Born and raised in Seattle, Liza is a former Seattle Public Schools student who, after several years on the East Coast as a theater professional and college educator, returned to her hometown to raise her boys near family. With a Master’s degree of Fine Art in Scenic Design for Theater, she was a faculty member at CUNY: Queens College as well as a freelance designer and painter On- and Off-Broadway, NYC, and the surrounding area before moving back to Seattle in 2010. Almost immediately, she became deeply engaged in special education and early learning, which lead to supporting educators and quality public education for all students.
Liza has been supporting teachers and families in Seattle beginning when her older son started at the infant-toddler program at the EEU at UW, a comprehensive early childhood school community that provides inclusive education to children with and without disabilities. Since then, she has been heavily involved in all things public school-related, always seeking information and solutions. She has served on the Boards of several community organizations, including SPACE in Magnuson Park, Seattle Council PSTA, and the Wedgwood Elementary PTA. As a volunteer or invited visitor, she’s been to half of Seattle’s 102 public schools in person, and has relationships with community members at all but a handful of the second half, giving her great insight into the successes and the challenges of the Seattle school district.
A firm believer in equity and inclusion, Liza has assisted families with open enrollment, attended IEP meetings as a volunteer advocate at the request of parents, organized supply drives, written resource guides for families and teachers around specific issues, rehabbed playgrounds, connected communities across the district to advocate together, packed weekend food bags, walked picket lines with educators and bus drivers, and written oh so many emails.
At the district level, she has testified at and attended countless school board regular and committee meetings, supported engagement and advocacy of parents all over Seattle, and worked directly with Superintendents and staff on high-level issues and policies, both as a community member and as a board member of Seattle Council PTSA. She has advocated against staffing cuts and displacements, for equitable boundaries and student assignments, for inclusive programs and stability for special education students, for a bell time and transportation schedule that eliminated unreasonably early and late start times, for unique programs that serve our diverse student body, and for student- and educator-led efforts like Black Lives Matter at School and Ethnic Studies.
This work led her to engaging in Washington State legislative issues, and Liza has advocated in Olympia, formed working relationships with state legislators, created artwork and messaging for advocacy campaigns, and provided understanding of issues and sample messages to encourage broader advocacy efforts in the SPS parent community.
Liza has become a trusted and knowledgable source of information and support all over the district, online via the Facebook group Soup for Teachers, and in PTA as a vice president, legislative chair, communications chair, and leader in parent equity work, engaged in the above-mentioned efforts. Her collaborative skills, board experience, and deep knowledge of education and Seattle Public Schools’ diverse communities and central offices will make her an effective and engaged board member from day one in the work to better serve Seattle’s kids.
She lives in the Meadowbrook/Lake City area of North Seattle with her husband, two sons (both SPS elementary students), three cats, the best dog in the world, and a rotating cast of foster dogs.
Education and Professional Background
Scenic Artist & Set Designer
Regional, Off-B’way, Broadway
Worked as a freelance scenic artist (painter and sculptor) and designer in greater Seattle area including UW and Village Theater in Issaquah, in New York City and surrounding states including New York Theater Workshop, Berkshire Theater Festival, Westport Country Playhouse; managed budgets, schedules, staff for scenic work, taught and managed interns
Faculty - adjunct lecturer and practicum instructor
CUNY: Queens College
Taught Introduction to Theater Design, served as scenic charge artist for Department of Drama, Theater, and Dance productions, taught practicum students in the scene shop in scenic painting and construction
Master of Fine Arts, Theater Design
2004 - 2007
Brandeis University, Massachusetts
Intensive three-year degree program in design for theater, area of focus scenic design and painting.
Bachelor of Arts
1996 - 2000
Whitman College, Walla Walla WA
Major in Theater Arts, Minor in Education