beliefs:











Founder and Executive Director​

Adie Simmons, M.Ed.

Adie Simmons, M.Ed. has dedicated her professional work to serving Washington’s children and families. She is the founder and Director of Washington Family Engagement (WAFE).
Prior to starting (WAFE) she was the founding Director of the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds, a Washington state agency focused on K-12th educational equity. In this capacity, she worked with school districts across the state for nearly a decade serving rural and urban students and their families. She has also been a school district administrator and is well-known as a Family Engagement in Education consultant. She is recognized for her expertise in the field of school, family, and community partnerships and for her ability to develop and implement effective programs and initiatives that improve the social and educational outcomes of disenfranchised children and families. She frequently speaks on behalf of families of color and advocates for a fair, equitable family focused systems at the state and national level. Adie Simmons has a Master’s degree in education from Western Washington University and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. She was inducted to the University of Washington’s School of Communications Hall of Fame in 2019.


Dr. Carmela Maxell-Runyan, PsyD, MA, LMHC

Dr. Carmela Maxell-Runyan, PsyD, MA, LMHC


WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate and
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor – Antioch University

Michelle Richardson​


WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate, Leadership Facilitator and Special Education Teacher – Edmonds School District

Margo Siegenthaler


WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate, Leadership Facilitator and Former Special Education Ombuds/Family Engagement Manager – Seattle Public Schools.

Linda Slater


WAFE Parent Leadership Curriculum Developer, Leadership Facilitator and Bilingual Curriculum Specialist – Cultivate Learning, University of Washington.

Jeanne Crevier

Board Member

WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate, Leadership Facilitator and DEI Chair – The League of Women Voters of Snohomish County.

Michelle Harris

Board Member

WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate and Leadership Facilitator.

Miriam Marez

Board Member

WAFE Parent Engagement Program Graduate and Leadership Facilitator.

Elizabeth Meza

Board Member

WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate and and former Northshore School District ELL Program Administrator.

Dr. Angela Notari Syverson

Board Member

Former Senior Curriculum Content Developer – University of Washington.

Iris Okimoto Nielsen

Board Member

CRRC Research Coordinator, University of Washington.

Michelle Steward

Board Member

WAFE Parent Leadership Program Graduate and Planner -The Tulalip Tribes of WA.

Tsege Tsegay​

Board Member

Case Manager and Refugee Family Advocate – Refugee Women’s Alliance retired.



Cathy Liu Scott

Partnerships Director

Vesla Tonnessen

Operations Director

Miriam Aguilar

Community Engagement Manager

April Eslami

Program Manager

Magdalena Martinez

Communications Manager

Linda Slater

Curriculum Specialist


Copyright © 2000-2024 Washington Family Engagement.

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Copyright © 2000-2024 Washington Family Engagement.