Andrea Downs advances her career in special education


IAS Alum Andrea (Sweerus) Downs has worked in special education for close to ten years, specializing in emotional behavioral disabilities. Downs has advocated for equity, changes in discipline polices, and equal access to educational supports and environments. Since leaving the classroom, she has worked as a behavior specialist and program facilitator for both Everett and Seattle Public Schools, and most recently, accepted a position as the Director of Special Services with Coupeville School District. There, she will oversee the English Learner program, Special Education, Highly Capable, and Title 1 programs.

A graduate of the Master of Arts in Policy Studies program (’13), Downs also serves her local community as a member of the South Whidbey School District Board, where she holds the role of policy representative. Downs enrolled in the Policy Studies program to expand her understanding of policy and how to influence changes in the education system. Through the program, she developed critical skills in program evaluation, program development, and policy analysis, which have helped her evaluate, develop, and implement policy in her career field.

Says Downs, “The Policy Studies program was the best educational experience I could have hoped for. The relationships I built with my cohort have helped me continue to grow past graduation. I appreciate that the community-based coursework helped me expand my network and expertise in a way that facilitated amazing changes for students in our education system.”