Our Staff & Board
Our Staff & Board
David Song, Executive Director
David is proud to be a foreign-born, first-generation Korean-American and the eldest son of an immigrant family from Chicago. While he is a new resident in Seattle, he has grown to love this community over the last 4 years since his longtime partner Cynthia relocated here for work. As Kandelia’s new Executive Director, David brings extensive experience in youth program development, community engagement, and organizational and staff management. He has devoted his last 13 years exclusively to organizations in educational spaces creating school/community partnerships and a culture of student engagement, including designing education events for the Aspen Ideas Festival, Smithsonian, and DuSable Museum of African-American History. Fun fact: David is a diehard Un Bien loyalist. And yes, he thinks it’s superior to Paseo.
Tamthy Le, Associate Director
Tamthy Le is the youngest daughter of two Vietnamese refugees who love to rhumba at Emerald Queen Casino’s AsiaFest. She was born and raised in South Seattle and later attended the University of Washington where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare with a Minor in Diversity. She began at Kandelia in 2014 as a case manager and currently serves as the Associate Director. She is a big fan of the Mariners, Ezell’s fried chicken, and spending time with her cat Benedict and wife in their home in Beacon Hill. Fun fact: At 5’ 3”, Tamthy is the tallest person in her family. (Note: Tamthy and her wife are on a well-deserved international sabbatical between September 2020 and May 2021, when we look forward to her return!)
Baeda Agonafer, Senior Program Manager
Baeda is an alumni of Eastern Mennonite University where he graduated with a BA in Psychology. Baeda has a long history of working with organizations that focus on youth development, and social justice. As a volunteer coordinator, he works to emphasize the importance of supporting our growing community. Fun Fact: Baeda rescued two cats from the streets of Seoul, they now have kitty passports and Instagram account. Can you find them?!
Sieng Douangdala, Community Engagement Manager
Sieng is a creative connector, whose background informs her personal investment in servant leadership and fostering social change. Sieng’s lived experiences as a refugee from Laos helps communities serve a variety of cultures. Her experiences includes: program management; wraparound services; and development and implementation of programs focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Sieng’s work is rooted and driven by inclusivity, humility, collaboration, and the commitment to healing our communities. Fun Fact: Sieng has two girls and loves spending time outdoors.
Thu Le, Family Engagement Manager
Thu Le came to the U.S. 25 years ago with her husband and daughter as refugees. Before that, she was an elementary teacher in Vietnam for 10 years. She began working with Kandelia in 2014 as the Cultural Navigator and is currently the Family Engagement Manager. She loves gardening, sewing, traveling, and watching the Big Bang Theory. Fun fact: Thu is the oldest sister of her five siblings.
Kristie Wong, Youth Program Manager
Kristie has a Masters in Public Health from the City University of New York. She has worked with youth for over seven years, primarily in communities of color. Kristie brings her knowledge of nutrition and public health to support the basic needs of students and their families. Fun Fact: Kristie has four chickens who like to eat her vegetable garden.
Lorna Nguyen, Jobs Program Coordinator (until October 2020)
Finance and Admin Coordinator (October 2020 – )
Lorna is a Seattle native who graduated from the University of Washington with dual arts degrees in Psychology and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, with a minor in Diversity. Growing up, she was always drawn towards anything that involved artistic self-expression, service to others, and education. This left her with no other choice than to work with the immigrant and refugee community in Seattle, individuals who are much like her parents, who came to Seattle in the early 90s. Fun Fact: Lorna’s dream for when she retires is to own a floral shop that triples as a coffee house and community library for those who are looking to escape the city life, even if it is only for a little while.
MyDung Nguyen, Jobs Family Coordinator
When MyDung was a teenager, she came to America alone as a boat person. Since then, she has spent the past 21 years working alongside refugees as an immigration and resettlement specialist. She is passionate about helping diverse newcomers and anyone that needs help. MyDung also has experience in manufacturing, spending six years working in a bakery. Fun fact: MyDung loves to cook, and her favorite dishes to make are stir fried vegetables, chicken curry and beef stew!
Gayne Sanchez, Family Support
Gayne Sanchez is a former Seattle World School parent. As a mother of two amazing women and one amazing man, she has focused her education and instructional skills on supporting immigrants and newcomers through designing and delivering programs that supports parents to gain the self-confidence to reach their goals.
Juliet Le – Co-Chair
Johnson Nguyen – Co-Chair
Cori Simmons – Secretary
Are you passionate about removing barriers to immigrant and refugee success? Board members use their unique skills and life experiences to help guide our organization to make an impact. Contact us to learn more about opportunities to join our board.
“From my personal experience, it was really hard to get my job. I had to practice a lot before coming in to my interview. One thing I liked the most about this program was that we basically did this mock interview, or practice interview. It was something that helped me get more confident. I would say that it helped me a lot with getting my first job.“