Since 2003, Eric’s children have attended Seattle Public Schools. In that time, he has actively participated in their education, both directly and indirectly. Eric has volunteered in classrooms, sat on PTA and PTO boards, and served on District advisory committees. He has spoken out against school closures, in favor of funding our elementary school counselors, and for bringing waitlisted students into their preferred schools.
In 2008, Seattle Schools started a process to close schools. After reviewing the District’s own demographic data, Eric realized that the closed schools would need to re-open in two years to accommodate growing classes of new students. He began speaking out against the closures, which disproportionately affected schools furthest from educational justice. The District did close schools, only to re-open them two years later at a cost of over $60 million.
Soon after, Eric joined the Loyal Heights PTA Board as the Legislative Chair, a position he held for six years. Throughout that time, he advocated on assignment area boundaries, counselors in every elementary school and statewide education funding. In 2014, LHPTA awarded Eric the Golden Acorn Award in recognition of his long service.
Starting in 2012, Eric worked with a group of sleep researchers and community members to align middle and high school bell times to students’ changing sleep patterns. Eric worked on a transportation analysis to show that the change could be made without increasing transportation costs, offered insights into how to influence the School Board effectively, and spoke many times before the School Board. Eventually, the Board agreed to direct staff to study changing bell times and a followup task force reviewed feasibility of the change. The end result: high school students get nearly half an hour more sleep each night, have better attendance, and earned higher grades. Schools with higher percentages of students of color saw greater improvements, improving equity across the District.
Eric has continued that commitment to serving students of color across the District. He advocated for rebuilding Rainier Beach High School in the BEX V levy passed in 2019, for a Native education program with a 100% graduation rate for their regular attendees, and for consistent district-wide funding for International Baccalaureate programs, which helped Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth High Schools keep these strong academic programs on a firm financial footing. While he served as Vice President of Friends of Ingraham High School, Eric directed grant funding to underserved populations first, from student organizations that support students of color to equipment for Special Education classrooms.
Eric has a long commitment to career and technical education, recognizing the importance of students learning skills connected to career and life. In the early 2000’s, Eric helped organize and run a speed boatbuilding competition, where teams would build a boat in six hours and race it later that day. After the first year, he added a high school division, inviting schools from Seattle and across the region to participate. Eric took his professional skills in boat design to Cleveland High School, where he provided technical advice and support to successive teams of students of color. Every one of their boats crossed the finish line to cheers from the crowd. Later on, Eric served as a parent mentor to the Ingraham Rocketry Club, helping the students succeed in national competitions and NASA programs.
Eric is passionate about issues surrounding school enrollment and assignment boundaries. He has worked with community groups and served on district advisory committees since 2009, when the New Student Assignment Plan first drew new boundaries for Seattle schools. In that work, Eric saw the value of community feedback and bringing the broader community into the discussion. Local knowledge is absolutely critical in making fully informed decisions.
Eric attended public elementary schools in Bellevue, WA, then moved abroad with his parents as they pursued careers in international development. He lived in Pakistan, Ghana, and Switzerland before returning to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Eric is a registered professional engineer and works in a small company designing working boats. He specializes in analyzing complex data sets and quickly evaluating the feasibility of proposed options.
Eric lives in Ballard with his family. He has two children, age 21 and 16, who attend the University of Washington and Ingraham High School.
Eric has worked with many community organizations, including:
Friends of Ingraham: Vice President, Advocacy Chair; Ingraham Rocketry Club: Parent mentor; Loyal Heights PTA: Legislative Chair, honored with Golden Acorn Award; SPS High Schools Boundaries Task Force; SPS Facilities and Capacity Management Advisory Committee; Schools First: Speaker’s bureau for BEX V and Operations levies; and No on I-1240: Speaker’s bureau against charter school initiative.
To reach out to Eric, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.