Our Founding Board
Angela Griffin (she/her) is a visionary and inspirational leader as the CEO for Launch. She has over 27 years of experience, primarily focused on the development and implementation of early learning, child care and youth development programs. Angela has a reputation for building strong relationships and partnerships, inspiring teams to action, and crafting effective strategies to ensure children, youth, and communities equitably access all the available opportunities leading to successful life outcomes.
Angela was previously the Chief Program Officer at Treehouse where she led the agency in achieving its ambitious goal of increasing the graduation rate for youth experiencing foster care and scaling vital services statewide. Prior to Treehouse, she was a transformational leader of programs for children birth to age 12 for the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club. She has served on a variety of boards including the Federal Way School Board, and currently the King County Children and Youth Advisory Board (CYAB), WA State Leadership Board, Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC), Child Care Aware of WA (CCAWA), King County Early Learning Coalition (KCELC), and the Woodland Park Zoo.
She holds a bachelor’s in Human Services and a master’s in Education, both from California State University. She also holds a doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from Seattle University. She is the parent of three adult children and one teen, as well as the grandmother of an adorable toddler.
Haydeé Lavariega (they/them), is a Bene Xhon (Zapotec) Indigenous nonbinary organizer and educator from Oaxaca, Mexico. Haydeé (pronounced Eye-They) grounds their practice in Indigenous values of collectivity, acknowledgement, and relationships. Honoring the knowledges and narratives of their community is at the forefront of their work. Haydeé is working to will an environment that allows transformative justice and a liberated reality-future to be cultivated and sustained.
Haydeé works diligently and intentionally in community to organize and heal, utilizing decolonizing practices and anti-racist frameworks that center Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in practice. They believe that organizing and healing must be done together, with awareness of the multitude of intersections and complexities of community, in order to become located at a space of collective liberation.
Haydeé holds a doctorate in Leadership for Learning from the University of Washington. They have previously worked at the intersections of philanthropy, communities, and education from early learning to higher ed. Their consulting practice and work is in participatory ways of doing including participatory funding, participatory coalition building, participatory evaluation, and participatory research.
Maggie Mendoza (she/her) is the Early Education P-3 (preschool to third grade) Coordinator at Educational Service District 105. She has been in the early learning field for over 18 years and brings a wealth of experience in Head Start, ECEAP, Migrant Head Start, Licensed Childcare, K-12, and Higher Education.
Maggie provides professional development opportunities for PreK-3 educators that focus on supporting the unique needs of migrant and bilingual students and families: developing curriculum, materials, and instruction for English language learners to promote inclusive high-quality early learning environments. She is also Early Childhood Education Adjunct faculty at Yakima Valley College.
She is a first-generation student and holds a bachelor of arts in Education with a Teaching English as a Second Language minor, and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies with an emphasis in Administration, Leadership & Management. Maggie is currently pursuing a doctorate in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education.
She enjoys traveling and camping with her husband of nineteen years and their two teenagers.
Maria V. Vasquez
Maria Vasquez (she/her) has spent the last 25 years working in various leadership capacities with underserved families and children throughout Central Washington, including 11 years as a Bilingual Maternity Support Services and Infant Case Manager. She was a Child Passenger Safety Technician and Child Birth and Breastfeeding educator for Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, specializing in training families of diverse and mono-lingual Spanish populations.
In her 13 years with Catholic Charities, she has served as an Executive Board member of the Early Learning Coalition, playing a significant role in community systems and early childhood development. Currently, she is the Associate Director of Early Learning Special Services & Family Engagement for Child Care Aware of Central Washington, a Program of Catholic Charities. She works to support an environment that advances racial equity and cultural inclusivity, building trust and relationships among diverse communities while promoting social justice for the children and families these programs serve.
She holds a bachelor's in Children’s Studies, an associate's in Nutrition, and is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is a proud wife of 29 years, mommy to a 26-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son, and a most gracious Nana to her 3-year-old grandson.
Soleil Boyd (she/her) serves as Senior Program Officer for Washington STEM, supporting the organization’s Early Learning and King County strategies. She partners with key early education, industry, and policy partners to support programming and policy intent on dismantling institutional and systemic inequities that disproportionately impact families and children of color, those from low-income and rural backgrounds, and women.
Prior to Washington STEM, Soleil was Director of Professional Development and Coaching at Cultivate Learning. She directed the Certificate in Practice-Based Coaching and taught Early Childhood and Family Studies courses at the University of Washington, where she completed her doctoral degree in education.
Boyd started her early childhood education career as a preschool teacher assistant before becoming a preschool lead teacher, program supervisor, early learning coach, product developer, and university instructor.
Her past research addressed caregivers’ beliefs and practices related to early mathematics learning and the design of professional development that promotes reflection and practice and supports young children’s engagement in learning. Her professional work includes directing coach support in Washington state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), directing coach support for Early Achievers and implementing professional development for educators and coaches in and beyond Washington state.
Interim Executive Director
Leslie Dozono (she/her) is a consultant in education policy, advocacy, and organizational/coalition development with an emphasis in early learning. Her work focuses on the people, strategies, and tactics necessary to achieve results for children -- from campaigns around state legislation to writing policy briefs, to creating and facilitating meeting and retreat agendas that help people build relationships and move work forward.
Prior to becoming a consultant in 2013, Leslie was the Early Learning Policy Director at the Children's Alliance. In that role, she founded and developed the Early Learning Action Alliance, Washington's early learning advocacy coalition. She holds a master's of Public Administration from the University of Washington and a bachelor's in English from Scripps College.
She is a founding member of the Womxn of Color in Education (WōCE) Committee, which operates under the OneAmerica Justice Fund, co-President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary Dreamkeepers PTA, and serves on the Parent Advisory Committee for Magic Lantern Montessori. Leslie is also a parent of two young children.
Nubia López (she/her) has over 15 years of experience working at the intersection of community partnerships and education systems in Washington state. She joined our core consultants team in November 2020 and began her role as Program Director July 1, 2021. Prior to this role, she was the Community Partner Liaison for the University of Washington’s College of Education, where she oversaw internship placements for undergraduate students across a broad network of educational partners.
Her work is grounded in the belief that strong partnerships are the fuel required to develop high-quality and equitable education systems that all children and families deserve. Previously, Nubia worked at Puget Sound Educational Service District, where she managed program components across Head Start, ECEAP, and Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS).
Nubia holds a master’s of Public Administration from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University. Nubia is a parent of a vivacious toddler and enjoys hiking and camping in her spare time.
Meg Gomez (they/them) joined our team as a consultant in July 2021 as a recent graduate with a master’s of Social Work from the University of Washington. They concurrently serve as Policy Associate at the Latino Center for Health. Prior to graduating they held roles at the Population Health Initiative and Centro Integral Educativo Latino de Olympia, where they provided programmatic support and performed qualitative, community-based research on well-being in Latine communities in Washington state.
They are passionate about improving health, well-being, and educational outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color through collective-minded structural change. Previously, Meg worked at Interfaith Works Homeless Services and Mossyrock School District, where they operated a low-barrier shelter and provided direct harm-reduction centered support to individuals experiencing houselessness and mentorship and tutoring to youth.
Meg is a first-generation student and holds a bachelor of science in Marine Biology from The Evergreen State College. They enjoy traveling, playing soccer, and visiting the ocean.
The Fellowship is built on the work and wisdom of our mentors, partners, and teachers. We wish to especially acknowledge Makeba Greene (she/her), who served as an original co-founding consultant for the design of the Fellowship and Arianna McLaren-Simpson (they/them), our initial Research Associate.