About Jonathan Knapp



   Twice-elected president of the Seattle Education Association, the largest educators’ local in the Pacific Northwest. In 3 years transformed SEA from a union without vision or clout into one of the highest performing education locals in the state. Oversaw staff of 8. Managed $2.4 million annual budget. Demonstrated effective leadership with proven interpersonal skills and visionary strategic planning and execution experiences. Aligned strategic priorities with financial and human resources to transform organizational effectiveness in a dynamic and sensitive political environment.   

  Organizational Overview 

· Bringing SEA from the brink of insolvency to the strongest financial local in the state · Fostering a new climate in Seattle for re-envisioning public education · Positioning SEA as the go-to organization in Seattle for public education issues · Producing unprecedented levels of member engagement in 5600-member local · Building strong relationships with community partners · Bargaining a “third way” for student growth in teacher evaluation · Winning a strike that galvanized parents and educators to come together for public education · Maintaining strong relationships with district leadership through multiple superintendents and even through the strike · Demonstrating that through strong and purposeful leadership a local can be transformed into an effective, high-functioning entity  

Areas of expertise

· Winning hearts and minds of peer leaders · Organizational vision and goal development · Organizational strategic planning · Project development, planning and implementation · Chairing union governance bodies and committees · Budget development and oversight · Directing implementation of union decisions  · Building consensus among divergent perspectives and interests · Negotiating innovative solutions · Finding ways to collaborate without capitulating  · Adapting to changing realities · State and municipal lobbying · Developing and maintaining relationships with political leaders · Community relations and public outreach  · Member communications · Message development · Public speaking; media spokesperson · Grant writing · Speech writing; editorial writing · French language fluency; Spanish language proficiency  


Related Activities

Presenter at 2016 NEA Leadership Summit about how to organize for a successful strike · Presenter at 2015 NEA Leadership Summit about how to make your local effective · Co-presenter with Linda Darling-Hammond at 2014 NEA Representative Assembly about Teaching and Learning issues in local union transformation · Presenter at 2013 NEA Representative Assembly about building local union power through leader identification · Presenter on leadership at 2014 Seattle Chamber of Commerce Conference  · Oversight Committee member of City of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy 2014-16 · Interview panel member for candidates for the city’s Director of the Department of Early Education and Learning 2015 · Member of City of Seattle’s working group for early childhood education initiative 2014-15 · Co-chair of Schools First levy campaign coalition 2013 & 2016 · President of the Board of the Sound Alliance for community organizing 2015-16 · Board member and trustee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council 2014-16 · Executive Committee member for Race to the Top grant 2013-15 · Steering Committee member for the Seattle Teacher Residency 2012-16 · Board member for Washington Education Association 2010-16 · Served on WEA Human and Civil Rights Committee 2015-16 · Served on WEA Change, Innovation, and Assessment Committee 2014-15 · Five-time delegate to the National Education Association Representative Assembly · Six-time delegate to the Washington Education Association Representative Assembly · Chaired SEA Budget and Finance Commission 2012-16 · Chaired SEA Contract Waiver Commission 2012-16 · SEA Grievance Review Commission 2010-16 · Logistical support liaison for French delegation to WTO protest in Seattle 1999  


Union Leadership

  President, Seattle Education Association  2012-2016  Transformed SEA from a low-functioning entity into a high-functioning education local with a growing national reputation for innovation. 


Created and refined strategic plan for transformation of SEA · Founded “Building Blitz” member organizing campaign strategy using 1-on-1 relational organizing techniques and trained staff to do it · Developed “Peer Leader” identification strategy for use during building blitzes · Developed and led peer leader engagement strategy to galvanize member engagement in the union · Pioneered 40-member bargaining team comprised solely of peer leaders · Garnered unanimous membership support for 2015 strike · Won ground-breaking language on elementary recess, equity in student discipline, limits on standardized testing, teacher evaluation, and ESA caseloads in 2015 strike · Bargained innovative educator contracts with national implications for public sector collective bargaining, pioneering “bargaining for the common good” strategies · Obtained collaborative agreement with School District to create and pilot electronic teacher evaluation tool (eVal system) · Obtained collaborative agreement with School District to create and pilot teacher evaluation training modules and create teacher evaluation train-the-trainer system using peer leaders · Built strong relationships with municipal, county, state and national politicians · Lobbied legislators successfully to refuse U.S. Department of Education pressure to change teacher evaluation legislation in order to qualify for an ESEA waiver – first state to reject the waiver · Provided Washington Senator Patty Murray with only teacher in America to testify on ESEA reauthorization · Set the example for let-the-states-choose model for evaluation growth measures in ESSA · Served as community organizer for SEA, building strong relationship with leaders in parent, education reform, and community services organizations · Participated in Annenberg scan of community-based organizations for education alliances sponsored by NEA; developed relationships with identified potential partners · Trained peer identified leaders in schools to become community liaisons and organizers · Served as board chairperson and trainer for IAF community organizing affiliate · Wrote successful grant applications for NEA grants, including the first cohort of NEA’s GPS grant with a 3-year, $750,000 award · Co-created and co-organized conference on education reform trends for general public, featuring Finnish education expert Passi Sahlberg as keynote speaker · Negotiated partnership agreement for creation of the Seattle Teacher Residency Masters in Teaching program · Created union support program for National Board certification for member teachers · Created union support program for ProTeach certification for member teachers · Negotiated successful collaboration of 7 south King County school districts and their unions for the Race to the Top District grant – one of only two applications nationwide to receive full $40M funding · Achieved highest level of PAC membership growth in the state two years running · Achieved highest level of membership participation in the state for I-1351 Class Size Counts campaign · Culminated statewide action by Washington locals on unconstitutionally inadequate state funding of public education with 5,000-person political rally in downtown Seattle · Ran several successful member-driven campaigns led by peer leaders (including the strike) · Developed and implemented successful 3(1)g Inclusive Diversity Plans that brought SEA into compliance and has kept it in compliance · Transformed disjointed Board of Directors with personal agendas into a body that united around a common vision of union effectiveness · Reduced agency fee payers by 65% following the strike · Built SEA into a respected leader in the community of organized labor in King County · Served as public spokesperson for SEA in the media and in editorial writing   

