Meet Our Team

Management and Administrative Staff

Sonja Griffin

Sonja Griffin

(She/Her)
Quality Practice and Professional Development Unit Manager

Bio + -

Sonja Griffin is the Manager of the Quality Practice and Professional Development Unit in the new Department of Education and Early Learning. Prior to this appointment she served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Early Learning with the Office for Education. Sonja has worked in the field of education for over 30 years, with a primary focus on improving the quality of education for all children and closing the opportunity gap. She has actively worked in the Seattle community as a teacher, administrator, college instructor, coach and trainer, and serves on several boards and grass roots organizations focused on improving the lives of black children. Sonja holds an M.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College with a specialization in Education Leadership and Adult Education.
Sonja.Griffin@seattle.gov

Daniel Perez

Daniel Perez

(He/Him)
Coach Manager

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Daniel Perez is the SW Regional Early Learning Coach Manager in the QPPD unit. He brings years of experience in early learning from teaching in a dual language preschool, working in pre-licensing with family childcare providers, Early Achievers coaching, Seattle Preschool Program Coaching, and as a trainer on culturally responsive anti-racist practice and curriculum. On the weekends, Daniel works as a college professor at Highline College, providing instruction to aspiring teachers and is a doctoral candidate in Nova Southeastern' s Instructional Technology and Distance Education program. Daniel is reliable in CLASS, ERS, High Scope and Creative Curriculum certified and received his master's degree in dual language education. Daniel is a children's book author, an artist, musician, and an active member of his community drumming with Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Garifuna folkloric groups.
Daniel.Perez@seattle.gov


Luis Miguel Briseño

Luis Miguel Briseño

(He/Him)
Coach Manager

Bio + -

Luis Miguel Briseño is the North Regional Early Learning Coach Manager in the Quality Practice and Professional Development (QPPD) Unit. Before this appointment, he served as a Data Collector and a Professional Development Specialist Team Lead at Cultivate Learning where he worked for eight years with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tool and the Environmental Rating Scale. He is certified to observe and train on the Pre-K, Toddler, and Infant CLASS, as well as, on the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) tools: ITERS-R, FCCERS-R, ECCERS-R, ITERS-3, FCCERS-3, and ECERS-3. Luis is also an observer on the Classroom Assessment of Support for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (CASEBA), Self-Evaluation assessment of Supports for Emergent Bilingual Acquisition (SESEBA), and Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT). He has been in the classroom as an infant, toddler, and preschool educator. Luis is a first-generation immigrant farmworker who understands the importance of valuing cultural epistemologies having himself experienced a disconnect between home and school culture. Luis completed his B.S. degree in Bioengineering and his M.A. in Human Development & Cognition and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Washington. His personal, academic, and professional experiences are grounded in culture, families, and Science Technology Reading Engineering Art and Math (STREAM) education for the design, implementation, and evaluation of professional development and training.
Luis.Briseno@seattle.gov

Gabriella Caferro

(She/Her)
Administrative Specialist

Bio + -

Gabriella Caferro
Bio and photo coming soon.
Gabriella.Caferro@Seattle.gov

Dallas Klein

Dallas Klein

(She/Her)
Administrative Specialist

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Dallas Klein is passionate about all things education-especially working toward education that is equitable and accessible. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and has a background in higher education and nonprofit work. In her free time, she loves reading and writing poetry, hiking with her dog, and shopping for fun, vintage finds. As QPPD's training admin, she is happy to help with invoicing, MERIT, SPP Scholars, and training related questions.
Dallas.Klein@seattle.gov

Training and Coaching Staff

Michelle Kim Neubauer

Michelle Kim Neubauer

(She/Her)
Early Learning Training Coordinator

Bio + -

Michelle Kim Neubauer
Bio and photo coming soon.
Michelle.Neubauer@seattle.gov


Aaron Jeffers

Aaron Jeffers

(He/Him)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Aaron Jeffers has worked in the Early Learning Field since 2004 as a Head Start Teacher, Family Child Care Licensor, Early Head Start Home Visitor, Early Achievers Coach and a College Instructor. He has a Master's Degree in Reading and Literacy and also received his Teaching Certificate with a P-3 Endorsement in Early Childhood Education. Aaron very much enjoys working with teachers to support them to make improvements and build upon their strengths. He is proud of the work he has been able to do in the Early Learning Community and looks forward to what is ahead in the future. He grew up in Seattle and has three children (two boys and a girl). Aaron enjoys writing, running, traveling, the Seahawks, the Mariners and spending time with family.
Aaron.Jeffers@seattle.gov


