Dr. Joy Sebe imagines a world where students’ and families’ diverse identities, cultures, and languages are celebrated and no longer an indicator of our student’s access to education and long-term success. She believes that all families must be able to communicate with educators to support their children’s learning so that all of us can reach our fullest potential.
After experiencing first-hand the barriers parents must navigate to access Special Education services for their children, Joy was inspired to join Open Doors for Multicultural Families (Open Doors) in 2018, where she led Advocacy and Civic Engagement work in support of legislative change on Language Access and Special Education in the Washington state K-12 education system. Her work paved the path for the passage of Language Access legislation (House Bill 1130) in 2019. In 2021, she transitioned to Assistant Director to help Open Doors build the foundational infrastructure necessary to ensure organizational health and sustainability. Joy recognized that this infrastructure was essential to have in place before Open Doors could doggedly pursue meaningful policy change. Thanks to the dedication of a growing coalition of Family Leaders, and the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Team (led by fellow SVP Partner Moses Perez), in 2022 Open Doors was instrumental in the passage of House Bill 1153. This bill will help immigrant/refugee and deaf/hard of hearing families communicate with school staff.
Joy brings perspective and expertise from her 15+ years spent in academia as a scientist scrutinizing data and as an undergraduate educator teaching the basic principles of how the brain functions. She holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior.
While dedicating most of her time to building organizational infrastructure, Joy also advocates for systems changes for students of color with disabilities. She serves on state-wide Councils and Workgroups to bring family and community voices to decision-making tables, as a conduit for ODMF Family and Youth Leaders. These include the state Language Access Workgroup, state Special Educational Advisory Council, and state Restraint and Isolation Workgroup.