Jed Miley | Executive Director

Before Yellow Wood I: I started my career in education as an ELL tutor with Seattle Public Schools in 1999. I went on to live in New York for 10 years, working in private schools by day and performing as a Flamenco guitarist by night. When my first child was born in 2012, we made the trip back to Seattle (my home town) where I found YWA.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: I have repeatedly witnessed how our program positively transforms the lives of students and families. What I see here on a daily basis reaffirms my belief in individualized education and drives me to further our mission.

Outside of work, I am energized by: My family. I have been married for almost 15 years andI have a 7-year old, Clara, and a 4-year-old, Theo. They are my bedrock and push me to be my best in every aspect of my life.

My favorite childhood memory is: waterskiing at my family’s beach cabin near Marysville, winning the 3rd grade spelling bee at Green Lake Elementary, and collecting baseball cards.

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Susan Small | Dean of Students - Upper School

Before Yellow Wood I: had varied teaching experiences: suburban middle class, inner city transitioning, rural Alaska, diplomatic day school in Central America, and joined this organization 31 years ago. I brought my enthusiasm for the multitude of subjects and variety of ages I taught along with the training and personal experience with the combination of gifted and learning disabilities. I am so proud to have been part of the evolution from a tutoring agency to the school YWA is today. I still wake up excited to come to work.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: I have the opportunity to work directly with students and families to find ways they can meet their needs and goals (maybe even some they thought were impossible) and experience the confidence that success inspires.

Outside of work, I am energized by: Social gatherings (family and friends), exotic locations, sunshine and sparkling water, belly laughs and silly giggles, country fairs, street festivals, and League Bowling.

My favorite childhood memory is: The 7 years I was part of growing up in a neighborhood of children who played together - riding bikes, building forts, watching scary movies, having adventures and seeing imaginative things in the clouds floating by.

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Shannon Kennedy | Dean of Students - Lower School & Tutoring

Before Yellow Wood I: graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Art in Education and earned endorsements in both K-8 and Reading K-12. I have taught preschool, elementary, and middle school in Tacoma, southern Oregon, Lynnwood, and Seattle. I joined Yellow Wood Academy in 2014 and I have been in a multitude of positions from being a teacher teaching art, math, and language arts to scheduler to now Dean of Students for the Lower school (K-8) and tutoring.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: our one-to-one and small group model allows both teacher and student to have the time to relish in those “ah-ha!” moments and celebrate each success along the way. You get to stand witness to students gaining the self-confidence that had been lost or never built in the first place.

Outside of work, I am energized by: spending quality time with my husband, Brien and my two cavapoo pups, Mila and Lucy, also I love art of all varieties and the creation process behind it.

My favorite childhood memory is: playing on the Bainbridge Island low-tides hunting for moon snails and agates, digging for clams and geoducks, and throwing rocks to see who could hit the buoy first.

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Melissa Richmond | Director of Student Services

Before Yellow Wood I: was working in public school special education. I taught middle school in both San Francisco and then Lake Washington. I completed my master's and credential in special education at San Francisco State. Before finding a passion in teaching special education, I studied history and feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz in California.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: we individualize teaching and find the passions of our students to incorporate into their daily lessons and experiences. It is wonderful to see students enjoy learning. To be a part of those learning moments and see the joy in our students is something I look forward to each day.

Outside of work, I am energized by: a love of Koi that I found this past year as our new home came with a Koi pond. I often spend many hours a day sitting out by the pond and reading (especially sci-fi) or keeping up the yard and garden.

My favorite childhood memory is: spending family vacations camping out in the high deserts of California. We would always have a campfire going at night and then ride dirt bikes and hike during the days. The night skies were always the best and you could see so many stars!

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Kate Maillot | Student Services Coordinator

Before Yellow Wood I: was involved in education for over 15 years. I hold a credential in Special Education and have taught in varied settings ranging from Special Day classes of over 30 students with varied abilities to teaching in residential treatment facilities for at-risk youth. I hold my Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and really enjoy learning about the different personalities of the populations I work with.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: we focus on the individual student and celebrate their successes while working together to make their educational setting a positive and fun experience.

Outside of work, I am energized by: spending time with my partner and hiking, camping, visiting family and cooking. We also love traveling and adventures outside of Washington. I also find myself loving spending time at home with a book and our cats. Sometimes relaxation seems to be the most energizing.

