Zachary DeWolf

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Zachary DeWolf
Photograph of Zachary DeWolf
DeWolf in 2017
President of the Seattle School Board[2]
Assumed office
2019[1]
Preceded byLeslie Harris
Member of the Seattle School Board,
Position 5
Assumed office
November 28, 2017[3]
Preceded byStephen Blanford
Personal details
BornHavre, Montana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceSeattle, Washington
EducationWestern Washington University (BA)
OccupationPolitician

Zachary DeWolf is a queer, Indigenous American politician living in Washington State. He is President of the Seattle School Board from the District 5 seat. He is the first openly LGBTQ+ member elected to the Seattle School Board.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Zachary DeWolf was born Zachary Pullin[5] on January 22. DeWolf was born in Havre, Montana, which is close to his home on the Rocky Boy Reservation in Box Elder, Montana; he is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation.[6] He was raised in Spokane, Washington while his mother attended law school.[7] At the age of 7, he was featured in the Spokesman Review paper for collecting dimes from neighbors to donate to the newspaper's annual Christmas fund. The fund was used to provide Christmas gifts to children in need [33].[8]

After DeWolf graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington,[9] he volunteered for the United States Peace Corps[10] He served in Belize[11] where he learned Braille and taught Braille to elementary-aged students at St Peters Anglican School in Orange Walk, Belize.[12] In addition, he led a secret LGBTQ+ youth group, called EquALL Belize.[11] Together, they painted a peace and equality mural which was condemned by local Christian preachers.[11] Following the incident came threats on his life, and DeWolf was rushed to the capital of Belize, Belmopan.[11]

Career[edit]

In 2012, DeWolf became a coordinator for the SOULFORCE Equality Ride.[2] He went on to become their Director of Online Community in 2013.[13] In 2013, DeWolf joined the Gender Justice League as a founding member and helped launch the modern day iterations of Trans Pride Seattle in 2013.[13] In 2014, DeWolf joined the Institute for a Democratic Future as a fellow.[13]

Starting in 2014, DeWolf served as the Communications Project Lead for SEIU 775 Healthcare NW Training Partnership and Health Benefits Trust.[13] From 2015 to 2017, DeWolf served as the Director of Communications and Education for Pride Foundation.[13]

From 2017 to 2020, DeWolf served as the Program Manager for All Home of King County to support homeless youth with a specific focus on LGBTQIA+ youth and young people of color.[14]

Public service[edit]

From 2013 to 2017, DeWolf served as a member on the Native American Advisory Council for the Seattle Police Department.[13] During this time, he also organized community conversations called, “Intersections,” in collaboration with Seattle Gay News, Gay City, Social Outreach Seattle, and other organizations.[15]

Zachary DeWolf served as one of eight Grand Marshals in the Seattle Pride Parade of 2014.[16]

In 2014, Dewolf was elected as the Vice President of the Capitol Hill Community Council and elected president in 2015.[17] He served as the first queer and first native president of the council.[18] During his tenure, he led the council's successful charge for police to refer drug users to treatment instead of arresting them through a program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) as a joint effort between Capitol Hill and Chinatown/International District neighborhoods.[19] After an arson attack linked to Islamophobia against the Islamic Center of the Eastside in 2017, DeWolf led the council's efforts in raising funds to help rebuild the center.[20]

On February 23, 2015, DeWolf was appointed to the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Directors.[21]

Following the election of Donald Trump to the federal presidency, DeWolf began efforts alongside other community leaders to affirm that Capitol Hill remained a sanctuary neighborhood.[22]

In 2017, DeWolf spearheaded the movement to create the country's first-ever renter's commission in Seattle.[23] He was also the lead advocate for a citywide requirement for landlords to provide voter registration information to new tenants.[24]

Personal life[edit]

At the age of 21, DeWolf came out to his parents as gay,[11] and also identifies as two-spirit.[18]

In June 2019, he returned to his home in Montana to visit his ill grandmother. During this visit, he participated in a traditional sweat ceremony with his mother and uncle where he was given his Cree name - "Young Buffalo Leader".

