Erin Jones received the Green River College Foundation’s D.R. Hanford Leadership Award for her nationally recognized work in education, equity, social justice and community outreach.

Erin Jones received the Green River College Foundation’s D.R. Hanford Leadership Award for her nationally recognized work in education, equity, social justice and community outreach.

Erin Jones receives inaugural D.R. Hanford Leadership Award from Green River College Foundation

The Green River College Foundation recently named Erin Jones the winner of the inaugural D.R. Hanford Leadership Award for her nationally recognized work in education, equity, social justice and community outreach.

“The D.R. Hanford award was created to honor those who have committed to the power of education and service to the community,” Jim Tanasse, chair, Green River College Board of Directors, said. “We were — and continue to be — impressed with Erin’s passion and commitment and can think of no one who better embodies the spirit of the award than Erin.”

Jones has been involved in and around schools for the past 26 years, teaching in a variety of environments and in some of the most diverse communities in the nation.

Jones received an award as the Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher in 2007, while working at Stewart Middle School in Tacoma, and was the Washington State Milken Educator of the Year in 2008, while teaching at Rogers High School in Spokane. She received recognition at the White House in March of 2013 as a “Champion of Change” and was Washington State PTA’s “Outstanding Educator” in 2015.

After serving as a classroom teacher and instructional coach, Jones worked as an executive for two State Superintendents. She left the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction 10 years ago to work in college-access at the school district level. She then left her job to become the first Black woman to run for any state office in Washington state, vying for State Superintendent, a race she lost by a mere 1 percent. Since her loss, Erin has devoted her time to sharing her story with students of all ages and delivering racial equity training for educators in K-12 and higher education.

The Hanford Family Scholarship is named after former Green River College Foundation Board president Denton Hanford, who has, alongside his wife Judy, presented the award 32 times in the last 15 years to help students access higher education.

Jones will receive the award at the Green River College Foundation Scholarship Banquet on Oct. 25 at an invitation-only event celebrating the 2022-2023 Foundation scholarship recipients. Jones will also receive a Foundation scholarship named in her honor that will provide additional access.

The Green River College Foundation aims to provide resources to assist Green River College in achieving educational excellence. Through four broad areas – Access, Capacity Building, Flexibility and Success – the Foundation strives to meet the needs of the college.

Formed in 1975 by a group of concerned citizens and college staff to provide Green River with an organization to provide flexibility to pursue and accomplish projects outside of the state funding mechanism, the Foundation awarded its first scholarships in 1978 and began building its endowment significantly with a silver anniversary fundraising campaign in 1990.

The Foundation received its first million-dollar contribution in 2005, that seeded an unrestricted endowment increasing the Foundation’s ability to respond to the greatest needs and support the operation of the Foundation.

To learn more about the Green River College Foundation, as well as scholarship and giving options, visit

For more information about Green River College, visit

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