The search is over!

Welcoming our new Executive Director!

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors here at Communities In Schools of Seattle, I am very happy to announce that Ruel Olanday will be our next Executive Director!

Ruel is a firm believer in education and its power to take down barriers, build powerful relationships, and create long-lasting systemic change.  He brings his drive for innovation and community building, extensive background in youth development and education, and leadership experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Ruel is thrilled to work alongside our staff and Board, strong community and school partners, and brilliant students and families.

His focus on young people and education is deeply rooted in social justice and racial equity, and is the result of his extensive background in teaching, program management, and data evaluation. His work, a program partnership model for newly arrived immigrant and refugee students and families, was recognized and funded by the US Education Department’s “Race to the Top Fund”. It continues successfully at the Seattle World School, under the leadership of the Vietnamese Friendship Association, of which he was the Associate Director in 2015.

Ruel has a strong understanding of the mechanisms that affect academic achievement for children. His Masters of Social Work focused on multi-generational community-centered integrative practice through policy, systems, and movement building – looking beyond the child to identify ways to uplift long term success. Ruel most recently spent his time working in philanthropy at the Seattle Foundation as a Philanthropic Associate Advisor. In this role he managed grant cycles, enhanced curriculums in giving, and deepened relationships between community organizations and philanthropists.

Ruel’s diverse experience and commitment to equity and social justice make him uniquely suited to lead Communities In Schools of Seattle.   We are very excited to begin our 20th year of operation with Ruel at the helm. Ruel’s first day with CIS Seattle will be June 26th. I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at or reach out to Ruel directly at




Gary Swearingen, Board Chair, Communities In Schools of Seattle

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