In 2015, DeWolf was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance during a political fellowship program.[25] At first, Deolf kept this experience a secret, but ultimately (he has said) he found that telling his story contributed to his resilience.[25]

DeWolf lives in Seattle's Central District with his husband Derek and their dog Maya.[2]

Election history[edit]

With no prior experience as a professional educator or parent of a SPS student, In 2017, DeWolf ran for the 5th position on the Seattle School Board after Stephan Blanford declined to run for re-election.[26] DeWolf won the election with 64% of the vote.[27] He was the first openly gay man elected to the Seattle School Board.[28]

During his campaign, DeWolf was praised for his "track record as a public servant" (Seattle Weekly)[29] and "a little too qualified" (The Stranger).[30]

In 2019, DeWolf ran for the 3rd position on the Seattle City Council against incumbent Kshama Sawant.[31] DeWolf lost in a large primary with 12% of the vote.[32]

During his campaign, Dewolf was praised for "his willingness to build diverse coalitions and collaborate with his colleagues" (Progressive Voters Guide)[33] and "the candidate that best represents the working class" (Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Council).[34]

2017 election[edit]

Seattle School Board District 5, Primary Election 2017[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Zachary Pullin DeWolf 11,493 47.36%
Nonpartisan Omar Zasquez 4, 255 17.53%
Nonpartisan Andre Helmstetter 3,758 15.49%
Nonpartisan Alec Cooper 3,288 13.55%
Nonpartisan Candace Vaivadas 1,380 5.69%
Nonpartisan Write-in 93 0.38%
Turnout 27,349 40.36
Registered electors 67,759
Seattle School Board District 5, General Election 2017[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Zachary Pullin DeWolf 124,310 64.50
Nonpartisan Omar Vasquez 67,733 35.14
Nonpartisan Write-in 691 0.24%
Turnout 224,937 49.20%
Registered electors 457,220

2019 election[edit]

Seattle School Board District 5, Primary Election 2019[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Kshama Sawant 12,088 36.71%
Nonpartisan Egan Orion 7,078 21.49%
Nonpartisan Pat Murakami 4,279 12.99%
Nonpartisan Zachary DeWolf 4,147 12.59%
Nonpartisan Ami Nguyen 3,028 9.20
Nonpartisan Logan Bowers 2,250 6.83
Nonpartisan Write-in 59 0.18%
Turnout 33,599 45.95
Registered electors 73,123

Seattle School Board tenure[edit]

In 2018, the Seattle School Board implemented a new methodology behind their equity scoring system after soliciting feedback from community members.[38] DeWolf was also a vocal supporter of the SPS's move to change their meeting locations, in an effort to make their meetings more accessible.[39]

In 2019, DeWolf created the Seattle Public Schools Student and Community Workforce Task Force.[40] On July 8, 2020, the Seattle School Board successfully adopted their recommendation of directing the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent to enter into negotiations for a student and community workforce agreement.[41]

In January 2020, DeWolf led the Seattle School Board in disbanding Washington Middle School's Highly Capable Cohort, a system in which students could learn together while insulated from their non-'gifted' peers.[42] Due to the nature of the program, 84% of participating students were white compared to only 9% of participating black students.[42]

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, DeWolf led the School Board in approving a new grading policy of 'A or incomplete' for all students.[43] This measure's stated purpose was to support students who lacked resources to engage in online learning and students who lost vital resources found at their schools.

In June 2020, during the heightened Black Lives Matter protests, DeWolf led the Seattle School Board in suspending indefinitely the presence of five armed police officers in the school district,[44] the creation of a Black Studies course, and a board commitment to introducing an Anti-Racism policy.

From the Seattle Weekly: "As a first step in recognizing the students' efforts, SPS Board Director Zachary DeWolf—the resolution's main sponsor—dovetailed his approval of the Black Lives Matter resolution with comments about the students' testimony. 'This is just step one in a process of making sure that we're elevating their voice', DeWolf said towards the end of last week's meeting. 'I think that we have … an opportunity to have a really critical relationship with them in helping us to make sure that we're held accountable and also doing things in the best interest of our students of color and historically marginalized populations.'"[45]

In July 2020, DeWolf led the Seattle School Board in passing a resolution requiring LGBTQ+ affirming curriculum and gender-neutral restroom facilities, and requiring one Seattle school be renamed after an LGBTQ+ leader.[46][47]

References[edit]

