Degrees of Change is home to the Ready to Rise National Office and licenses the Ready to Rise program materials to local community affiliates and partner colleges who run locally-owned Ready to Rise initiatives in their communities. Thanks to the support of College Spark Washington, the National Office provides behind-the-scenes training, coordination, logistical and technology support, technical assistance, and evaluation services to help our partners deliver the highest quality programs.

Ready to Rise, along with its sister program Act Six, is at the core of the Degrees of Change mission to help communities and colleges equip students to learn together through college and lead together back home.



Nalani Linder, M.A.

Nalani Linder, M.A.

National Director

Nalani leads our new project to expand Degrees of Change’s reach to students at 2- and 4-year public universities. Fiercely committed to equity at all levels, Nalani has a background in child welfare system reform, private consulting around public/private collaboration for systems change, and working at the regional level to improve equity for early learning. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational & Systems Change Leadership from Antioch University.

Alyson Atwater

Alyson Atwater

Operations and Alumni Manager

Alyson earned a dual degree in Education from Whitworth University. She worked as the Act Six Site Director in Spokane, WA before joining the Degrees of Change team in Tacoma. Alyson started as an Admin and has since transitioned into the role of Operations and Alumni Manager. As an Act Six alum herself, she is eager to engage with the broad alumni network to help build stronger communities.

Kelly Bay-Meyer, Ph.D.

Kelly Bay-Meyer, Ph.D.

Director of Research and Evaluation

Trained as a political scientist focused on education politics and direct democracy in Latin America, Kelly returned home to WA in 2010 to give back to her local community. She taught courses in research methods and social justice at Seattle University before serving as Senior Research and Evaluation Officer at the College Success Foundation. She holds a doctorate in Political Science from Brown University.

Francisca Chau, M.Ed.

Francisca Chau, M.Ed.

Program Operations Manager

Francis is an Act Six alum from the third cadre at Gonzaga University, where she completed a dual Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and Sociology. She served as the Act Six Program Supervisor for the Spokane area for three years before transitioning to Degrees of Change as the Program Operations Manager. She holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education from Central Washington University.

Tim Herron, Ed.D.

Tim Herron, Ed.D.

President & Ready to Rise Founder

As an urban high school math teacher in Tacoma, WA, Tim developed the Act Six initiative in 2002 at Northwest Leadership Foundation to help his students succeed in college and return to lead in Tacoma. He now guides Degrees of Change as we work to expand and share the success of both Act Six through programs like Ready to Rise. He holds a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Washington.

Anna Helberg-Sather

Ready to Rise WWU Campus Coordinator

Anna is a Bellingham native and an alumna from Washington State University where she studied Psychology, Sociology and French language. She has spent the last 5 years in agency recruiting in Seattle, and was recently working with small to Fortune 500 companies helping staff their accounting and finance departments. In the past, she volunteered as a Chapter Advisor for WSU Alpha Kappa Psi.


Office Address

1102 Commerce St
Suite 400
Tacoma, WA 98402

Mailing Address

Ready to Rise National Office
Degrees of Change
PO Box 1573
Tacoma, WA 98401


[email protected]