Get to know the creatives, the connectors and the cornerstones of the Alliance
Editor’s note: When you work with the Alliance, you may only have contact with a couple of people, either coaches or trainers or finance staff. But there is a strong team working behind the scenes to support everything our organization does. We create, we teach, we communicate, we design, we manage and account and engineer … it’s quite an operation. Our new Meet the Alliance profile series will introduce you to the people who make this world go ’round. This week, let’s meet Micah Kurtz.
Micah Kurtz has been with the Alliance since April 2017. “The University of Washington calls me a Continuing Education Specialist 4, but you can call me Coach,” he says. In that role he supports staff and supervisors in DCYF's Regions 3 and 4, though with the shift to online training and coaching platforms since March of this year, he says there’s much more of a statewide feel to the work.
Micah’s rule includes three primary areas of work: training/coaching Regional Core Training for DCYF new hires; providing in-service trainings to DCYF staff and supervisors; and conducting one-on-one or small group coaching for DCYF staff and supervisors.
“I have the privilege of being the lead coach for coaching at the Office of Indian Child Welfare, and Region 4 Intake,” he says. “I also contribute in work groups, helping to train fellow coaches and now DCYF supervisors and administrators on the Learner Centered Coaching model, and finding ways to support my colleagues as I'm able. I love what I do!”
Micah has been working in child welfare since May 2008, as a family preservation therapist. After being accepted to the University of Washington's MSW program, he entered the CWTAP program and did his internship at the Office of Indian Child Welfare in Seattle for two years. Just before graduating with his MSW, he started with Child and Family Welfare Services in May 2012 in the Kent Children's Administration office. He promoted to supervisor there in August 2014 and transferred to the King West office in Seattle in May 2016, where he served until he moved to the Alliance in April 2017.
When asked what he enjoys most about working at the Alliance, he said, “I love how our various teams work so strongly together to support the work of public child welfare in Washington state. When I look at my co-workers, I feel like I'm part of an all-star team, with compassion, intelligence, and just the right mix of humor. Such a collaborative atmosphere helps me take the time I need to create a safe working environment with the people I train and coach. I believe in the work of public child welfare, agree that there is always room for individual and systemic improvement, and prioritize my own learning and growth to be the best I can be. I believe that the people I work with have similar values, about wanting to do their best to keep children safe and strengthen families. At the Alliance, my values align with the work I get to do.”
Micah’s son is 16 years old and lives with him half the time (week on, week off schedule). “He has been hanging in with the last two terms of online schooling (but) he's ready to see his friends again.” He lives with his fiancee, and they all share space with two ginger tabbies, Fred and George (yes, they were named after the Weasley twins from Harry Potter). His parents are retired and live in Sequim, his younger sister and her family live in north Seattle, and his twin brother and his family live in Kansas City.
A little more about Micah:
What's something unique about you, or something people might be surprised by?
This is a hard one, since I tend to share the fun and unique things about me fairly readily. While my knee injury last December has taken a lot of my attention in the last year, I had an earlier injury as a runner in high school in which a bone in my foot died and had to be removed. So, yes, I do have one less bone in my body than most people. Oh, and about 20 years ago I was bitten by a squirrel. That's a fun story I'd be happy to share if anyone asks.
What’s the most interesting space you’ve “worked from home”?
I've only really worked in two spaces in my home: my living room couch and my dining room table. People will be more familiar with the living room having the painting, and the dining room having the bookshelves.
What's your most-used emoji?
The heart <3.
What was your first car?
A Dodge Shadow.
Who would you invite as your first guest if you had your own late-night talk show?
If you were independently wealthy, how would you spend your time?
I'd be working on a PhD and doing research.
What's your favorite music genre or band?
Classic Rock. The Beatles, U2, and lots of groups in between.
What’s your favorite movie, book or board game?
Movie: “Avatar.” Book: “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Board game: The Farming Game.
What are you binge watching or currently reading?
We're watching “The Big Bang Theory,” and I'm currently reading “The Cambridge Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas.”
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