We build a culture of high expectations and shared community responsibility for student success and educational excellence. With our partners, we make sustainable investments that support student achievement and show measurable results.

Our Mission & Values

To build and strengthen Tacoma’s community-wide movement to help every child achieve success from cradle to college and career by aligning goals, data, resources, and partners.

Our Community Partners

Today, Graduate Tacoma is more than 265 Community Partners strong.  We are parents and educators, early learning and higher education, business and labor, youth and community service, civic and philanthropy, local government and communities of faith – all aligning our work together with Tacoma schools to impact student success.

Joining forces. Aligning resources. Strengthening our community.

Graduate Tacoma is taking a community-wide approach to ensure that every child has access and opportunities for quality learning. Kids need the community at different times. Graduate Tacoma is about reaching them when and where they need us.


Tafona Ervin 

Executive Director

Elvin Bucu

Director of Systems Alignment

Cecilia Garza

Director of Communications

Devin Rydel Kelly

Director of Data

April Renee Shine

Director of Advocacy & Policy

William Towey

Director of Development

Joseph Colón

Assistant Director of Collective Action

Jenai S. Fields

Early Learning and Reading Network Manager

Chanel R. Hall

STEAM Network Manager

Wendy Holcomb

Tacoma College Support Network Manager

Leigh Butler

Operations & Finance Manager


Ben Mitchell

Project Manager

Emmeline Call

Executive Assistant

Sarah Detweiler

Data Coordinator

Shaima Shamdeen

Communications Coordinator


Holly Bamford Hunt, Chair

The Bamford Foundation

Dion Rurik, Secretary

Russell Family Foundation

Jim Walton, Treasurer

Civic Leader and Former Tacoma City Manager

Jim Shoemake

Former Superintendent, Tacoma Public Schools

Lois Bernstein 

Chief Community Executive, MultiCare Health System 

Melannie Denise Cunningham 

Director of Multicultural Outreach & Engagement, Pacific Lutheran University 

Sara Irish

Community Leader, Tacoma Latino Round Table

Josh Knudson

Vice Chancellor for Advancement, UW Tacoma

Kathi Littmann

President & CEO, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Lyle Quasim

Community Volunteer, Tacoma – Pierce County

Richard Remmert

Production Engineering Manager, The Boeing Company 

Patty Rose

Secretary – Treasurer, Pierce County Central Labor Council

Carla Santorno

Superintendent Tacoma Public Schools


Willie Stewart

Former Assistant Superintendent, TPS

Shon Sylvia 

Executive Director, Metro Parks Tacoma 

Debbie Winskill, At-Large

Director, Tacoma School Board

Victoria Woodards

Mayor, City of Tacoma

Jeff Woodworth, At-Large

Woodworth Family Foundation

Stuart Young, Vice Chair

Managing Principal, BCRA


Cassandra Mitchell

VP Corp.Responsibility Officer, KeyBank


Carrie Prudente Holden

President & CEO, Boys & Girls Club of So.Puget Sound