My favorite childhood memory is: is traveling to Victoria, BC with my mom, dad and brother and having tea at the Empress Hotel.

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Taylor Anderson | Guidance Counselor

Before Yellow Wood I: worked for an environmental non-profit in Atlanta, GA. A new opportunity arose and I moved out to Seattle in October of last year. The first thing I fell in love with was the evergreen trees and Seattle now really does feel like home.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: the students, teachers, and staff are what truly makes me love Yellow Wood. My role gives me the opportunity to build relationships and get to know everyone on a personal level. Everyone has a unique story to tell and I consider myself lucky to be apart of such a great community of people.

Outside of work, I am energized by: exploring different parts of Seattle without having too much of a plan. This includes riding my bike, hanging out with friends, playing beach volleyball, and checking out new places to eat. I love hiking and the outdoors as well as curling up with a good book.

My favorite childhood memory is: our weekend family boating trips in Savannah, GA. Depending on the weather, my sister and I would get under our homemade forts on the boat and we would ride over to the different surrounding islands. We'd have lunch, play with friends, and explore what the islands had to offer. Jaws ruined the open water for me and is something I'm still getting over. Thank you Spielberg.

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Vasilica Florescu | Director of Scheduling

Before Yellow Wood I: was a math teacher in public schools in Romania. I taught middle school and high school math, in large classrooms of 38-40 students.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: we have the opportunity to make a positive impact in students' life and make a difference every day.

Outside of work, I am energized by: spending time with my family, planning my next vacation.

My favorite childhood memory is: summer vacation- a week long trip to my aunt and my grandparents, spending time by the lake, going to the water-park, going on hikes.

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Amy Martin | Director of Development

Before Yellow Wood I: graduated with an MA in Special Education from Notre Dame de Namur and taught high school special education in Palo Alto, California. After moving back home to Seattle, my passion for helping others led me to the world of non-profit healthcare, where I grew my skills in development and fundraising. I worked with a wonderful group of midwives to launch a free women’s clinic in South Seattle, where I spent three years as the Executive Director.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: I have the privilege to build and maintain a robust development program, supporting our wonderful and unique community of exceptional learners.

Outside of work, I am energized by: spending time with my beautiful little girl Josephine, hiking, and running.

My favorite childhood memory is: playing kickball with the neighborhood kids, building treehouses, and gardening with my mom.

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Kaia Lind | Chief of Staff

Before Yellow Wood I: graduated from Concordia College with a degree in History and Latin Education. After that I managed a rural public library where I got to develop programs and work with both kids and adults. After moving to Seattle I worked with a tutoring company to launch a new branch and serve more students before I found my place at Yellow Wood Academy.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: I get to contribute to a school that truly puts its students first and focuses all of its decisions on what would help our students get the best possible education.

Outside of work, I am energized by: travelling with my partner to new places, especially places with cool art or history museums, hanging out with my dogs, Ada and Curie, and hunting out new bookshops.

My favorite childhood memory is: racing my brother on our bikes to the local hobby shop every Wednesday to spend our entire allowance on Pokemon cards and Dragon Ball Z action figures.

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Joe Shook | Director of Operations

Before Yellow Wood I: lived in Illinois and worked in both the financial aid and registrar's office at an online university for 13 years. Working there gave me new perspectives and appreciation for the many challenges students and families face when pursuing their educational goals. I try to keep those perspectives fresh in mind when working with families at YWA.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: we view the challenges students and families face on the individual level and don't use "one size fits all" solutions.

Outside of work, I am energized by: spending time with my family. If we're not at one of my kids' soccer or basketball games you'll likely find us hiking or fishing.

My favorite childhood memory is: taking family vacations to the Northwoods of Minnesota.

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Alyssa Rychard | Operations Assistant

Before Yellow Wood I: worked for a hospitality company in Downtown Seattle. It was a small office, and I wore lots of hats.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: helping children is the most rewarding job. No day is like any other, and it is a constant adventure.

Outside of work, I am energized by: Friends - Family - Sunshine - Animals - Laughter

My favorite childhood memory is: Family vacations for sure!

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Martha Che | Assistant Controller

Before Yellow Wood I: I worked in the accounting field for over 18 years. I specialized in everything from health, clothing manufacturing, grocery store management, to a CPA firm.

I Love Yellow Wood Because: of it's friendly environment, especially the staff!

Outside of work, I am energized by: traveling and food.

My favorite childhood memory is: playing hopscotch with neighborhood friends.

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