Seattle Public Schools

Alliance for Education Awards SPS Educators

Summary: Nova, Rising Star Principals Named Foster Award Winners.

Alliance for Education Awards More than $75K to SPS principals, educators 

The Alliance for Education, the local education fund for the Seattle Public School district, awarded two principals the 2024 Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence, each receiving a $25,000 grant for their schools. This year’s recipients are Principal Eyva Winet at Nova High School and Rising Star Elementary Principal Huyen Lam.  

Principal smiles at camera.

The Foster Award recognizes and honors two outstanding Seattle Public Schools principals who have demonstrated success in advancing educational justice and racial equity in their school community.  

“We are proud to celebrate Principal Lam’s and Principal Winet’s outstanding contributions to their school communities. These two exemplify dedication and positive leadership, and the tremendous impact they have made on their school communities is evident,” Superintendent Jones said. “They are creating the conditions for all students to thrive and setting the standard for excellence in education.”   

NOVA Principal smiles at camera.

Rising Star PTA members shared during the nomination process how Principal Lam has focused on making school a place where students and families feel a sense of belonging because of the intentional hiring of a diverse team of educators and that their culture and language is reflected in academics.  

“Coming from a family of immigrants and many siblings, I know the hard work of equity and justice can’t be done alone. To me, this award really shows that our Rising Star team comes together with teacher efficacy as we work on behalf of families and students,” said Principal Lam. “I’m excited to see the results reflected in our students’ data that support the joy they experience in learning, the ways families engage with us, and how our staff work hard together as a team. This award means a lot to our Rising Star community and will really make an impact on our students.”  

An outpour of nominations from students, staff and parents highlighted how Principal Winet maximizes resources and uses innovative methods to meet students where they are. Students also noted how Winet is a positive role model and advocate for advancing LGBTQIA+ and gender justice causes, creating a school environment where over 97% of students attend 90% or more of school days. 

Group photo of principal's family during Foster Award Recognition.

“Our dedication to liberatory education is authentic and grown from our whole community’s evolving inquiry into education as a container for our mutual liberation, Principal Winet said. “It shouldn’t be, but it often feels like an audacious dream in public schools, so this honor reminds us we are not alone in this vision.  

Winet said that being recognized and funded for this work enables the school to continue to replace carceral practices with transformative practices. 

Foster awardees were selected based on colleague and community nominations alongside demonstrating growth in school building level data metrics like equity and antiracism school climate surveys, district college and career readiness goals, and standardized test proficiency in math and English language arts. 

NOVA Principal makes speech to crowd.

In its 25th year, the endowed award commemorates Thomas B. Foster, a prominent Seattle attorney who displayed a strong personal commitment to public education. The award is unrestricted, giving school staff additional funding outside of a traditional school budget to best serve their students’ needs. 

The Alliance for Education is an independent, local education fund that has worked in partnership with Seattle Public Schools since 1995 to address crucial challenges facing Seattle students, families and educators. Their mission is to support excellence in education by advancing educational justice and racial equity for students in SPS. 

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award 

The Philip B. Swain Excellence in Education Award is given annually to up to five teachers and/or counselors in Seattle Public Schools who promote educational justice and racial equity at their school. Nominations are open to teachers and counselors who: teach in grades 6-12, have been with the district for at least three years, and teach at a Title I school. A stipend of $2,500 accompanies each award and may be used at the awardee’s discretion for continuing professional development, for travel associated with such development, and for classroom projects or supplies. The public can nominate teachers and counselors for the award. The award honors Mr. Philip B. Swain, a former teacher who was a passionate advocate for public education throughout his life.  

2024 Swain Excellence in Teaching Award winners: 

  • Alfreida McKinney, Counselor – Washington Middle School 
  • Alvin Scott Griggs, Physical Education – Franklin High School 
  • Folasade Brown, English/Language Arts – Rainier Beach High School 
  • Julia Reade, Nova High School 
  • Marcus Bradford, Aki Middle School 
Collage of educators smiling at camera.

The Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award 

The Adrienne Weaver Science Teaching Award is given annually to a Seattle Public Schools science teacher in grades K-8 who has been with the district for at least three years and teaches at a Title I school. A stipend of $5,000 accompanies each award and may be used at the awardee’s discretion. This award was established to honor Ms. Adrienne Weaver, a former educator who had a love for teaching and science and believed in hands-on learning.  

2024 Weaver Science Teacher

Teacher in plaid shirt smiles at camera.

Kyle Tunstall, West Seattle Elementary