Dr. Afiya Armstrong

Dr. Afiya Armstrong

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

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Dr. Afiya Armstrong recently joined DEEL as a Learning Coach. She has served as an Early Childhood Educator and Leader for over 20 years. In her service she has worked as an Educational Consultant and Technical Assistant for the University of Memphis, serving West Tennessee school districts, as well as a Research Associate with Battelle Memorial Institute as a contractor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention working on an Autism research project. Her career has included serving as a Founding PreK Director, University Associate Faculty Member, and Clinical Supervisor observing and recommending aspiring teachers for licensure. As a former Learning Coach and Co-owner of a tutoring company, she enjoyed partnering with teachers, administrators, and families to build and support a strong educational foundation for all students. She has earned a MEd in Education with an endorsement in PK- 3, MSPH with a focus in Community Health, and Ed.D in Educational Leadership. 
Afiya.Armstrong@seattle.gov


Amina Sudduth

Amina Sudduth

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

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Amina Sudduth has dedicated her services to children and families for 23+ years in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Amina's journey began when she graduated from high school and first stepped foot in a childcare program where she found joy playing and learning with toddlers. Amina fell in love with the idea of becoming a teacher and making a difference in the lives of children. The idea became her purpose and meaning in life. There's no greater pleasure than to be surrounded by children who enjoys the simplest forms of interaction.
Amina.Sudduth@seattle.gov

Bick Hang

Bick Hang

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Bick Hang has worked in children and family services for over 32 years, with the last 25 years dedicated to early childhood education. She has served children and families from culturally diverse communities within various educational systems, social services agencies, tribal organizations, higher education, local government agencies, and currently as an Early Learning Coach with the City of Seattle Preschool Program since 2015. She provides direct instructional coaching support and technical assistance to a team of 25 teachers. She uses a tailored work plan with each educator to strengthen the quality of teaching practices that are inclusive and culturally responsive in meeting children's learning needs. She holds a graduate degree from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development with specialization in Early Childhood Education and Bicultural Development in Young Children, and an undergraduate composite degree from Hope College in Sociology and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. In addition to English, she can communicate in Vietnamese and conversational Spanish.
Bick.Hang@seattle.gov

Deana Fanning

Deana Fanning

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Deana Fanning has been in Early Learning for over 25 years. She owned a Family Child Care (FCC) in Pierce County before becoming an Early Learning coach. Deana holds a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education, a Practice Based Coaching Certificate from the University of Washington, and she is a state approved MERIT trainer. As an early learning professional, Deana strongly believes in the importance of equitable and high-quality care for every child. She believes in partnering with teachers and providers to build capacity within themselves to meet high quality standards while providing a culturally responsive program to all children and families. 
Deana.Fanning@seattle.gov

Debora Ritz

Debora Ritz

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Debora Ritz is very excited to join the QPPD team for this Coaching position. Before joining the City, She was an Education Coach for Puget Sound Educational Service District. Debora partnered with Educators that were Home Visitors, Infant/Toddler Teachers, and Pre-K Teachers. Debora has a deep love for this field and childcare in particular. She also been an infant/toddler teacher, preschool teacher, childcare supervisor, and home visitor. Each position has been a gift of learning that Debora cherishes. Outside of work, she and her husband have a toddler that is the light of their lives. They love to be outdoors and enjoying nature. On the weekends, they are usually taking a camping trip or taking a hike.
Debora.Ritz@seattle.gov

Elidia Sangerman

Elidia Sangerman

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

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Elidia Sangerman holds a master's degree in early childhood education and is currently a Washington State MERIT-approved trainer. She has worked with Dual Language programs and done culturally responsive work in ECE for many years. She is bilingual in Spanish and English, lives with her husband, three children, and two dogs. Her favorite hobby is to spend time outdoors and going to church with her family.
Elidia.Sangerman@seattle.gov

Emily Zartman

Emily Zartman

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

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Emily Zartman is a lifelong learner, early childhood enthusiast, and DEEL Early Learning Coach.  Emily has worked in education for over 20 years.  She holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and an EC-8th grade teaching certificate. Her experience includes working as a Head Start teacher, Head Start Family Educator, United Way Success by 6 Liaison, P-5 Instructional Coach and Early Childhood Instructional Coach.  She loves working with teachers and supporting their continuous learning process.  In her free time, Emily enjoys hiking, kayaking and connecting with family and friends. 
Emily.Zartman@seattle.gov

Fanny Yang

Fanny Yang

(They/Them)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Fanny Yang is passionate about fostering early learning experiences that embrace and affirm every child, regardless of identity, background, or ability. They are particularly interested in addressing the disproportionalities in special education and school discipline and strive to promote inclusion for all children. Fanny holds a Master of Education degree in early childhood special education. Before coming to DEEL, Fanny taught in ECEAP and inclusive preschool classrooms; they also coached graduate students and teacher candidates at the University of Washington and mentored early career teachers. Fanny has worked with amazing coaches who supported their development as an educator and hopes to have a similarly positive impact. In their spare time, Fanny enjoys library-hopping, challenging plants to survive under their "care", and playing with dough (the resulting food being secondary, and at times questionable).
Fanny.Yang@seattle.gov

