Meet the Team

Cassandra Johnston

Executive Director

Cassandra started with University Tutors for Seattle Schools (UTSS) in 2016 and has served as the Executive Director since September 2017.  


Prior to UTSS, she served two terms as President of the Seattle Council (SC) PTSA, where she launched a partnership between SPS, SCPTSA and local food banks to further the impact of “Food for Schools”, a program that provides weekend food backpacks for students.  Seattle Public Schools recognized her in 2015 for her outstanding service. She has also served as a member of the Seattle Mayor’s Education Advisory Committee, UWKC Impact Council, Chair of the Seattle Tutoring Coalition and the Board of the Woodland Park Zoo. 


Cassandra has four daughters and enjoys tennis, being on the water, and traveling.

Liz Ryan

Program Director

Liz seeks to better prepare, support, and empower educators in their work to provide quality education to all students. As a former elementary school teacher, Liz understands the dynamic and challenging realities of a classroom environment and the unfortunate disconnect that often exists between district policies and student growth. Her experiences in the classroom drew Liz to the education policy field where since 2015 she has worked with The Seattle Public Library, The National P-3 Center, The MEP program at UW, and Edunomics Lab to support programs that seek to better understand educator challenges and mentor them in their work.

In her role with UTSS, Liz collaborates with Seattle Public Schools and local community-based partners to put more qualified adults into classrooms and to support the development of meaningful relationships for students and teachers. She also develops and facilitates training opportunities for administrators, teachers, tutors, and other adults working in classrooms.

When not at work, Liz enjoys reading, baking sourdough bread, and playing outside with her husband and their dog.

Meet the Board

Anthony Drew

Budget and Finance Analyst

Seattle Public Schools

Anthony Drew is a Budget and Finance Analyst at Seattle Public Schools.  Previously, Anthony worked as a school finance researcher with the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. He earned his Master of Education Policy degree from the University of Washington. While working toward his degree, he served as a classroom tutor with UTSS, where his belief in the mission of the organization strengthened. He continues this important work as a member of the board.

Amy Yu

Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst


Growing up in a family of educators, Amy is passionate about UTSS’ mission in education – particularly in addressing the educational inequities that exist today. While her work as a financial professional in a global health non-profit sector is creating impact in Africa and Asia, she is looking for opportunities to affect change at home in Seattle. Upon joining UTSS, Amy brings her expertise in non-profit finances: building sustainable solutions to current public education challenges, and to bringing more effective and efficient assistance to public school educators. As the Treasurer of UTSS Board, she is looking forward to raising awareness to educational challenges in the Seattle public school system through fundraising campaigns and bringing more resources to classrooms and students in need. Amy holds a BA in Economics from Emory University. In her spare time, Amy enjoys traveling the world, water sports, and visual arts.

Kyle Morean

History & Social Studies Teacher, Ballard High School

Kyle is committed to improving the effectiveness of classroom teachers and increasing opportunities for students to receive more personalized and focused support. As a former UTSS tutor and a classroom teacher of 10 years, Kyle believes in the mission of the organization. Kyle joined the board of directors to support tutor recruitment, training and to expand the impact of UTSS. Currently, Kyle teaches 9th grade honors world history and 11th grade US history at Ballard High School. He is passionate about media literacy, blended learning, ethnic studies and dialogue across difference. Kyle is a SPS district leader in blended and digital learning and an active member of Ballard's STAR (Students and Teachers Against Racism). Before moving to Seattle in 2016, Kyle taught computer applications and media literacy and was Director of Student Portfolio Exhibition for 7 years at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington DC. In 2013 he was selected as an inaugural Education Innovation Fellows and in 2015 he worked as a Pulitzer Center & Project Zero Global Lens Teaching Fellow.

Marisa Bier

Founding Program Director,

Seattle Teacher Residency Program

Marisa is the Founding Program Director of the Seattle Teacher Residency program, a teacher preparation program directly serving Seattle's high poverty schools in partnership between Seattle Public Schools, the UW College of Education, the Seattle Education Association, and the Alliance for Education.  Prior to taking on this role in 2012, Marisa was Coordinator of the Secondary Teacher Education Program at the University of Washington. She was responsible for all aspects of the program, particularly ensuring cohesiveness between program curriculum and school practicum experiences, building partnerships with schools in which teacher candidates were placed, and facilitating the work of university coaches who supported teacher candidates in the field. Marisa has been an educator for 25 years, beginning her career as a special education teacher of students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism, ages Pre-K through 12th grade. While serving in a leadership role as a site coordinator of her school's university partnership, Marisa developed an interest in teacher education and the role practitioners play in supporting new teacher development. She came to Seattle to pursue her Doctorate in Education at the University of Washington, which she received in 2009. There, her studies focused on teacher learning across a continuum from novice to veteran, with a particular interest in learning as it is negotiated within communities of practice. When not focused on education, Marisa enjoys world travel, fitness, good food, and returning to her Jersey shore roots for some beach time.

Corey Little

Development Coordinator,

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound

Corey is an avid supporter of services/programs that level the playing field for all students accessing an equitable environment for learning. As someone who has favored non-traditional education, Corey seeks to empower students and educators with the right tools to ensure the best learning experience possible. Corey is a Madison, Wisconsin native and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community & Non-profit Leadership from the University of Wisconsin. Currently, he serves as the Development & Events Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound serving King, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties. Away from work, Corey enjoys hiking, camping, and home projects.

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