Department of Racial Equity Advancement

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Department of Racial Equity Advancement Staff

These are the dynamic individuals that collectively make up DREA:

Manal Al-ansi, MAT, Esq. joined SPS as the Director of DREA in 2019. During the pandemic, Manal has taken on a dual role that includes serving as the Director of the Integrated Curriculum Department to help ensure Black Education and the Ethnic Studies Program has a stronger infrastructure for support and advocacy.

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, Manal has worked and strategized for anti-racist systems change and Black liberation movements from positions within her community and within government institutions for over a decade.

As a former SPS kid herself, she is excited to return as a professional and support the advancement of racial equity, anti-racism, and pro-Blackness in SPS.

Manal Al-ansi, Director

Nichole is responsible for supporting DREA programs, policies, and initiatives to build capacity and foster alignment of anti-racist actions and outcomes across SPS. She specifically supports the RET program in schools and the CORE teams at Central Office.

Nichole is passionate about advancing principles, polices, practices and goals that center the brilliance, assets and needs of black and brown students, staff and families, while actively dismantling the systems of oppression within our systems that act as barriers. She is constantly inspired by the incredible folks moving this work across SPS.

In her spare time, she also loves creative writing, exploring all of the incredible natural and cultural offerings the region has to provide, and chasing after her dog.

Nichole Coates, Program Manager

Jonathan joined DREA in the fall of 2021 and is responsible for coaching and collaborating with site-based Racial Equity Teams, leading culturally responsive professional development, and collaborating with district-level partners to disrupt institutional racism.

He is excited about working in SPS and DREA because he is positioned to work in collaboration with Racial Equity Teams to make permanent, impactful change for every one of our marginalized students and communities.

Jonathan Graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in History in 2009 and a master’s degree in education from Northeastern University in Boston in 2011. He has been working in various roles in education for over 15 years including 10 years as a classroom teacher. He spent the last 2 years as the Career Connected Learning Teacher and Co-Lead of the Race Equity Team Garfield High School.

He is disappointed to leave the classroom but excited to utilize his knowledge, experience, and dedication to help improve educational outcomes for all students. Jonathan loves animals and being active. He has a stubborn Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tempo and an arrogant kitty named Favie. He recently bought a paddleboard and is obsessed with getting on the sound!

Jonathan Rogers, Racial Equity Specialist

Vanessa Meraki supports school-based RETs to build capacity for leading racial equity work, undertake anti-racist systems change, and embed ethnic studies in every classroom.

A 15-year SPS special educator & reading specialist, she has taught preschool through college levels and is deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to encourage the unique genius within so many students.

After her younger son graduated from Franklin in 2020, Vanessa earned a master’s degree in policy studies with the goal of working at the systems level to achieve liberatory transformation of our schools and other social institutions. Her research focused on environmental justice, education for sustainability, and institutional change.

In the community, Vanessa is a student of dance and organic gardening, studies which have led her to explore the question: How can we undo white supremacy and heal intergenerational trauma by restoring our relationships to our own bodies, to rhythm (AKA time), and to the Earth? Vanessa is honored to join DREA and to have the opportunity to work with and learn from a team of committed, incisive, powerful change agents.

Vanessa Meraki, Racial Equity Specialist

Beatrice is currently working for Seattle Public Schools as a Racial Equity Specialist with a focus on schools in the North end.  She feels that growing up in Yakima Washington in the 60’s and 70’s has helped shape her Racial Equity Why.

She is an African American Woman that believes it is important to ground the equity work by examining mindset and facing biases. It begins when the community is included in the aspects of planning.  Advancing racial equity work will help achieve a place for community to flourish. It is not surface work, it is digging deep, uncovering personal truths and planting seeds of hope.

She believes and embraces what author Ijeoma Oluo said… “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”

Beatrice Butler, Racial Equity Specialist
hands of all colors reaching out to each other

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

– Dr. Lilla Watson, Aboriginal artist, activist, scholar