Meet the Board
Board members welcome input from the entire community and read all messages but may not necessarily respond directly. To send a message to all five board members, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails may be shared with relevant district staff to provide a response, if requested, for administrative and operational issues. Note that per Bellevue School District Policy 6230, vendors should contact the purchasing department directly.
Sima Sarrafan has served as a Director of the Bellevue School District since February 2018 and currently serves as Board President. Initially appointed to fill the position vacated by Steve McConnell, she was subsequently elected in November 2019 to a four-year term. Ms. Sarrafan grew up in Bellevue and attended Stevenson, Bennett, Odle, and Interlake High School, from which she graduated. Her children attended and graduated from Bellevue School District schools as well.
Ms. Sarrafan is an attorney at Microsoft with prior experience in both the private and public sectors, as well as a long-standing interest in education and public service. She began tutoring students in math while in high school and continued through college. While in law school, Ms. Sarrafan taught undergraduate economics as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard College. She later served as an adjunct professor law at Roger Williams School of Law, in Bristol, Rhode Island, and at Seattle University School of Law. From October 2011 through January 2017, Ms. Sarrafan served as a Trustee of the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, an independent federal government agency committed to cultivating a passion for STEM in middle and high school students.
Ms. Sarrafan previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Women Lawyers, which in 2018 awarded her the Virginia S. Mueller Outstanding Member Award. Microsoft’s legal department has twice named her Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year, in 2018 and 2020, in recognition of her pro bono contributions and leadership, which has included representing children, immigrants, and veterans, as well as co-founding the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program.
Ms. Sarrafan is a graduate of Vassar College and Harvard Law School and speaks French and Persian. She credits Bellevue Schools for preparing her well for her education and future and is committed to the fulfillment of the school district’s vision and mission of providing an equitable and exemplary education that affirms and inspires each and every student to be a creator of their future world.
Roles: Vice President
Carolyn Watson has served on the Bellevue School Board since 2015.
Carolyn Watson is a long-time PTSA Board Member, a VIBES Academic Tutor in AP World History, and a former Software Developer for Fannie Mae in Washington DC. She has also taught economics as an adjunct instructor at a small college in Indiana, and worked as a product manager for a software start-up in Northern Virginia. Her education includes a BA in Anthropology from SUNY Albany, an MBA in Finance from Indiana University, and further graduate work in Anthropology at American University in DC.
Since first volunteering in the Bellevue Schools in 2004, Carolyn has served on the boards of the Bennett Elementary PTSA, the Stevenson Elementary PTA, and the International School PTSA, in positions as varied as Legislative Chair, Co-Treasurer, Membership Chair, Secretary, Vice President, and President.
On the district level, Carolyn has served on the board of the Bellevue PTSA Council including a year as Co-President. She served on district committees under several superintendents, including the Gifted Parent Advisory Committee with Dr. Riley, the Equity Committee with Dr. Cudeiro, and the District Technology Advisory Committee for Dr. Mills.
Carolyn received a Golden Acorn award for volunteerism from Stevenson Elementary, and the Gold Level Leadership Academy award from the Washington State PTA.
Carolyn’s family moved to the Bellevue School District in 2000 from Maryland courtesy of Microsoft. She is originally from New York, and grew up on Long Island. Her husband has done extensive volunteering at Bellevue High and International School by co-teaching AP Computer Science through the TEALS program. Their son, who is attending Cornell University, started Kindergarten at Bennett, attended the gifted (PRISM) program at Stevenson, and graduated from the International School while participating in cross country and track at Interlake. Carolyn gained extensive experience as a parent volunteer in each of these programs along the way.
Joyce Shui is a graduate of Harvard University, a resident of Washington state for over 25 years, and serves as a lead senior legal counsel for SAP, the third-largest software company globally. She is also a parent in the district and asserts to support transparent leadership and community involvement in board decisions while supporting educators and staff.
Christine Chew was appointed to the Board in September of 2010 to fill the position vacated by Peter Bentley and has been elected to the board twice since that time. She has served as board president and vice president as well as the liaison to multiple partner organizations and on multiple board committees. Christine also advocates at the state level for our students in her role as the Board’s legislative representative and as the Vice Chair on the Washington State School Directors’ Association Resolutions Committee.
Christine and her husband have lived in the Bellevue School district since 1993. Her son graduated from and her daughter currently attends school in the District.
The daughter of two public school teachers, Christine’s passion for education dates back to her youth when she served in volunteer capacities working with both in-school and out-of-school youth programs. She continued to pursue that passion as a former high school science teacher (at Redmond High School), a soccer coach, and a volunteer in various youth programs and schools. Christine holds a doctorate in education from the University of Washington where her research and outreach work centered on science education and the impact of school leadership on instructional change.
Formerly the executive director of Seattle nonprofit, College Access Now, Christine collaborated with community schools to make college possible for underserved students. She also worked as a program management lead at Microsoft for eight years where she helped lead small teams working on software development, including work on Microsoft Encarta’s online services. In her early career, Christine worked as an environmental health/risk assessment toxicologist. Christine earned dual bachelor’s degrees (in chemistry and political science) and a master’s degree (in toxicology) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Christine serves on the board of the nonprofit Amplio – which empowers people to improve their lives through learning and information sharing; and she volunteers to support several community education initiatives and other community organizations. In her free time, Christine enjoys playing and watching sports, cooking, traveling, reading, attending live theater, and spending time with friends and family.
Jane Aras earned her master’s degree in special education and has taught both special and general education. She has developed individualized education plans and implemented social-emotional programs in classrooms for students. She is a parent in the district and attests to the importance of maintaining community-focused approaches to education that center on the whole child.