Directors of Schools

Seattle Public Schools Directors of Schools

School leadership matters and is second only to teaching in its school-related impact on student learning. The role of directors of schools is critical in developing and supporting principals, with a focus on high-quality instruction and instructional leadership. The directors of schools are essential in providing direct support of principals to improve their instructional leadership skills and practices in order to impact the quality of teaching and ultimately impact student learning.

Executive Director of Schools Pk-12 Dr. Mike Starosky

Director of School Based Operations Sara Mirabueno

Directors of Schools

  • Elementary and PreK-8: Dr. Mike McCarthy, Dr. James Mercer, Mr. Anthony Ruby, and Mr. Tim Moynihan
  • Middle and High Schools: Mr. Jon Halfaker, Dr. Laura Davis-Brown, and Mr. Chris Carter

Director of School Based Operations

Sara Mirabueno

Sara Mirabueno
Sara Mirabueno

Sara Mirabueno serves as the director of school based operations supporting our schools and central office around streamlining our operations to ensure equitable outcomes for all of our students.

Prior to her role as director of school based operations, Ms. Mirabueno was an elementary school principal, assistant principal and a teacher. She holds a master’s in Education Administration as well as her superintendent credentials from Seattle Pacific University. In addition to working for Seattle Public Schools, Ms. Mirabueno also serves as an adjunct professor for the education department at Seattle Pacific University. Sara is a lifelong learner and is passionate about being a part of a school district that puts systems in place to ensure that every child has an equal chance for success.

Executive Director of Schools Pk-12

Mike Starosky

Mike Starosky
Mike Starosky

Dr. Mike Starosky believes leadership matters-specifically school leadership matters to the success and support of high-quality teaching and learning. Dr. Starosky is the executive director of schools, PK-12 who leads the learning, support, and supervision of the director of schools and principal leadership coaches.

Dr. Starosky has committed his professional life to closing opportunity gaps by creating the conditions for adults to provide high quality teaching to each and every student. Dr. Starosky leads with the belief that Seattle’s children, families, and communities are worthy of exceptional teaching and focuses his leadership and those whom he leads, to improving the conditions of adult learning to focus instructional leadership of school leaders.

Dr. Starosky founded and leads, Seattle Public Schools’ leadership development and support program, Lead Up, which recruits, selects, and retains school leaders. Under Dr. Starosky’s leadership the last five years, the Lead Up department has hired nearly 50% Leaders of Color.

Dr. Starosky was honored in 2015 with the University of Washington’s College of Education Professional Mentor Award for his outstanding leadership in mentoring and coaching of students at the University of Washington. Additionally, he has been a presenter at number national professional leadership conferences.

Dr. Starosky earned a doctorate in school leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington and is a career middle school teacher and administrator. He is a proud graduate of Seattle Public Schools having attended Whittier Elementary, Whitman Jr. High, and Ballard High School. In 1994 he began his career in SPS as a middle school teacher at Mercer Middle School, then assistant principal and principal of Whitman Middle School, and principal leadership coach. A lifelong athlete and sports fan, Dr. Starosky has refused to watch a professional basketball game again until the NBA restores and returns to Seattle its storied, beloved franchise.

Directors of Schools

Chris Carter
Chris Carter

Chris Carter
Director of Schools

Middle Schools

  • Denny
  • Madison

High School

  • The Center School
  • Interagency
  • Middle College
  • Nova
  • Chief Sealth
  • Seattle World School
  • Alan T. Sugiyama at South Lake
  • West Seattle

Chris Carter is returning to SPS from his most recent experience serving as a learning improvement officer in Federal Way Public Schools. In this role, Mr. Carter supervised principals (K-12) and supported their leadership in their schools, meeting both school and district goals.

Previously, Chris worked in Seattle Public Schools for over 10 years with experience as a principal and middle school teacher. Mr. Carter is excited to return to SPS to both lead and partner in our work toward ensuring positive outcomes for all students.

