Mrs. Coleman attended Howard University for two years before coming back to Seattle to help her family through financial and medical hardship. She holds a BA from the University of Washington in Political Science and a minor in Law, Society & Justice. She also holds a Master's degree in Teaching with Special Education endorsements and has a second Master's in Educational Administration with principal certifications from Seattle University. Mrs. Coleman has presented at various national conferences such as ASCD, the National Principals Conference, WA Charters Association, and AMLE. She has consulted for Committee for Children on multiple occasions concerning social-emotional learning and has presented on various occasions for their national Second Step Leadership Institute conference.
Mrs. Coleman is on the board of First Place, and also serves on Radiant Church's Leadership Team as Vice-Chair. Mrs. Coleman is currently a founding fellow of the School Foundry. She is very active in her community and enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and an extensive extended family, as she is the 9th of 12 siblings. Mrs. Coleman believes in servant leadership; she understands no position is above her responsibility to the communities she serves.
Mrs. Coleman is a Washington state native that grew up in South Seattle and attended schools in the Central District. For almost two decades, Mrs. Coleman has served as an educator and administrative leader, including serving as the Founding Resident School Leader and Learning Specialist at Impact Public Schools, where she co-founded the education model. While at Impact she was solely responsible for creating a robust and successful decolonized social-emotional program amongst many other notable accolades. Before this, she served as an Assistant Principal, Preschool Co-Director, and Social-Emotional Coordinator at a local elementary school in North Seattle. In addition, she also served as an Academic Counselor, and Advisor at Rainier Scholars and an America Reads coordinator for the University of Washington. In all of her roles, Mrs. Coleman has been deeply invested in building authentic and trusting relationships with families and community stakeholders that support community voice and advocacy.
Director of Finance and Operations
Mrs. Catchings is delighted to be the Founding Director of Finance and 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.
Tynishia Williams is excited to serve as Rainier Valley Leadership Academy’s Middle School Assistant Principal. She graduated from Bethune Cookman University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. She also completed her Master’s Degree in Behavior Disorders from Nova Southeastern University.
Ms. Williams has fourteen years of experience in educational emphasis on special education and behavior management. Throughout her years as an educator, she has implemented school-wide positive behavior programs and provided behavior support to students and classroom teachers. She is an effective motivator, leader, and a team player. Her career has taken her to Kauai, Hawaii acting as support for students in multiple schools within the district. A desire to have a greater impact with students and the Rainier Community led her to her current position at RVLA.
Ms. Williams enjoys playing music and DIY projects. She is an active violinist and has played in a variety of bands. She currently plays violin for Champion’s Center’s worship team in Bellevue, WA.
Dean of Academics
English Language Learner Coordinator
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Erica Carmichael has 15 years of experience in Education. She received her Masters in Educational Leadership from Kennesaw State University, and her undergraduate degree in Middle Grades Education with a concentration in English Language Arts & Social Science from the University of West Georgia. After graduation, she accepted a teaching job back in her community- which is the fourth largest school district in Georgia. In this school district she was part of the Curriculum Writing team and trained new and veteran teachers on the Georgia Performance Standards. Working closely with nonprofit organizations and business partners she was able to provide the best learning experiences for young learners.
In 2012, Erica Carmichael decided to broaden her teaching career and relocated to the United Arab Emirates taking her 3 year old daughter on this journey with her. Living and working abroad opened up many opportunities of traveling to over 13 countries and meeting lifetime friends from all around the world. After 5 years in Abu Dhabi, the love for living abroad continued and she then moved to Thailand for two years. Understanding the exposure to different cultures and languages expands the mindset of what the future of Education is. Certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Business English, and Test Preparation she believes our school community can play a key part in providing post-secondary options for our scholars.
Ms. Carmichael enjoys giving back to the community with her sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; supporting small black owned businesses, and traveling with family and friends.
Unconditional Education Coach/Dean of Students
Yonas Fikak joins RVLA by way of working for Seneca Family of Agencies as Unconditional Education Coach-School and Climate Specialist. The most inspiring part of his job is the privilege of serving students who need people to show up for them, not only as someone who cares about their learning but also as a mentor. He is the first one in his family to graduate from a 4-year college, and immigrated to the USA at the age of 16. When not working, he enjoys playing soccer, basketball, listening to music & NPR, spending time with friends and family, writing poetry, and reading nonfiction, and much more. He would love to learn more languages. He has lived in Eritrea, Germany, Everett, and New York City.
Previously, Yonas was a Dean of School Culture at Rainier Prep, taught at Success Academy Charter School and worked for City Year as both an AmeriCorps Member and a Program Manager. Yonas attended Whitman College (BA) and Touro College (MA).