Meet the Committee

The District Oversight Committee is a 15-member community advisory board, serving three-year terms (with the exception of the first round of appointments, which are staggered in term). The composition of the Committee is:

  • Four members from Board of Park Commissioners
  • Seven members, one from each Council district
  • Four members on recommendation from City commissions
  • All member appointments are confirmed by the City Council
  • The Mayor appoints the Chair of the committee
Andréa Akita

Andréa Akita

Chair and District 2 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2022

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Andréa Akita has more than 20 years of experience working with organizations to develop affordable housing and increase access to human services. She currently is a consultant, working on equitable, community development initiatives in Seattle.

Andréa has a background working within the nonprofit and public sector, where she has served as the Executive Director of Interim CDA and as planning manager with Seattle Human Services Department. Andréa holds dual Masters degrees in Urban and Regional Planning and Public Administration and a degree in culinary arts.  Andréa looks forward to contributing her skills with policy and programs, and her experience in housing and healthy communities to the work of the Park District Oversight Committee.

Vacant

Vice-Chair
Tom Byers walking with forest and hills in the background.

Tom Byers

Park Board Member
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 4/13/2018 - 04/13/2021

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Tom Byers is founder of the Cedar Rivers Group, an organization that collaborates with non-profits and government agencies to create solutions to some of our communities' most difficult issues. 

Tom has a background working in the public sector as Deputy Mayor under Mayor Schell; helping to create and implement ballot initiatives that brought much needed funding to Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Library and the redevelopment of the Seattle Center. Prior to that Tom had served as Deputy Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation where he helped develop the first comprehensive parks plan in more than 30 years. Throughout his life, Tom has dedicated himself to working for change through creative partnerships between non-profit organizations and government agencies. The majority of this work takes place in the areas of environmentalism, public health and equity.

Patt Copeland

Patt Copeland

Commission Member – Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 04/01/2018 - 03/31/2021

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Patt is a member of the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities. Through involvement in this Commission she has assisted in planning events in parks, and has special knowledge about accessible facilities and programs in parks.

Patt is the Executive Director of Vision Loss Connections. She has worked for the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, the Pike Place Market Medical Clinic and Sound Mental Health.

She has a Master's degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Buffalo  and a Bachelor's degree in social work from the State University College at Buffalo.

Jessica Farmer

Jessica Farmer

Commission Member-Board of Park Commissioners
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 04/1/2018 - 03/31/2021

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Jessica is an adult education supervisor at the University of Washington's Botanic Gardens where she manages and coordinates educational programs and seminars. Prior to this Jessica was a communications specialist at Community Power Works and was a Trees for Neighborhoods program manager for Seattle's Office of Sustainability and Environment.

Jessica has experience in botany, nurseries and horticulture. She volunteers for the ecoPro Planning Program Committee for the Washington State program for Certified Sustainable Landscape Professionals and for the UW School of Environmental Forest Sciences.

Marlan Herrera

Marlon Herrera

Commission Member-Board of Park Commissioners
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 04/1/2018 - 03/31/2021

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Marlon is the latest appointee to the Board of Park Commissioners through the City's Get Engaged program. He has a Bachelor's in Environmental Studies from Seattle University, where he focused on the intersection of public policy, urban design, and equity. Now, Marlon is working towards his Master of Public Administration and Master of Urban Planning at UW. Growing up in the Puget Sound region, public spaces have played a crucial role in Marlon's life.

Marlon brings policy experience from Seattle University Center for Community Engagement, the Office of Senator Cantwell, and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division. Today, he is an intern at Seattle Public Utilities, where he helps the City deliver infrastructure projects. His work centers around public works, environmental justice, and good governance.

Photograph of Committee Chair Kelly McCaffrey knealing on a trail in an urban forest and smiling.

Kelly McCaffrey

Board of Park Commissioners
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2022

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Kelly McCaffrey has spent 17 Seattle years working in environmental conservation.  She holds an M.P.A. from University of Washington. She was a project manager at Washington Water Trust, where she managed instream flow projects for threatened salmon-bearing streams using market-based approaches.  Prior to this she was a conference coordinator for the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability 500 and served as an assistant to the Governor's Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel.  She currently serves as a citizen advisor to the Resource Conservation Office for biennial evaluation of habitat conservation proposals, and as Co-Chair on SPU's Water System Advisory Committee.