Dr. Laura Davis-Brown

Laura Davis Brown poses for a photo
Laura Davis-Brown

Director of Schools

Middle Schools

  • Aki Kurose
  • Mercer
  • Meany
  • Washington

High School

  • Cleveland
  • Franklin
  • Garfield
  • Rainier Beach
  • Skills Center

Dr. Laura Davis Brown has served in education for over 30 years in various roles in leadership. She has most currently served in the role as the Principal at Alan T. Sugiyama High School at South Lake. “As a leader in the SPS schools, I am committed to creating a learning environment where all children are able to strive toward reaching their potential,” said Dr. Brown.

Jon Halfaker
Jon Halfaker

Jon Halfaker
Director of Schools

Middle Schools

  • Jane Addams
  • Robert Eagle Staff
  • Eckstein
  • Hamilton
  • McClure
  • Whitman

High Schools

  • Ballard
  • Ingraham
  • Nathan Hale
  • Lincoln
  • Roosevelt

Jon Halfaker has served the students and families of Seattle Public Schools since 1994. He is currently serving in his fourth year as a Director of Schools P-12/Secondary. The five years prior to this, he served as an Executive Director of Schools. Mr. Halfaker also served as the principal of Washington Middle School for eight years, assistant principal of Meany Middle School, house administrator at Eckstein Middle School, STAR Mentor, and as a U.S. history teacher and head soccer coach at Washington Middle School for eight years.

As a member of Directors of Schools P-12, he supports and evaluates principals’ instructional leadership in order to increase student achievement, increase racial equity, and eliminate opportunity gaps. This includes using data to monitor school progress, coordinating professional development, one-on-one coaching, principal evaluations, and conducting frequent learning walks through school buildings to ensure quality instruction.

Mr. Halfaker earned a BA in history at the University of Washington, a Masters Degree at Antioch University, and his administrative certification with Heritage University. He and his wife are also the proud parents of two graduates of Seattle Public Schools. He is also a PSIA Level 1 Alpine ski instructor helping the young and the young at heart discover the fun and joy of sliding in the Northwest.

Michael McCarthy smiles for a photo
Mike McCarthy

Dr. Mike McCarthy
Director of Schools


  • Alki
  • Arbor Heights
  • Cedar Park
  • Decatur
  • Fairmount Park
  • Genesee Hill
  • Lafayette
  • Maple
  • McGilvra
  • Montlake
  • Olympic View
  • Sand Point
  • Stevens
  • Thornton Creek
  • View Ridge
  • Wedgwood


  • Cascade Parent Partnership K-8/VOPP 6-12

Dr. Mike McCarthy joined Seattle Public Schools in the Fall of 2021 as a Director of Schools supporting K-8 schools and leaders. 

He believes that schools have historically been places of sorting and marginalization but that their most powerful purpose is in creating healthy and thriving collective communities through rich, real and relevant teaching and learning.   

Dr. McCarthy earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho and taught English and math at the middle and high school level in the Kent School District. As an elementary and middle school principal in the Kent and Federal Way School districts, Dr. McCarthy collaboratively worked to eliminate racial disparities by focusing his teams on being curious about teaching and learning.   

Most recently, Dr. McCarthy led instructional improvement efforts with the Everett Public School system as the Director of Mathematics, P-12.  In this role, Dr. McCarthy’s team worked with families, community partners, system leaders and teachers to create and implement a vision for high quality mathematics instruction that dismantled inequitable practices and focused on centering joy and confidence in learning from the early grades through high school.  

In addition to Dr. McCarthy’s school leadership, he has also served as a member of the US Army since 1998.  Following two deployments to Iraq in 2004 and 2008 as an infantry team leader and officer, he now serves as a lead instructor for the US Army Reserves’ Command and General Staff Officer Course teaching strategic and operational policy and leadership to field-grade officers from across the United States Army. 

Dr. McCarthy is a Seattle resident and has five amazing children who he loves to cheer on in sport, theater and in the classroom.  Annual ski trips to Whitefish Montana with his children, camping in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, playing in an adult wood-bat men’s baseball league, and the soon-to-be World Champion Seattle Mariners are some of his favorite things. 

