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Education is a powerful force that changes lives, communities, and the world.   

We’re asking educators and supporters of public education, “what is your why?” Your WHY is your purpose, who you are, your cause, what you stand for and what you believe.   

What drives you to make a difference in students’ lives? Their stories are personal and reflect the lived experiences that have shaped, motivated and driven them to make our community a better place. 


We Believe: Lincoln Nguyen, Student, Lincoln High School Class of 2022

Lincoln Nguyen, student, Lincoln High School class of 2022 

“Through education, we not only understand ourselves better, but the world around us. Education is important to me because it creates opportunity for anyone. How you seize those opportunities is ultimately up to you and your passions.” 

More We Believe Videos

We Believe: Dr. Natasha Wyatt, Principal, Fern Hill Elementary

Dr. Natasha Wyatt, Principal, Fern Hill Elementary 

“Students need to be seen, heard, and taught through a culturally responsive lens. I want to create spaces for change and spaces where families feel like collaborative partners in their student’s education. My why is to build community; it is to make the past, present, and future schools where I serve feel like home.” 

We Believe: Ravi and Karen Jaskar

Ravi and Karen Jaskar, husband and wife; TPS parents; Counselors, Hunt Middle School and Sherman Elementary 

“We want to see a world where every student has the opportunity to be who and what they want to be.  We work to make this a reality by getting to know every student in our schools and helping them find their path in life.” 

Angelina Nicole Nockai

Angelina Nicole Nockai, Indian Education Advisory Board Member, Native American Cultural Specialist, Artist in Residence, TPS Graduate and TPS parent. 

“My WHY has always been to share my Native American culture – I want everyone to know that we are still here. I foster a passion, a pride, a sense of belonging and community to my intertribal students.” 

Steve Primas, Social Worker, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) 

Steve Primas, Social Worker, Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) 

“I believe that every student should be treated as an investment and given the same grace and support we’d give to a significant community member. I am committed and desire to be a positive influence for our students and staff alike.” 

Elizabeth Brobbey, Teacher, Tacoma Online

Elizabeth Brobbey, teacher, Tacoma Online 

“I believe that for students to learn and grow, they need to be able to connect with their teachers. They need to feel the passion of their teachers. They need someone who cares, loves, and sincerely believes in them.” 

Micah Haven, Music Teacher, Meeker Middle School

Micah Haven, Music Teacher, Meeker Middle School

“There is a musician in ALL of us. I believe every student has their own unique ‘music,’ and my job is to help them discover and learn how to express it. Their music is part of who they are.”

Sulja Wrnick, Retired TPS Teacher and founder of the Korean Women's Association

Sulja Warnick, Retired TPS teacher and founder of the Korean Women’s Association

"My belief is that teaching breeds learning, learning breeds understanding, understanding breeds good citizenship, which leads to wonderful communities – in the neighborhood and in the city, in the state, country and, indeed the world!”

Watch in English: Clara Stewart, Tacoma Public Schools Dual Language Teacher

Clara Stewart, Dual language teacher, Blix Elementary School

“It is a privilege to use my mother tongue and my second language to intertwine cultures from all around the world. It is a joy when a student comes to me and says, ‘I know this, and I know it in Spanish.’ That tiny moment is my why!”

Ver vídeo en Español: Clara Stewart, Maestra Bilingüe en Tacoma Public Schools

Clara Stewart, Maestra Bilingüe, Blix Elementary School

“Es un privilegio utilizar mi lengua madre y mi segundo idioma para entrelazar las culturas de alrededor del mundo. Es una alegría cuando un estudiante me viene y me dice, ‘Esto lo sé y lo sé en español’. ¡Ese pequeño momento es mi por qué!”

Sade Morris, Mason Middle School, Stadium High School

Special Education Teacher, Mason Middle School, Head Coach, Stadium High School Girls’ Basketball, Varsity Coach, Mason Middle School Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball.

“There are times that our youth need someone other than their family to believe in them or to tell them everything is going to be okay. I am going to be the reason a student comes to school or comes to practice; I know there is some young soul who needs what I can provide.”