Kelly has lived in Lake City, Wallingford, Beacon Hill, and now spends most of her time in West Seattle with her three young children, frequently reminding them to turn the sink off when finished. She sees parks and parks issues through the lens of a mother who brings her children to play outdoors and participate in recreation activities.

Photograph of Deepa Sivarajan smiling in the foreground with tree foliage in the background.

Deepa Sivarajan

Commission Member- Seattle Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission
Term: 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2021

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Deepa is queer South Asian-American woman, born and raised in West Seattle.

She currently works for EnviroIssues, specializing in public outreach and communications consulting for local governments. Deepa has a Master's in climate change studies, and she has previously worked as an organizer for electoral and environmental campaigns in the Puget Sound region. She is passionate about environmental justice, which aims to address the disproportionate effect of environmental degradation on communities of color and low-income communities. Deepa envisions a bigger role for environmental justice (EJ) advocacy in queer and trans activist spaces, centering the voices and needs of QTPOC. She hopes that her work with the commission will further her interest in integrating EJ perspectives into policy, particularly in making recommendations on homelessness, displacement, and LGBTQ community spaces. 

Photograph of Shelani Vanniasinkam smiling in the foreground with beige wall in the background.

Shelani Vanniasinkam

Commission Member- Immigrant and Refugee Commission
Appointed by: Mayor
Term: 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2021

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Shelani was born and raised in Sri Lanka moving with her family to Arizona in 2000. A first generation college student, she received a Bachelor's in Political Science from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Global Studies from Brandeis University. Her Master's Degree focused on Gender Violence in Kashmir. Shelani has worked in various non-profit and corporate roles in her career and has been a passionate advocate of equity and inclusion serving on the Staff Committee at Sound Generations (formally Senior Services) and Boeing. She also spent three years as an ESL Teaching Assistant with Asian Counseling and Referral Services working with adult immigrants and refugees.

Currently, Shelani works at Amazon's legal organization where she serves as a member of the Pro Bono Committee. She represents the Immigrant and Refugee Commission on the Parks District Oversight Committee (PDOC) and the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Taskforce. 

Mat McBride standing at a podium.

Mat McBride

District 1 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2021

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Mat is the Chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, serving the eastern half of the West Seattle peninsula. He has also served on the Camp Long Advisory Council for 14 years, and is a Public Information Officer (PIO) for the American Red Cross (King County Chapter), serving on Disaster Action Team 5.

Mat is the Disaster Recovery Manager for the University of Washington (UW-IT). Over the last 20 years he has worked across the resiliency spectrum of business continuance, technology, crisis communications, and life safety in pursuit of an ideal answer to the question "What could possibly go wrong?".

He has over 45 years of experience field testing Seattle's parks and greenspaces. In 2011, he helped lead the effort to build one of them from scratch (Roxhill Park).



Vacant

District 3 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 04/01/2020 - 03/31/2023

Dewey Potter

District 4 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 04/01/2018 - 03/31/2021

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Dewey worked for the City of Seattle for 36 years. She has held numerous positions in various branches, including Parks and Recreation, the Budget Office, and the City Council. She served as the Communications Manager in the Department of Parks and Recreation from 1998 to 2013, and as the Strategic Advisor and Acting Director for the Citywide Division between 1993 and 1998.. She spent eight years in  the Office of Management and Budget as a manager, budget analyst and senior budget analyst. Before that she was a legislative aide at the Seattle City Council. Dewey as a BA in English Literature from Florida State University.

She has served as staff for numerous parks issues and has worked to resolve many parks related issues, establish new policies, and implement new processes.

Sean Watts

Sean Watts

District 5 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 04/1/2017 - 03/31/2020

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Sean Watts has a strong commitment to, and background in, bringing communities of color and underrepresented communities to the table. He has extensive experience in equity work with focuses on creating public spaces in communities that reflect the needs and wants of the people who live there.

Sean’s educational background in environmental science, combined with his experience and passion for community building, will provide great insight to the Park District Oversight Committee as they start to think about the next 6-year cycle of the Park District.

Vacant

District 6 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 4/1/2020 - 3/31/2023

Vacant

District 7 Member
Appointed by: City Council
Term: 04/01/2020 - 3/31/2023