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City’s Leadership Program Graduates New Class of Civic Organizers

2014 PACE GraduatesOn May 20, 26 “up-and-coming” community leaders celebrated their graduation from the People’s Academy for Community Engagement, a program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON). Known as PACE, the nine-month program provides leadership training in community involvement and civic engagement to emerging leaders interested in serving their community. Deputy Mayor Andrea Riniker, City Councilmember Sally Clark, and Bernie Matsuno, director of DON, attended the event at Seattle City Hall along with family members, community leaders, and city staff.

The graduating class represents all sectors of the city and more than half are from historically underrepresented communities. “This PACE experience, along with their personal understanding of the opportunities and challenges of various cultures, will make their efforts to engage others in civic processes extremely successful,” said Bernie Matsuno, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “The graduates will strive to ensure that ALL people have a voice.”

In addition to attending sessions held at Seattle University, the participants had monthly homework assignments and put their skills to the test as they worked collaboratively on community-based projects which were presented at the celebration. A PACE graduates describes her experience with the program. “What I really have gotten out of the program is what it means to be an American,” said Muriel Lawty, one of the PACE graduates.  “Government is us! It’s all of us together finding ways to make it work. PACE really brought that home to me, and has given me the skills and inspiration to go out and do ‘neighborhood’ work.”

Information about PACE and future seminars which are open to the public will be available later this year. To learn more contact Wendy Watson at 206.684.0719 or visit

2014 PACE Graduating Class

PACE Graduate                            Organization/Community Group

Matthew Anderson                          Senior Housing Assistance Group Resident Council

Eileen Canola                                 Victory Heights Community Council

Angela Davis                                  African American Community Advisory Council

Lloyd Douglas                                Cascade Neighborhood Council

Jim Erickson                                   East District Council

Dinorah Flores                                South Park Information and Resource Center

Alexis Gallegos                              Greater Duwamish District Council

Connor Haffey                                Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce

Yemaya Hall-Ruiz                          ELLA (Empowering Latina Leaders in Action)

Amanda Kay Helmick                     Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council

Michelle Hippler                             Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

Katherine Idziorek                          Uptown Alliance

Cheryl Klotz                                   Community Gathering Space Movement

Michael Lanthier                             Squire Park Community Council

Muriel Lawty                                  Lake City Neighborhood Alliance

Damaris Pearson                             Leo Street P-Patch

Andrea Perr                                    Roosevelt Neighbors Alliance

Tod Rodman                                   Morgan Community Association

Paul Sivesind                                  Ballard District Council

Mark Temmel                                 Mt. Baker Community Club

Julianna Tesfu                                GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully)

Jodee Thelen                                  Seattle Housing Authority

Olu Thomas                                    Central Area Cherry Street Development

Jennifer Tippins                              Seattle Chinatown International District PDA

Ralph Weathers                              Fremont Neighborhood Council

Shelby Weitzel                               Seattle Public Schools Family Connectors