Our Staff & Leadership

A highly skilled, energetic and committed group of folks keeps 826 Seattle humming. Our team represents a fabulously diverse group of thinkers, educators, and engaged citizens who are ready to converse with you...in any number of languages!

Our Staff & Leadership


Teri Hein
Executive Director
826 Seattle’s executive director taught for 25 years before starting 826 Seattle. She is a published author of numerous essays and stories including her memoir, Atomic Farmgirl. Teri has won awards for both her writing and teaching, including a Fulbright Scholarship for research into different educational styles in Latin America. She converses comfortably in Spanish.

Alicia Craven
Director of Programs
Alicia taught English and elementary science abroad in Thailand and Ecuador for two years before returning to the northwest. Her BA in Spanish literature, political science, and psychology is from the University of Oregon Honors College, as is as her ELL certification. She converses comfortably in Spanish.

Peggy Jackson
Director of Development
After eleven years at Microsoft with a focus on internal marketing, communication, and training, Peggy has now worked in development for Seattle-area educational nonprofits for more than six years. She holds a BA in French from the University of Washington.

Larisa Lumba
Director of Operations
After owning and operating a fine-dining restaurant, Larisa worked for eleven years as a nonprofit accountant for several environmental organizations. Mostly recently, she was Controller for a geothermal energy company headquartered in Seattle. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Washington and a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University.

Justin Allan-Spencer
Store and Design Manager
Justin has worked as a designer for over a decade and has 15 years experience in the niche retail industry. He has taken performance production and art classes at Cornish College of the Arts and Everett Community College.

Melat Assefa
Youth Mentor
A senior at Ballard High School, Melat has been participating in 826 Seattle events since 2005. She plays tennis and is active in Ballard High’s Academy of Finance. She also mentors incoming freshman through her school's Link Crew.

Humaira Barlas
Humaira received her MBA in marketing from the University of Hartford, CT and a Bachelors of Commerce from Hailey College of Commerce in Pakistan. Before coming to 826 Seattle, she worked for the Lupus Foundation for nine years. She can communicate in English, Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi.

Alaina Buzas
Events and Outreach Manager
With a BS in Journalism from Bowling Green State University, Alaina has worked both in and out of newsrooms as a reporter, photographer, graphic designer and editor. Before joining the staff, she volunteered at both 826 Seattle and 826 Chicago.

Joe Concannon
Programs Assistant
A graduate of Carleton College with a BA in Religion, Joe has worked as a writing teacher and camp counselor for kids of all ages. He is the author of Northwest Brewing Magazine's popular "Ales and Trails" column.

Brooke Matson
Programs Manager
Before joining 826 Seattle, Brooke taught at an experiential high school in Spokane for seven years. The Moons, her first full-length collection of poetry, was published by Blue Begonia Press in 2012. Her poetry has also been published in Weathered Pages (Blue Begonia Press, 2005), Floating Bridge Review, and various issues of RiverLit, for which she is the 2014 Poet in Residence.

Leslie McCallum
Operations Coordinator
Leslie is gifted at creating birthday cards, banners and theme apparel. She has no fear of tall ladders, small repairs, and organizing databases. Her career started at 826 Seattle as a volunteer and she is currently indispensable as our OC.

Haddy Njie
Youth Mentor
Haddy is a junior at Ingraham High School. When she is not competing with her ultimate frisbee team, Haddy participates in Fandom club and does her homework. She has been attending 826 Seattle tutoring since last year and hopes to be a nurse someday.

Sean Palmer
Store Assistant
Sean has studied astronomy and worked in music journalism and website design. He has been involved in the Seattle arts community for the last ten years, two of which were spent volunteering in the Greenwood Space Travel Supply store.

Sue Spang
Programs and Publishing Manager
Sue has a BA in Classical Language and Literature from Lawrence University, in addition to graduate work in Book History and Print Culture at the University of Toronto. More recently, she has worked as a college admissions counselor and an independent school instructor.

