Equity first.

TAF MISSION

We build collaborative relationships with public education to create access to transformative systems of learning for students and teachers of color to eliminate race-based disparities in an increasingly diverse society.

The system is broken.

We’re fixing it.

Technology Access Foundation (TAF) is a Seattle-based nonprofit leader redefining K-12 public education throughout Washington State for all students and teachers, particularly those who identify as a person of color and are from traditionally underserved communities.

The current public education system was not designed for everyone to succeed and simply doesn’t work.

We partner with public school districts, universities, community, and corporate partners to improve learning opportunities and academic achievement for underrepresented students. Likewise, we empower emerging teachers and education leaders of color within public education with professional development and a network of support. Through the lens of equity and by using STEM as a tool for social change, our 360-degree approach to public education provides an opportunity to undo systemic oppression and make education a place where everyone wins.

We co-manage schools

TAF is the first and only nonprofit in WA state to co-manage public schools in partnership with school districts. Our current Academies include TAF@Saghalie and TAF@Washington Middle School.

We partner with schools

Through our School Transformation program, we forge strong district partnerships to transform existing public schools across the state into equitable learning communities where everyone thrives

We support educators

Through the Martinez Fellowship Program and Education EnCounter, we ensure students of color have teachers and school leaders that have a shared culture and understanding of who they are in the world and how to best educate them

Committed to equity since 1996.

Equity is not just a pillar of our work, it is woven throughout our programs, organization, and the way we operate. While our programs may evolve to make a greater impact, our core mission to improve public education for students of color remains at the root of what we do.

Our Story

In 1996, co-founders Trish Millines Dziko and Jill Hull Dziko opened TAF’s doors. Serving as TAF’s Executive Director, Trish left her 17-year career in the technology industry to start TAF in an effort to ensure students of color had access to the skills needed to compete in the growing technology scene. The first programs launched in 1997 were designed to prepare teenagers for tech-focused summer internships in programming, network engineering, web development, media production, and college preparation.

Recognizing the limitation of after-school programming, TAF built a five-year strategy in 2004 to reach as many students as possible by partnering with public school districts to offer support during school for students. In 2008, TAF Academy (now named TAF@Saghalie) became the only public school in Washington State to be co-managed by a nonprofit and a school district.

In 2014, TAF launched the STEMbyTAF School Transformation program to fully transform public schools with the STEMbyTAF model. In 2015, TAF was asked to take over the Martinez Fellowship Program which provides and supports multiple pathways to teaching, early career coaching, and ongoing professional development, in order to improve teacher diversity and the retention of teachers of color in Washington State.

Today, TAF is a thought leader and valuable asset to our students and teachers in the Washington State public school system and beyond. We impact over 24,000 diverse students and report a 95% on-time high school graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. We are building capacity to scale our programs throughout the state to redefine public education by transforming entire classrooms within schools and supporting educators and administrators to create environments where all students can thrive.

Leadership

TAF is led by a diverse group of individuals who are committed to improving the landscape of public education. With strong leadership, we have been able to forge partnerships with school districts, universities, companies, and the community to empower education leaders and help students succeed in STEM and beyond.

Executive Leadership

  • Trish Millines Dziko
    Trish Millines Dziko Co-founder, Executive Director
  • Sherry Williams
    Sherry Williams Executive Director of Operations
  • Heather Lechner
    Heather Lechner Executive Director of Education

Board of Directors Officers

  • Jamila Conley
    Jamila Conley President
  • Mary Beth Canty
    Mary Beth Canty Vice President
  • Tam Dang
    Tam Dang Treasurer
  • Katie Compton
    Katie Compton Secretary

Social Change

TAF is a leader in redefining STEM through its STEMbyTAF academic model to promote social change throughout public education and corporate industries. By examining the root cause of racial disparity in STEM fields, TAF has recognized socioeconomic status and neighborhood to be the largest barriers for students of color to receive a high-quality, industry-relevant public education. Those barriers inhibit many black and brown students from exploring technical careers and seeing them as a viable option post-graduation.

By intentionally working with public schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods and partnering with companies seeking diverse talent, TAF aims to create a bridge between K-12 education and industry. We challenge public school districts, local government, and companies to think outside the box and then we partner with them to provide opportunities where underrepresented students of color can master STEM concepts, explore new career pathways, break stereotypes, and become successful leaders of tomorrow. Additionally, our work in recruiting and supporting early-career educators and education leaders of color allows students to see themselves in school leadership. At the same time, school and district leaders of color are empowered to make systemic changes to abolish anti-racist practices and ensure public education serves all students. ​

STEMbyTAF for optimal student learning

Our STEMbyTAF learning model was developed, tested, and successfully implemented at our pilot school TAF Academy. The model, which is a sustained approach to instructional change and improved student learning, hinges on building strong relationships between teachers, students, and community partners while designing student-driven, relevant, learning experiences.

We set high expectations of all our students, and through our STEMbyTAF model, students receive the tools, resources, supportive network, and 21st-century STEM education to achieve academic success. Even more, our model eliminates race-based and socioeconomic disparity so all students can thrive in anti-racist classrooms led by educators who reflect, value, and center the learning around their identities and cultures.

THE FOUR PEDAGOGICAL PILLARS OF STEMbyTAF

STEM Integration

We cultivate opportunities for students and teachers to engage with STEM professionals and activities, both on and off-campus

Interdisciplinary PBL

Project-based learning allows students to purposefully respond to a real-world question and integrate multiple subject areas to learn academic concepts in a holistic way

Educational Technology

We develop the capacity for students and educators to use various software and technologies to be successful and competitive

College and Career Readiness

Students know that college is a viable option, are eligible for college admission, and are prepared for college without remediation

EQUITY AS A BASELINE FOR CHANGE

TAF creates safe environments of learning, inclusive of all people and cultures to build communities of high expectations where students are empowered to use their voice, take risks, and grow as learners and active citizens.