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.
SOAR Academy Board of Directors
Dr. 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.
George 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.
Anay Shah is the Head of International Partnerships for Remitly, a start-up international payments company leveraging the mobile phone to helping families to stay connected across borders. Anay manages all strategic business development initiatives and led Remitly’s expansion to India. Anay helped with the strategic analysis to select India, initiated and negotiated the banking relationship & contract, and launched all marketing efforts for the new operation. Prior to Remitly, Anay worked in remote villages in India to provide solar lighting to villagers without electricity. Anay has also worked in 13 countries, on 4 continents, on a variety of international development projects from healthcare to education.Anay holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in International Relations from Wesleyan University. While at Stanford Anay was a Board Fellow with the Sierra Club and is a Founding Board member of Development Creative, in India. Anay is passionate about social impact and educational equity. Anay recently served as a mentor with Community for Youth in Seattle and believes in investing in youth as the vehicle for social change.
Beverly 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.