Seattle Public Schools

Mentorship Programs


Kingmakers of Seattle

Kingmakers of Seattle is an elective program for Black male middle school and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. Kingmakers supports the cultural, historical, social, and emotional needs of young Black boys and teens as it relates to their identity. The program is offered at six SPS schools: Aki Kurose, Asa Mercer, and Denny International Middle Schools, Interagency Academy, Franklin, and Cleveland High Schools.

Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) launched Kingmakers in 2017 to engage, empower, and encourage young Kings in a brotherhood-centered program.

Kingmakers is structured around KOO Curriculum, an African-centered syllabus that emphasizes studying Black history, increasing literacy, building self-esteem, and offering academic mentoring. Every year, facilitators participate in professional development to better teach and reach Black males.

The program directly supports the district’s strategic plan Seattle Excellence, which is laser focused on supporting Students of Color who are furthest away from educational justice, beginning with African American boys and teens, in three of its focus goals: culturally responsive instruction, welcoming and safe schools, and inclusive and authentic engagement.

Since its launch in 2017, Kingmakers has supported the brilliance and excellence of Black boys and teens. Well over 200 Black male SPS students participate in Kingmakers each school year. Our partners at DEEL consistently observe improved regular school attendance and passing of core courses among participating Kings.


Marcus Bradford, Aki Kurose Middle School

Marcus brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom. Marcus Bradford is not only an exceptional educator but also a mentor and role model who inspires a lifelong love of learning in all those fortunate enough to cross his path. He continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals and is a beloved figured among students, parents, and colleagues alike.

Donte Neil, Asa Mercer International Middle School

Donte’s goal is to create a space and culture where Black boys feel empowered to be their authentic selves. He wants to cultivate an environment where Black boys grow and thrive. He sees it as his aim to inspire them to become the leaders they’re destined to be.

Keenen Allen Ladd, Denny International Middle School

Keenen strives to inspire and uplift black and brown youth, encouraging them to embrace their unique identities and pursue their dreams fearlessly. Creating and indulging in spaces where youth can have a sense of self-worth, resilience, and empowerment, I aim to continue to be inspired by the brighter future for the next generation, where they can break barriers and achieve greatness.

Cyprus Richardson, Cleveland STEM High School

Cyprus sees himself as a servant of the beautiful community he lives in and a voice for Black people. Through his professional and educational experiences, his course work led him into social activism and ultimately learning to instruct equitable environments for learning. His class is structured to endow leadership and a love for self, culture, and brotherhood.

Charles Parker, Franklin High School

Kingmakers Facilitator, Charles Parker

Charles is committed to transforming the educational system by implementing culturally responsive teaching while meeting each king where they are. He calls for each king to raise the bar and be accountable for their education. He believes safe spaces for kings to be authentic and vulnerable will help them create and foster new ideas about their self-identity and what it means to be men in control of their own destiny.

Emery Walters, Interagency High School

Emery’s objective is to see all students become as successful as possible. He takes pride in engaging, encouraging, and empowering all students. By incorporating school, family, and community, he helps bring wrap around services needed to help children because he believes in their ability to learn despite any circumstances they’ve had in their lives. He believes that with the proper guidance and instruction, his students will flourish and be their most successful selves.  


Participating students take a rigorous Black studies course, receive individual care coordination services, and receive mentorship and leadership development. This Culturally Responsive Mentorship brief reviews the program design and the preliminary evaluation provides initial findings about student experiences from a partnership program evaluation. Mentorship Matters shares preliminary results from the Kingmakers of Seattle program evaluation.

Questions? Please contact William King, AAMA Program coordinator, at 206-561-8799 or