About us

Partnership for Tacoma Public Schools is a cooperative relationship between students, families, schools, school districts, and the greater Tacoma community. Partners are committed to supporting student academic success and the whole child. Partners work with and invest in the education of our children and youth—whose future, in turn, will affect the quality of life in the entire Tacoma community.

Contact us

Central Administration Building
302 South 9th Ste 101 
Tacoma, WA 98402

Amanda Scott-Thomas, Director


Amanda’s career spans 20 years in public service. A graduate of the Evergreen State College, Tacoma, she has worked in the non-profit sector, as well as public health education, positive youth development, community-building and state policy. Amanda also served as an administrator in the Office of Community & Youth Development for the Arizona Governor s Office in Phoenix, Arizona. This wealth of experience has provided her with the skill set necessary to serve Tacoma’s young people and community as Director of Community Partnership, Academic Equity and Achievement.

Amanda was formerly the Education Policy Director for School’s Out Washington, an agency dedicated to providing resources and guidance for organizations that give young people safe places to learn and grow outside of school. She continues to support the mission and vision of School’s Out Washington by serving as a Board Member.

At TPS, Amanda is committed to achieving the district's goal to “fully engage parents, community, staff, and young people” in the education of our children. Amanda and her husband Shannon consider service to community their lifestyle and are the proud parents of two adult children. Follow her on Twitter: @AmandadotEdu

Merilee Tanbara, Coordinator

253-571-7982 |

Merilee joined Tacoma Public Schools in April 2013. Her background in systems development, project management and asset-based community development directly benefits our department's efforts to build partnerships between schools, families and the community.

Previously Merilee was a contractor with the City of Tacoma, co-managing a U.S. Department of Justice grant. She's also served as the USDOJ Tacoma Weed and Seed Coordinator, and developed a Youth Peer Leadership Program for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service in Seattle.

Merilee is currently working toward earning a Masters degree in Public Administration. Her children are the third generation in her family to attend Tacoma Public Schools. Merilee, a graduate of McCarver Elementary, Jason Lee Junior High and Stadium High School, fondly remembers the many great Tacoma Public Schools teachers who provided her a quality education.

Talana Penton, Administrative Secretary

253-571-7980 |

Talana joined Tacoma Schools in 2013. Talana has come to the district with a passion for supporting the Tacoma community. She is a Clover Park College graduate and a community organizer. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood development programs and community outreach in the Tacoma Hilltop and Salishan communities. Talana values education and finds value helping children and families reach their full potential. As a product of the Tacoma School District, Talana understands the importance of serving within the community that helped her accomplish her goals- while providing “service with a smile.”