Founder and Education Director
Steve Miranda has worked with diverse populations of students in Seattle’s Central Area and South End as a teacher and administrator since 1998. As a classroom teacher, his journalism students won the National Story of the Year Award in 2006 and again in 2007. In three years as a private school administrator, Steve created a marketing strategy that increased enrollment by 50 percent and annual fundraising by 75 percent.
The Studio Learning model is a result of 18 years of research and experience in the practices that support breakthrough outcomes for students. Steve believes that the most powerful strategy for building powerful learning programs is cultivating a healthy, collaborative culture among adults. He is passionate about deepening his understanding of the ways in which white people can catalyze change in institutionally racist systems.
“Steve’s commitment to social justice is very real; it is neither convenient nor fair-weathered nor reliant on one story or person in his life—it’s about all the kids he’s worked with and about what I sense is an inner compass he has regarding fairness, justice, and history.”
— Jen Graves, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, The Stranger
“I served on the Board of Trustees at PSCS when Steve was executive director, and a few things became obvious. The guy knows how to raise money, and he knows how to manage a budget. He excels at bringing new solutions to old problems. But most impressive of all, he’s relentless. His passion for fixing our broken education system is really inspiring.”
— Joe Whinney, founder and CEO, Theo Chocolate
Board of Directors
Jean Johnson, Studio Learning’s founding board president, is a community activist with extensive experience as a Board member and consultant to social enterprises. Currently she serves on the Board of the Progress Alliance of Washington. Jean practiced law at Reed, McClure, Moceri & Thonn in Seattle, and also was a principal in Seattle Community Consultants. Along with her husband Peter Miller, Jean is a co-owner of The Essential Baking Co.
Jennifer Geist, Studio Learning’s founding board vice president, is a global education consultant. She helps teachers, schools, foundations, and students to bring global perspectives into their education work. She specializes in online collaboration, curriculum development, and project-based learning with international partners. All of her work aims facilitate people working together for a healthier planet.
Alex Allred, Studio Learning’s founding board treasurer, owns Balance Bookkeeping, a company that specializes in financial services for creative people and companies. She has 15 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience for non- and for-profits big and small.
Steve Arnold works with a number of organizations focusing on innovations in education. He is co-founder and vice chairman of the board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), an operating foundation that conducts research on educational best practices and promotes innovation by publishing stories of exemplary programs in teaching and learning (www.edutopia.org). He serves on the boards of CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning), which is pioneering and developing the field of social and emotional learning in schools, Enlearn, which is developing a personalized, data-driven adaptive learning platform, The Teaching Channel, which focuses on improving teacher practices, and The New Mexico School for the Arts. He also chairs the board of Healthy Minds Innovations, a non-profit organization founded to bring to the world the discoveries of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM), a neuroscience research lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Steve Johnson was Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development from 2008 to July 2015. Steve shaped and guided the city’s economic development agenda through the recession and the subsequent recovery. New initiatives launched under his leadership include StartupSeattle in support of Seattle’s bustling entrepreneurial community, Only in Seattle to invest in neighborhood-led commercial district revitalization efforts, and SkillUp Washington to create successful career pathways for low-income adults to obtain living wage jobs. Steve serves on the board of the Seattle Colleges Foundation.
Kelly Chang seeks to accelerate work toward equity and excellence in the health and education as an independent consultant and volunteer specializing in growth-stage nonprofit organizations. She provides visioning, process and program design, strategic planning, data analysis, and business plan support. She is Vice Chair on the Board of Trustees for The Little School, an independent school providing progressive education in Bellevue, and President of the Board of the Ren Che Foundation, which invests in scalable solutions for building resilient and just communities.
John Kim is the Executive Director of Seattle Jobs Initiative, where he served on the Board of Directors for four years before taking his current position. Prior to that he served as Chief Operations Officer for Northwest Regional Primary Care Association and as Executive Director of the Northwest Hospital Foundation. John practiced law with the firm of Green, Stewart, Farber & Anderson in Washington, D.C. for eight years before moving to Seattle. He chaired the D.C. Mayor’s Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs.
Lisa Fitzhugh is the Founding Partner of Creative Ground. She has worked within the political, public, private and non-profit sectors for the last 25 years. Lisa is also the founder and former executive director of Arts Corps, the largest arts education program in Washington State reaching underserved communities throughout King County. Arts Corps’ award-winning program has become a national model for combining arts education with social change.
Vivian Vassall, an attorney and community advocate, was born and raised in south Seattle. Since graduating from law school in 2009, she has provided pro bono legal services through King County Bar Association’s Southeast Seattle Neighborhood Legal Clinic as well as its Housing Justice Project in Kent. She is committed to working toward empowering students and creating a community in which previously disadvantaged young people have opportunities to thrive.
Taelore Rhoden is a freelance event planner and project consultant with an educational background in journalism and intercultural communications. Inspired by the diversity and strength of her south Seattle upbringing, she has worked with dozens of Seattle-area education, social justice and youth empowerment organizations since 2010.