Mr. Chen is a proud resident of the Rainier Valley and thrilled to be the Founding Principal of Rainier Valley Leadership Academy in Southeast Seattle. He graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Economics and earned a Master of Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Mr. Chen earned his principal's credential from the University of Washington's Danforth Educational Leadership Program. He taught middle school math in South Central Los Angeles, earning National Board Certification in 2008. Mr. Chen returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 to teach in the Renton School District. Most recently, he was an Assistant Principal at Aki Kurose Middle School and served as proud principal of Graham Hill Elementary in Southeast Seattle.
When he's not exploring Seattle one meal at a time with his wife and daughters Elle and Coco, he cheers on the local teams while awaiting the return of his beloved Supersonics. Mr. Chen looks forward to partnering with diverse students, staff and families to ensure an excellent education for all students in southeast Seattle.
Ms. McCormick is honored to serve as the Founding Assistant Principal at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. A Northwest native, she received her B.A. from Willamette University and her Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She earned her Masters in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education in New York. Before joining Green Dot, Ms. McCormick taught middle school science for several years in Brooklyn, NY with Uncommon Schools and in Seattle. She has also worked in school administration in various capacities and conducted education policy research with the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Most recently, Ms. McCormick served as the founding Dean of Academics at Excel Public Charter School in Kent, WA.
When not being inspired by middle schoolers and the amazing educators with whom she gets to work, Ms. McCormick can be found adventuring in the mountains, exploring beautiful places, and playing with her dog.
Dean of Students
Ms.Rice is honored to be the founding Dean of Students at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. She grew up in the Portland, OR area and loves everything about Northwest living. She attended school at Eastern Washington University, where she received her degree in Education. After graduation she spent the next seven years teaching in some of the country's most amazing cities, such as New Orleans, San Diego, and New York City. While living in New York City, she attended Relay Graduate School of Education, where she received her Master's in Teaching. Last year, she returned to the Northwest to teach at Green Dot's Destiny Middle School in Tacoma, WA. Ms. Rice has been a part of several founding school teams and thoroughly enjoys challenges and rewards that come with opening up a new school.
In her spare time, Ms. Rice can be found doing something active, which could range from a fitness class, playing a game of catch, a rafting trip, or just a walk in the neighborhood. However, every Sunday during football season she can be found parked in front of a TV watching the Seahawks play. Ms. Rice also loves to explore new places. She has travelled all over the world and is already planning her next trip.
Director of School Operations
Mrs. Catchings is delighted to be the Founding Director of School Operations for Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. She graduated from University of Hawaii at West Oahu with a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis on Management. She has worked in a wide array of organizations including law enforcement, non-profits, government agencies, and education, giving her the unique perspective to work on a wide variety of projects and to partner with diverse groups of people. In education, she has worked for Hawaii’s largest charter school, assisting with organization, operations, recruitment and expansion.
Mrs. Catchings enjoys planning adventures around the sound, spending time with her husband and two kids, and trying delicious varieties of ice cream and sushi. She looks forward to working with awesome students, dedicated staff and involved families to create a unique school environment where all students can be successful and welcomed.