Student Support Staff


Nathan Howden


Mr. Howden is excited to be joining the team at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy as a Counselor. He graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a M.Ed in School Counseling in 2014. He has worked in a variety of roles within the school setting including, working one-on-one with special needs students, co-teaching, subbing, and as a counselor. Prior to coming to RVLA Mr. Howden worked as a school counselor in Snohomish, King County, and as a youth and child therapist at a group practice in North Seattle. Mr. Howden is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate and a National Certified Counselor. He is looking forward to working with you and your family!


Mr. Howden enjoys listening to and playing music, spending time with his wife, traveling, reading, running, and hanging out with friends in Seattle.


Emily Bicknell

School Nurse

Nurse Emily is excited to return this year as the school nurse at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. She has a B.S. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and went to nursing school at Seattle University. She’s currently in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Seattle U with a specialization in nurse-midwifery. Before nursing school, she worked as a CNA at the University of Washington Medical School. She loves working with students and has many years of experience with kids through summer camps and childcare.

Emily was born and raised in King County and has lived in Seattle for the past ten years. She loves hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband. She’s looking forward to her second year with RVLA hopes to support our students by keeping them safe and healthy at school.



Deron Woods

Enrollment Specialist

Deron attended Lindbergh High School in Renton and West Virginia State University. At Verizon Wireless he worked on the management team for both customer service and finance. It was this work that sparked his interest to coach and work with youth which he has done the last 9 years.   In these years Deron has seen a need for mentorship and resources for our underserved kids. He realized that it started and ended with education so he decided to work in the charter sector to help give our kids a level playing field. His passion is to build unity with the school, family and community because he feels that it takes a village to help our youth succeed. Deron is excited to be here at RVLA to work with the students, families, staff and the community.

pasted image 0 (3)

Aimee Kelley

Parent and Community Engagement Coordinator

Aimee worked in education in the charter sector for eight years in Washington, DC and is thrilled to bring that expertise to the RVLA team. She spent most of that time working directly with parents and has taught ESL, Civics, and Digital Literacy. She also presented at organizations, schools and conferences on using technology in the classroom, family literacy and engagement, and differentiated instruction. She recently completed a term on the Board of Directors of the Washington Area TESOL Organization.

In her free time, she likes to build websites, read comic books, and work with youth. She also loves music and studied it at Bethel College. She plays seven instruments and has played in a wide variety of bands and orchestras.

Follow us:

Rainier Valley Leadership Academy

6020 Rainier Ave S,

Seattle, WA 98118

Phone: (206) 659-0956

Fax: (206) 905-6601