Katie Culler

Katie Culler

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Katie Culler has been dedicated to supporting and working with children since those early days of working as a camp counselor.  Katie has an Early Childhood Education certificate and over 18 years of experience in the field of early learning; from working as a live-in nanny, teaching preschool, supervising/managing Head Start preschool classrooms, as a DEEL Education Specialist and now as a DEEL Early Learning Coach.  Katie has a passion for the outdoors and bringing that love and learning to children which has been fostered through her work with Tiny Trees.  Katie is dedicated to creating an equitable early learning landscape where all children can grow their love of learning.  When Katie is not in the classroom, she is spending time with her wife (Sarah), gardening in the backyard, taking walks and being in nature, testing out new recipes in the kitchen and always planning her next travel adventure.
Katie.Culler@seattle.gov

Kieyanna Jenkins

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Kieyanna Jenkins
Bio and photo coming soon.
Kieyanna.Jenkins@seattle.gov

Makyla Melonson

Makyla Melonson

(She/Her)
Junior Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Makyla Melonson has a strong passion for early learning and building strong foundations for young children and their families. She's done this by supporting and mentoring Educators in providing quality instruction and welcoming environments.  She has over 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field, including an A.A. in Early Childhood Education, B.A. in Children Studies, and a Master's in Management and Leadership.  Prior to working with the city, Makyla was an Area Supervisor for Seattle Public Schools Head Start. In Makyla's spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting local trails and botanical gardens, visiting Starbucks and watching movies!
Makyla.Melonson@seattle.gov

Marjon Way-Bonkaana

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Marjon Way-Bonkaana has been in Early Learning for over 30 years. Being in the profession of ECE is one of Marjon's passion and primary way to undo institutional racism by supporting the development of healthy and accurate self-identity. Their approach to coaching relies on self-awareness development merged with skills and capacity development. Marjon strongly believes in the importance of equitable and high-quality care for every child. By partnering with teachers and providers, we can create opportunities for children and their families to know their value and belonging in this world. Photo coming soon.
Marjon.Way-Bonkaana@seattle.gov

Kimberly Early

Kimberly Early

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Kimberly Early is passionate about teaching and bringing quality care to children! Much of her work relates directly to the theme of cultural diversity and responsiveness, curriculum planning, and collaborative communication. She has over 25 years of teaching experience and has taught at Seattle Public Schools, the Girl Scouts, Seattle Central College and First Place (a school for children in transition).  Kimberly has worked for the past 5 years as a coach with the QPPD team and for 13 years as an adjunct faculty at Highline College in the Education Department.  She is a HighScope Certified Trainer, has a CLASS certification (Preschool), a Master's degree, and a Teaching Certificate with an endorsement in P-3 Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College NW.  Kimberly's work and volunteer experience includes working as childcare center licensor, and volunteering with community groups around issues of environmental justice, social justice, and how to work effectively with children, particularly Black children.  She loves spending time with her family, traveling, dancing, and reading! 
Kimberly.Early@seattle.gov

Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova

Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova is an Afro-Indigenous mother, educator, activist, consultant, trainer, and artist living in Duwamish/Coast Salish territory (Seattle). Her family descends from Choctaw, Cherokee, Sauk/Fox, African American, Ashkenazi and adopted into her Yaqui Sundance family. She has over 22 years of experience and service in education and the care of children and their families. Miriam earned her P-3 Endorsement from the University of Washington and has her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Arizona with a focus on Maternal and Child Health in Native American populations. She has worked with numerous organizations and Indigenous/tribal nations in Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and internationally in Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Miriam is returning to the DEEL coaching team after nearly three years as the Director for Daybreak Star Preschool. She serves as a member on multiple local early learning task force groups and a Na'ah Illahee Fund - TEND traditional foods and permaculture cohorts advocating for Indigenous food sovereignty. Miriam carries the knowledge and experiences gained through her work with families and communities and a commitment to culturally and linguistically responsive anti-bias practices into her current work with the DEEL coaching team to help elevate the quality of instructional coaching and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.
Miriam.Zmiewski-Angelova@seattle.gov

Shawn Harris

Shawn Harris

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Shawn Harris brings to her position as a Birth - 5 coach 30+ years of knowledge and experience in the Early Childhood Education field. Shawn began her career as a volunteer in her nephew's Head Start classroom.  Then she was hired to fill the dual role as a Family Support Worker/Classroom Assistant in the Tacoma Public Schools Head Start pilot program. There her love for culturally responsive family engagement grew.  Shawn has been a family childcare provider, community organizer, educational guide, and mentor among other things.  Shawn counts herself blessed that her employment is in a field that she is passionate about.  She is thankful for the privilege to serve children, families, and communities. Just as Shawn stands on the shoulders of others, she strives to be the shoulders that the next generation can stand on. 
Shawn.Harris@seattle.gov

Trina Le

Trina Le

(She/Her)
Early Learning Coach

Bio + -

Trina Le holds a master's degree in early childhood & special education and has a strong background in  early childhood and family studies. Before joining the city, Trina was a special education teacher with Seattle Public Schools and  is bilingual in  Vietnamese and English. 
Trina.Le@seattle.gov