  1. "Former District 3 candidate DeWolf selected Seattle School Board president". Capitol Hill Settle Blog. December 12, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Meet the Board". Seattle School Board. 2020. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  3. Sue Peters (November 28, 2017). "Congratulations to Newly Elected (And Re-Elected) Seattle School Board Directors Eden Mack, Zach DeWolf & Betty Patu!". Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  4. cornwell, Paige (October 25, 2017). "Unprecedented school board race features two men in their 30s who don't have kids". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  5. "Seattle Pride Announces Two More Marshals: Aleksa Manila and Zachary Pullin". Seattle Gay Scene. April 17, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  6. "Ope-ed: Same tribe, same acceptance". Advocate. January 3, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  7. "Two new commissioners appointed to Seattle Housing Authority Board". Seattle Housing Authority. February 25, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  8. "Arlington students give to children less fortunate". The Spokane Review. December 17, 1993. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  9. "Meet the Board". Seattle School Board. 2020. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  10. "Stories and Histories of indigenous two-spirit identities". NPR Next Generation Radio. October 25, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 "Op-Ed Same Tribe, Same Acceptance". The Advocate. January 3, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  12. "Sweep the Sweepers! Our Endorsements for the Nov. 7 Election". Seattle Weekly. October 18, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 "Zachary DeWolf". LinkedIn. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  14. "Stories and histories of indigenous and two-spirit identities". NPR Next Generation Radio. October 25, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  15. "Intersections - Bringing diverse communities together for change". Seattle Gay News. March 29, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  16. "Seattle Pride Announces Two More Marshals: Aleksa Manila and Zachary Pullin". Seattle Gay Scene. April 17, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  17. "Meet the YIMBYs". The C is for Crank. November 26, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Then and Now: 7 Amazing Two Spirit, LGBTQ Natives You Should Know". Indian Country Today. August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  19. "Capitol Hill, International District, and Central District Kick Out the War on Drugs". The Stranger. July 19, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  20. "Capitol Hill Community Council holding benefit for Bellevue mosque damaged in fire". Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. February 17, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  21. "Two new commissioners appointed to Seattle Housing Authority Board". Seattle Housing Authority. February 25, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  22. "Community leaders begin efforts toward Capitol Hill 'sanctuary neighborhood'". Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. January 9, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  23. "America's First Renters Commission May Start Up in Seattle". Strong Towns. March 15, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  24. "Landlords Are Now Required to Provide Voter Registration Info". Seattle Met. June 19, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "JAKE Talk: Zachary Pullin - My Home in a Story of Stories". YouTube. December 9, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  26. "On being the only black man on the Seattle school board". KUOW. June 29, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  27. "Election Results" (PDF). King County Elections. November 7, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  28. "Unprecedented Seattle School Board race features two men in their 30s who don't have kids". The Seattle Times. October 25, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  29. "Sweep the Sweepers! Our Endorsements For the Nov. 7 Election". Seattle Weekly. October 18, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  30. "The Stranger's Endorsements for the August 1, 2017, Primary Election". The Stranger. July 12, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  31. "After a little more than a year on Seattle's school board, Zachary DeWolf announces City Council campaign". The Seattle Times. June 4, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  32. "Election Results" (PDF). King County Elections. August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  33. "The Progressive Voter's Guide". Fuse WA. 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  34. "Labor Endorses Zachary DeWolf for Seattle City Council". MLK Labor Council. June 19, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  35. "Elections Results - Primary and Special Election" (PDF). August 1, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  36. "Elections Results - General and Special Election" (PDF). November 7, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  37. "Elections Results - Primary and Special Election" (PDF). August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  38. "The February ballot for Seattle's school construction levy, and how feedback changed it". The Seattle Times. October 16, 2018. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  39. "A first for Seattle Public Schools: coming to the people--'we'll have some tough conversations'". Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. March 4, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  40. "School Board Action Report" (PDF). Seattle Public Schools. June 10, 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  41. "School Board Action Report" (PDF). Seattle Public Schools. July 1, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  42. 42.0 42.1 "Washington Middle School to be turned into STEM school; 'highly capable' classes will go". January 22, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  43. "Seattle Public Schools adopts new grading model for high schools during closures: A or incomplete". Seattle PI. April 21, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  44. "Police presence at Seattle Public Schools halted indefinitely". The Seattle Times. August 12, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  45. "Seattle High School Students of Color Demand their Voices Be Heard". Seattle Weekly. February 5, 2018. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  46. "Seattle Schools to Include LGBTQ+ in Curriculum". Out. July 9, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  47. "To support queer youth identity, one Seattle school will be named after a LGBTQ+ leader, among other reforms". The Seattle Times. June 30, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.


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