Zhaleh Almaee – Woman of Excellence

AAUW Port Townsend delighted to honor Zhaleh Almaee as Woman of Excellence 2023-2024. Each year, our community nominates and celebrates a local Woman of Excellence who has contributed significantly to the local community through paid or volunteer work. She is a role model, change agent, teacher/mentor and community activist. This award is a tradition unique to our branch since 1996.

Remarks at December 9, 2023 ceremony from Debbi Steele

Zhaleh is a multi-heritage ritual theater artist, social justice educator, and cultural organizer.  As an Iranian-American Jewish person, she has continually worked to achieve her vision of a community that offers a healthy, just, and inclusive space for all of us.

She has lived in Port Townsend for 13 years.  As a teacher, she has gone far beyond to create a platform for marginalized voices to share their stories and envision better futures.  She conducted restorative circles where parents whose students have experienced racism in school had space to be heard by school officials. 

Zhaleh co-founded The Community Equity Initiative.  They contracted with the school to bring in multiple people of different identities to work with staff and students. She also co-founded The Mandela Center for Change with her partner Mark Weinblatt.

Youth theater groups have also benefited from her involvement.  They have addressed complex social issues through creative theater forms.  She is currently Program Director at Owl360 The Nest.  This new gathering place for teens is a place she brings inclusive and collaborative leadership to youth. In addition to all that, she is a humble mother of four.

In today’s world we honor this young woman, perhaps the youngest who has received our award, who is showing our youth and our community that they belong today and can help lead our world tomorrow!”

Click a picture below to see full size –>

More information about Zhaleh:

PTLeader news March 27, 2012

PTLeader news Feb. 21, 2017