Vice-President, Seattle Education Association  2010-2011   Began to formulate plans for union transformation based on experience and work as vice president. 


· Developed and implemented a process of member consultation that reversed SEA’s financial decline and in four years made it the strongest financial local in the state · Chaired 2010 bargaining team · Created a framework for teacher evaluation during 2010 bargaining that created a “third way” for teacher evaluation, avoiding direct evaluation by standardized test score  · Seattle’s approach to student growth in teacher evaluation became the template for state legislation on teacher evaluation in 2012 · Crafted proposal in 2010 bargaining for a process to allow school communities to transform their school’s learning environment · Carried out organizing campaign to push district into a contract agreement and avoid a devastating outcome for the union · Led campaign to recruit and train school board candidates that resulted in the defeat of the sitting school board president · Handled grievances for substitute members · Led task force to develop new evaluation system for classified employees · Negotiated same-sex partner benefits and gender reassignment health insurance benefits  · Trained in Industrial Areas Foundation concepts of relational organizing for institutional power  


Other Experience

  High School Teacher; West Seattle H.S., Seattle, WA  2016-Present Automotive Technology; 2002-2010 Automotive Technology, Applied Physics, and Union Representative   

· Taught Auto Tech 1, 2, & 3 and Applied Physics (Principles of Technology) to diverse high school population including many IEP students · Served as department head with related responsibilities on the school’s Instructional Council · Built relationships with local automotive businesses and the community college for auto program articulation agreements, program certification, and advisory councils · Served as CTE representative on school district tack force about building a CTE Skills Center · Served as the school’s union representative · Created and advised a student auto club 


Knapp Auto Repair Services; Seattle, WA  1996-2002 Auto Mechanic; Small Business Owner    

· Repaired cars · Managed customer relations · Developed business plan and marketing strategy · Maintained accounts and business tax filings


Pharmacists Without Borders; France and Bosnia-Herzegovina  1995 Medical Supply Convoy Leader   

· Managed convoy team of five drivers and trucks in Bosnia-Herzegovina · Negotiated the passage of medical supplies in a war zone · Detained and held hostage for 2 months in Serbian prison outside of Sarajevo · Managed psychological health of team during stressful incarceration 


Travent International/Progressive Travels; Beaune, France  1992-1994 Logistical/Technical Coordinator; Tour Leader   

· Managed team of mechanics to maintain fleet of 500 bicycles and equipment · Provided logistical support at French base of operations for bicycle tours · Negotiated rental contracts in French for fleet of vehicles · Purchase supplies and equipment · Led bicycle tours in historic regions of France 


Pacific Lutheran University; Tacoma, WA   1989-1990 Professor of French   

· Taught French language courses 


Greenpeace; Seattle and Olympia, WA   1986-1987 Door-to-door canvass coordinator; canvasser   

· Managed team of canvassers · Organized and administered Olympia door-to-door fundraising canvass · Canvassed door-to-door in Seattle and Olympia  



The Evergreen State College; Olympia, WA  1988 Bachelor of Arts   

· Majored in interdisciplinary French and Spanish language and cultural studies  · Significant coursework in U.S. History, Art, the Classics, and Philosophy · Instrumental in process to recast student governance to better reflect student interests 

L’Univérsité d’Aix-Marseille III; Aix-en-Provence, France  1984-1985 Diplôme with Honors   

· French language mastery at the French Studies Institute for Foreign Students · Independent study project translating works in philosophy and journalism  


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Organize 2 Win

1630 SW Austin St., Seattle, WA 98106, us

(206) 948-6422