Travis Thompson
Volunteer Manager and HR Administrator
Travis spent four years in Cambodia teaching high school English, managing volunteers, and doing development work for an education foundation. After graduating from the journalism school at University of Missouri, he was a television reporter. He converses comfortably in Cambodian.

Work with 826 Seattle!
Open Positions

Board of Directors

Teri Hein
Executive Director of 826 Seattle and board member emeritus

Mia Ellis
Board Chair; Northwest native; mom; Founding Executive Director of Summer Search Seattle; current Summer Program Coordinator for Summer Search National

Ted Dworkin
Board Vice-Chair; Software and Content Development Manager in Microsoft’s Windows Experiences group

Steve Feth
Board Treasurer; currently a Manager of Planning at REI in Seattle with twenty years of retail experience in product management and financial planning for different retailers around the country

Caroline Maillard
Board Secretary; Senior Officer, Community Leadership at The Seattle Foundation

John Zagula
826 National Board Representative; Managing Director and Founder of Ignition Capital and Qiming Ventures China; board member Oriental Cambridge Schools, China; former General Manager of Global Campaigns, Microsoft

Janet Buttenwieser
Writer; Mom; former Teen Services Librarian for the King County Library System

Deborah Clothier
Retired attorney at Yarmuth Wilsdon Calfo; volunteer in development work at the Northwest African American Museum; member of the Friends of Jimi Hendrix Park Committee

Howard Cutler
Former Director and Executive Producer of Interactive Media at WGBH Boston; member and former chair of Plan USA’s Board of Directors; elected rep to Plan International’s governing body

Michael Dix
CEO and Co-Founder of Intentional Futures, an innovation studio; board member of Charity Navigator; former General Manager at Microsoft.

Caroline Dodge
Former Promotions and Events Director of The Stranger; current Community Engagement Director of KUOW 94.9FM

Lindsay Hill
Former 4th-grade teacher; proud mom; founding Executive Director of Teach For America – Washington

Pam MacEwan
Special Assistant to the CEO; Washington State Health Benefits Exchange

Lynn Resnick
Part of the creative team for Sasquatch! Music Festival; army brat; mom; lover of good books and great music

Tom Robbins
Novelist; short story writer; essayist

Advisory Council

Timothy Egan
Journalist and Author

Dave Eggers
Author, Founder of 826 National and McSweeney’s Publishing

David Guterson

Cyndee Kraiger
Director, Strategic Programs, Microsoft

John Morefield
U.W. Center for Educational Leadership

Anne Mulherkar
Founder, Powerful Writers

Nancy Pearl
Public Radio Librarian and Author

Sherry Prowda
Founder, Seattle Arts & Lectures

Shawn Rediger
Partner at Williams Kastner Law Firm

Youth Advisory Board

Our Youth Advisory Board is a group of motivated high school students providing 826 Seattle a student’s perspective on programs while also serving as mentors and role models for other students. We are proud of our diverse, committed group of youth who advise us on programming, do outreach in their schools, represent 826 Seattle in the community and act as an editorial board for our publications. And, we often do all of this while enjoying a slice (or two) of pizza.

Students who participate as active members of the Youth Advisory Board receive community service credits for their efforts.

We are now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year. Please submit applications by Thursday, July 31st. We will begin reviewing applications in August and inform applicants before the start of the school year. Please view the application here.

Our 2013-2014 YAB:

Melat Assefa - Junior, Ballard High School
Finn Colando - Junior, The Center School
Lucy Corbit - Senior, The Center School 
Brook Geleta - 8th Grade, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences
Laura Malatos - Freshman, Northwest School
Haddy Njie - Sophomore, Ingraham High School
Cece Rosenman - Junior, Mercer Island High School
Jasmine Sun - Freshman, Interlake High School
Sam Zagula - Junior, Northwest School