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Meet Sonya Claxton, SOWA’s Expanded Learning Opportunities Quality Director

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under School's Out News

As the field of expanded learning opportunities and the importance of quality have been elevated over the past few years, SOWA has created this new position to oversee our statewide efforts and ensure we are supporting the field in a comprehensive way.  Sonya’s positive energy and broad background in education will bring a depth of knowledge and experience to our team. Take a few moments to meet Sonya.

Where are you from?

I was born in Great Falls, MT and moved to Detroit, MI when I was 18 months old. When my parents divorced, my mom moved us back to Montana when I was in the fourth grade to the small town where she grew up (Chester, MT) which is only 2 square miles big; I graduated high school with only 18 other faces. I went on to attend college in Billings, MT at Montana State University-Billings (formerly Eastern Montana College). In March of 1998, I moved to Seattle and have lived here ever since. I fondly call Seattle home since I have lived here longer than any other one place.

What do you like to do in your own time?

I love spending time with my family and friends as these circles contain the most important people in my life. I also enjoy playing and watching sports as well as attending sporting events, especially basketball. Because I grew up playing sports and being around brothers who were athletes, working out is something that is part of my daily routine at least 4-6 days/week.

What brought you to SOWA?

In my search to deepen my daily work in the education field, over the past year I have been looking for a new opportunity in order to take my career and skills to the next level. After a long search, finding the right fit for me was of utmost importance. The work SOWA does in program quality and racial equity really drew me to the organization and after several meetings and my final interview, I knew SOWA was the organization in which I wanted to become part of the team.

Tell us one thing you are proud of?

I am proud to be part of an organization where there is an intentional focus on racial equity and work around tackling structural racism issues as it relates to the success of children and youth. As a bi-racial youth growing up in Montana where there were very few people of color in the entire state, I faced racial equity injustices on a regular basis, all of which were challenging and difficult; something a young person shouldn’t have to deal with on a daily basis.

Because of the work SOWA does in the arena of racial equity, both within the organization and amongst programs we support and work closely with, I can find peace in knowing that youth engaged in these programs won’t endure the racial inequities I experienced growing up in Montana. In addition, I can find comfort in knowing each day I come to work, I am part of a team where our racial differences are celebrated and honored versus ridiculed or condemned.

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