James Mercer
James Mercer

Dr. James Mercer
Director of Schools


  • Adams
  • B.F. Day
  • Cascadia
  • Daniel Bagley
  • Frantz Coe
  • Green Lake
  • Greenwood
  • John Hay
  • John Stanford
  • Lawton
  • Loyal Heights
  • Magnolia
  • McDonald
  • North Beach
  • Queen Anne
  • Viewlands
  • West Woodland
  • Whittier


  • Salmon Bay K-8
  • Catharine Blaine K-8

James Mercer is a champion for children. He brings over 21 years of experience working with children from underserved communities into his role as director of schools. He has worked as an educator in four very different states with drastically different standards for students, teachers, and leaders. These differences proved to be the catalyst that encouraged him to enter the path of education leadership. Mr. Mercer has served as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, middle school assistant principal, middle school principal, and central office administrator. Additionally, he is a skilled facilitator that has worked with hundreds of administrators across the nation to improve their instructional leadership practices.

Mr. Mercer earned his Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree in elementary and early childhood education from the University of Toledo. He earned his Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in educational leadership from Georgia State University. Most recently, he earned his Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) degree from Harvard University.

Tim Moynihan
Tim Moynihan

Tim Moynihan
Director of Schools


  • Concord
  • Beacon Hill
  • Dearborn Park
  • Dunlap
  • Gatewood
  • Graham Hill
  • Hawthorne
  • Highland Park
  • Rainier View
  • Roxhill
  • Northgate
  • Sanislo
  • West Seattle
  • Wing Luke


  • Boren STEM K-8
  • Broadview-Thomson K-8

Tim Moynihan has a long commitment to serving Seattle students and families.

After teaching high school English in Edmonds, Wash., Mr. Moynihan joined Seattle Public Schools in 1999 as a head teacher at Gatewood Elementary School. During his tenure in Seattle, he served in a variety of leadership roles including assistant principal at Gatewood Elementary, and as principal at Olympic View and Adams Elementary Schools. Additionally, he had the opportunity to serve as the lower school principal at the International School of Belgrade, and at the Inter-Community School Zurich, experiences which allowed him to work and learn alongside educators from around the globe.

Most recently Mr. Moynihan served Seattle school leaders in the role of principal leadership coach. In that role, he helped mentor numerous novice principals and provided leadership coaching and professional development for both school and central office leadership. He is dedicated to supporting the instructional expertise of our school leaders in their work to ensure that every student has access to the educational opportunities they need to thrive.

Tim earned his BA in finance at Boston College, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and his principal certification from City University. Tim and his wife have two daughters who graduated from Seattle Public Schools.

Anthony Ruby
Anthony Ruby

Anthony Ruby
Director of Schools


  • Bryant
  • Emerson
  • Bailey Gatzert
  • Kimball
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Laurelhurst
  • Leschi
  • Lowell
  • Madrona
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • John Muir
  • Olympic Hills
  • Rising Star
  • John Rogers
  • Sacajawea


  • Licton Springs K-8
  • Orca K-8
  • Pathfinder K-8
  • TOPS K-8
  • Hazel Wolf K-8
  • South Shore PreK-8

Anthony Ruby joined Seattle Public Schools in 2019 from St. Louis Public Schools, where he served as a network superintendent (principal supervisor) and director of curriculum support. In St. Louis Public Schools, Mr. Ruby helped implement district-wide standardized summative and formative assessments directly connected to standards. Prior to his work in St. Louis as a principal supervisor he serves as a principal, resident principal and teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. He is a data-driven, results focused leader who believes in supporting leadership through differentiated supports to drive student outcomes.

As a member of Directors of Schools P-12 team, Mr. Ruby supports and evaluates principals’ instructional leadership in order to increase student achievement, increase racial equity, and eliminate opportunity gaps. This includes using data to monitor school progress, coordinating professional development, one-on-one coaching, principal evaluations, and conducting frequent learning walks through school buildings to ensure quality instruction.

Mr. Ruby earned his Bachelor of Arts in history and geography with honors from the University of Missouri. He earned his Master of Arts in teaching at Johns Hopkins University and is pursuing his Doctor of Education in educational leadership and administration from NOVA Southeastern University, Fischler School of Education. He is the proud parent of three current Seattle Public School students. Tony enjoys all aspects of being outside including camping, hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest with his family.