New School Board members take oath of office
Two newly-elected members, Tam Dinh and Maggie Tai Tucker, joined the Mercer Island School Board at its December 12 meeting.
Born in Vietnam, Tam Dinh came to the U.S. at age 7 and was raised in Boise, Idaho. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in children, youth and family from the University of Washington. She went on to obtain a doctorate in Social Work with research specialization in mental health, diversity, and spirituality/religion from the University of Southern California.
She is now a professor of Social Work and Program Director at Saint Martin’s University. She is also a licensed independent clinical social worker and have worked with children struggling with educational, mental health and addiction problems. She is a member of the Washington State Commission for Asian Pacific American Affairs Education and Health and Mental Health Committees and currently sit on the statewide Suicide Prevention in Higher Education Workgroup.
She and her husband Stephen Pong, a dentist, are the parents of three boys. Tam has coached her son’s baseball team and was a member of the Islander Middle School parent advisory committee.
Maggie Tai Tucker is a pediatric occupational therapist (OT), mom of three Mercer Island students, and an active community volunteer.
Her older children were born in Seattle, but began school in Shanghai, China, where their family lived for five years. In Shanghai, Maggie Tai co-founded a chain of pediatric therapy clinics, did pro bono work for several non-profits working with orphanages, and was active in USA Girl Scouts Overseas. The family returned to Mercer Island in 2012. From 2013 to 2016, Maggie Tai worked at Seattle Children's Hospital, as part of a team doing intensive feeding therapy at the Autism Center.
Since then, she has focused on local volunteer community projects, including Sustainable M.I., a citizen’s advisory group trying to reduce Mercer Island’s environmental footprint; Team Ewan, a group of 500+ volunteers who pulled together to support a local family whose young son had leukemia; and the Team Ewan Guild, which raises funds in Ewan’s memory for research and treatment of high-risk leukemia at Seattle Children’s. In addition, Maggie Tai volunteers with her therapy dog via HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response.
Maggie Tai attended Harvard University, receiving an A.B. in history and literature. She initially moved to Seattle to work on the launch of MSNBC.com. She returned to school in 2001, earning a second bachelor’s degree in zoology and then a master’s in occupational therapy, both at the University of Washington.
David D'Souza was also sworn in for his second term on the Board. Departing Board members Tracy Drinkwater and Ralph Jorgenson were honored for their service. The Board held its annual reorganization and Deborah Lurie was elected as president, Maggie Tai Tucker as vice president and Brian Giannini Upton as legislative representative.
Maggie Tai Tucker, left, and Tam Dinh.