About Us

Board of Directors

Since ATA-WA is a non-profit organization, a board of directors govern the school. Daily operations led by the head of school.

Ebru Yıldırım

Ebru Yildirim took the Treasurer role for ATA-WA in 2019. She has worked in the field of Accounting and Finance. She has her undergraduate degree from METU Statistics and holds a Master of Finance degree from Seattle University.

Ebru had lived in ten different cities in Turkey before she moved to Seattle, Washington 22 years ago. She loves living in Pacific Northwest and being a part of Turkish community here. She also volunteers for Seattle Turkish Film Festival since 2014 and enjoys participating in TACAWA Turkish Book Club. She finds volunteering for ATA-WA invaluable where Turkish language and culture are taught to next generations.

Ebru lives with her husband and two children in Redmond. They love playing board games, watching movies, cooking together, and visiting Turkey….

Nihat Şengül

Nihat Sengul serves as the Secretary of the ATA-WA board. He worked as a management consultant in Europe and Turkey before joining to Microsoft in Washington 6 years ago. Nihat has a master’s degree in International Relations from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Nihat loves being a part of the Turkish community in Washington and believes that a strong Turkish community makes both Turkish and American cultures richer and stronger.

Nihat has two children in elementary school and is married to a Seattle native. Nihat and his family love exploring the nature, reading books, and singing Disney movie and Turkish songs.

Gizem Kaynak

Gizem has been a member of ATAWA Board since 2019 and is excited to help our next generation grow with strong roots to Turkish culture and history and shape the future with progressive bright minds.

She holds a bachelors degree in Chemistry from Bogazici University and a business management masters degree from Bilgi University. She has been in several sales & marketing leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

Since her family's move to US in 2012, she has been a proud mother of 2 daughters and currently owns a business in the service industry.

She counts Mediterranean cuisine, psychological thrillers and traveling among her myriad interests.

Mustafa Özkeskin

Mustafa Ozkeskin grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and moved to Seattle area for the first time in 2001. After a few international assignments, he returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2008. He and his family currently lives in Sammamish, WA. Over the last two decades he has worked in a number of financial leadership roles at Microsoft. He is currently the Vice President of Finance responsible for corporate planning and analysis activities.

Mustafa joined the ATA-WA family 3 years ago and took over the President role in 2019. He believes cultural richness is an integral part of our community and ATA-WA plays an important role in teaching the Turkish language and culture to young generations.

John Ufuk Gökçen

John Ufuk Gokcen is the honorary consul general for Turkey and the founder, past-president, and board member of the American Turkish Academy of Washington State (ATA-WA). John has Organized many inter-community projects to promote peace, friendship and better understanding in the Pacific Northwest region such as the Anzac Day commemoration together with Australian and New Zealand communities, many events and exhibitions with the Jewish and Sephardim communities.

John received distinguished service awards from the Washington State Governor, Consular Association, ATAA, and local Turkish American community as well as the top runner up for the 2014 Washington Ethnic Heritage Council Spirit of Liberty Award. John currently works for the Boeing Company as a senior structures engineering instructor and lives in Seattle