Home / About Us / Governance

SOAR Academy Board of Directors

SOAR Academy is governed by a non-profit Board of Directors who ensures the long-term success of the organization.

In order to best steward the vision and mission of the school, the SOAR Board has the responsibility of defining, communicating, monitoring, and ultimately ensuring the success of the school.

Photo Coming SoonDr. Thelma Jackson; Board Chair
Dr. Thelma A. Jackson is owner of Foresight Consultants, bringing over 30 years of consulting experience in education change initiatives, restructuring and reform, equity and diversity, policy making, school boardsmanship, cultural competency, community mobilization, strategic planning, educational auditing, school improvement, systemic change, curriculum evaluation for bias and fairness, professional development, and educational transformation. Dr. Jackson served on Task Forces and Advisory Councils for five Governors of the State of Washington, including the Governor’s Council on Education Reform and Funding (G-CERF) in 1991, which resulted in the state’s education reform law.Thelma served on the Advisory Council for the Implementation of HB 2722, the legislation dealing with “Closing the Achievement Gap for African American Students” in the state.  Dr. Jackson has served in numerous leadership capacities over the years, such as President of the Washington State School Directors’ Association; for 20 years was a Member and five-time President of the North Thurston School Board; as President of the Pacific Region of the National School Boards Association; as Chair of the State Advisory Council on Vocational Education; as Chairperson of the Washington State Legislative Ethics Board; as Chair of the Commission on African American Affairs; and as President of the Board of Trustees of The Evergreen State College, where she later taught as an Adjunct Faculty in Urban Education on the Tacoma Campus. Dr. Jackson has participated as an education panelist, seminar leader, facilitator, workshop presenter, and keynote speaker at more than 175 education-related events during her career. Thelma has served on numerous Boards of community, civic, and service organizations, is listed in Who’s Who in America for 2006 and 2007, and is the recipient of a number of recognitions and awards for educational and community service.  She is the Immediate Past President of the Washington Alliance of Black School Educators, serves on the Steering Committee of the Black Education Strategy Roundtable, and is a member of the Board of League of Education Voters. Dr. Jackson currently serves as President of the Board of SOAR Academy, one of 8 inaugural charter schools on the Hilltop of Tacoma. She continues to be a visionary and respected community leader in the state of Washington, as well as a Mentor to many talented individuals. Thelma Jackson received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1968 and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California in 2002. She and her husband Nat of 47 years are the proud parents of 3 children and the grandparents of 4 granddaughters. They have resided in the state of Washington for 46 years and in the Olympia area for the last 43 of those years.
Photo Coming SoonGeorge Meng; Treasurer
George Meng has held a variety of roles in marketing, human resources, operations and engineering. A fourteen year veteran of Microsoft, George was most recently a Director of Human Resources and was responsible for the company’s global employment brand and for College and MBA recruiting. He also held numerous marketing roles at Microsoft including being part of the team that created and launched MSN and overseeing consumer marketing for the multibillion-dollar Microsoft Office business.George also served as an executive in two technology start-ups including Rendition Networks where he was Vice President of Operations responsible for human resources, marketing and public relations.Early in his career, George held various engineering and marketing positions at The Gillette Company, Digital and Pacific Bell.George holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Since 2005 he has served on the Board of City Year Seattle, an AmeriCorps organization. He also serves as a mentor for elementary students in the Issaquah School District.
Andy Ferrera
Andy Ferrera is a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Seattle.  At BCG, Andy has advised multiple multi-national companies and non-profits on topics including growth strategy, mission and vision creation, and organizational design.  Prior to BCG, Andy taught Kindergarten and 3/4th grade math at Excel Academy in Washington, DC, an all-girls elementary public charter school.  Andy’s educational philosophy is one of developing the whole child, balancing social emotional with academic growth.  While at Excel, he led the schools accreditation process and also was a coach with Girls on the Run.  Andy taught in a low-income (>95% free and reduced lunch) elementary school that served a majority Black/African-American student body in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood.  Additionally, he taught at the school during a similar growth phase to SOAR.  When Andy joined Excel, the school served Preschool to 2nd grade, growing 1 grade each year.  He witnessed firsthand the challenges of governing a new school during significant growth and teacher/leadership turnover.Andy received his MBA with high distinction from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and his BA in environmental studies from Dartmouth College, graduating cum laude with honors.  Andy is a Northwest native, and enjoys running, skiing, and travel.  He and his wife live in Seattle.
Photo Coming SoonBeverly Grant, Esq.
Hon. Judge Beverly Grant(ret’d) served as a Pierce County Superior Court Judge (2003-2013) and retired in January, 2013. She has been a semi-finalist candidate for a federal judgeship. Beverly Grant has over 35 years of legal experience. She has had the pleasure of being a judge for 10 years and has owned her own law firm for over 25 years. She is an advocate for civil rights and a litigator fighting discrimination with her emphasis of practice focused upon complex and multi-party class action employment litigation, sexual harassment, personal injury and business matters in California and Washington federal and state courts. Although each case must rest upon its own facts, Ms. Grant has successfully negotiated and litigated six and seven figure lawsuits and settlements. She also underwent extensive training at the National Judicial College for serving as a mediator. She has served as a lecturer for various national and state bar associations. Beverly Grant is an Advance Science Technology Adjudication Research Fellow (ASTAR), which has trained approximately 400 judges nationwide in the areas of bionics, genetics and neuroscience. She is a part-time downhill skier, loves the theatre and arts and served on various art boards, such as Pilchuck, American Red Cross Rainier, Hilltop Artists, SOAR Academy Public Charter School, and Lenny Wilkens Foundation. She is currently learning how to sculpt and appreciates exploring new cultures. She collects art and sculpture from various media. Judge Grant is the proud mother of two adult college educated children.
Sam Dinning                                                                                                          Sam Dinning is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Juvenile Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Sam was drawn to Seattle from his native Boston by the local commitment to a more equitable and effective criminal justice system. In the Juvenile Division, he has worked to understand the individual needs of those caught up in the system, as well as the needs of our community more broadly. In practice, this has required leveraging the criminal justice system to ensure under-served youth have access to education, supportive adults, and services such as trauma counseling and drug/alcohol treatment when needed. Sam came to the prosecutor’s office from Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, and Bowdoin College.