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Golden Apple Moments

Through Advocacy and Inclusion, Tafona Ervin Paves a Path for Students of Color

“I’m an advocate first, a champion always. I like to think of myself as a creative connector. I look across a spectrum that is beyond more than any one organization,” said Tafona Ervin, Executive Director of Foundation for Tacoma Students.

Every day, Ervin is challenging the status quo. She is actively collaborating with urban-serving school districts and community programs to strengthen the current educational system in Tacoma. She and her team are using advocacy, funding and data to narrow in on areas that are lacking in educational resources. She recognizes that policies are often written to generalize the “greatest good” for a large body of students, rather than consider marginalized communities and families of color.

“Our systems are designed in such a way that are not favorable for families who have different and unique needs. My goal and my passion is to be creatively adaptive to the needs of families in a way that helps them to achieve their form of success,” Ervin says.

What does it mean to make a meaningful impact? How can we challenge current systems that are not inclusive of families of color? How do we create an environment where every student is given access to equal resources and opportunities?

Lead with love. Focus on inclusivity of voice. Remember that success is more valuable when it is measured by each young person’s individual idea of success, rather than how success is defined by a policy or a state standard.

“I work every day to fight for change,” Ervin says. “I think that we have a lot to celebrate.”

What are KCTS 9 Golden Apple Moments?

The Golden Apple Moments program celebrates educators, programs and schools making a positive difference in Washington State education, from early childhood through high school. KCTS 9 shares these bright-spot success stories of innovative educators and programs through all its content delivery channels: KCTS 9,, social media and partner channels.  

Golden Apple Moments are profiles of those who inspire us. Those who think a little differently and are reimagining the way we teach our young people. They are individuals who are not waiting around for someone to tell them how to move our education system forward. They are pushing the boundaries, engaging our youth to advance and succeed in a rapidly changing world. Golden Apple Moments focus less on complex statistics and benchmark results and more on a teacher, a program or a school’s novel idea or approach — why and how it is challenging the status quo and inspiring others.

Golden Apple Moments highlight the educators, program administrators and nonprofits/organizations working to improve education outcomes and discover new blueprints for success for children in Washington State and around the country.

The KCTS 9 Golden Apple Moments are made possible through funding from PEMCO Insurance. Nominations are now open for the 2021 school year.

Pemco Insurance Defender of your Northwest

PEMCO Insurance is a proud sponsor of Golden Apple Moments, which recognizes those who have made Washington schools better places for learning.

Previous Golden Apple Honorees

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