Pictured: Founder T’wina Nobles
T’wina Nobles is a mother, philanthropist, entrepreneur, nonprofit executive, educator, State Senator for the 28th Legislative District, and a director on the University Place School Board. Currently serving as President and CEO of the Tacoma Urban League, T’wina has over 15 years of experience in education as an instructor, PTA leader and School Board member. She ran for State Senate in 2020 because she believes that our kids deserve a world class education. She also wants to fight to keep our communities safe and healthy, to invest in transportation infrastructure while reducing congestion, and to tackle the affordability and housing crisis in our state.
T’wina’s story begins in Frankfurt, Germany where both of her parents were stationed for four and a half years. Her family later moved to Fort Ord in Monterey, California before eventually creating roots in the Fort Benning/Columbus, Georgia area. It was after this move T’wina’s childhood took a dramatic turn. She suffered many years of abuse and homelessness.
T’wina’s family lived in nearly every homeless shelter in the Phenix City, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia area. When T’wina was 13 years old, things were so unstable that she decided to remain in an Alabama shelter alone and was moved into the foster care system at age 15. She and her brothers remained in foster care until their father was located in California and custody was turned over to him.
Statistics show that one in five youth experiencing foster care
become homeless after the age of 18 and less than 3% will earn a college degree. T’wina was determined not to become a statistic. Because of her passion, energy, and hard work she graduated high school and set her sights on becoming an educator.
T’wina met and married her then-husband and the family was relocated at Joint Base Lewis McChord
(formerly Fort Lewis) nearly two decades ago. T’wina comes from a military family so she knows the sacrifices military families make each and every day for our country. It’s one of the reasons why it was important for her to help other military families by coaching cheerleading and basketball at Fort Lewis as well as with the City of Lakewood and Lakewood Family YMCA.
Education has always been central to T’wina’s life and she believes strongly in giving back to the community that helped her succeed to where she is today. Shortly after relocating to Joint Base Lewis McChord, T’wina attended the University of Puget Sound
, where she earned her undergraduate degree in U.S. Politics as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching. She worked as an instructor for Metropolitan Development Council’s College Bound program at Stadium High School and Lincoln High School, which supported student leaders as they prepared for life after high school. She also co-founded Ladies First, an in-school and after-school program dedicated to empowering young women and building positive self-esteem.
On the University Place School Board
, T’wina works to make sure that every voice is heard and every child succeeds. She’s demonstrated her leadership through a focus on equity, inclusion, and transparency. Because of her background and experience on the PTA, she has worked hard during her term on the School Board to improve engagement with community members and parents. She knows firsthand the struggles of parents in our district because she also has three children in public schools and one who graduated Curtis High School not long ago. T’wina’s focus in Olympia is to invest more in education and in teachers to ensure that our students graduate with the skills and support they need to succeed in the future.
In addition to serving on several boards with Building Changes
, Black Education Strategy Roundtable
, Statewide Poverty Action Network and Multicare’s West Region Mary Bridge Board, she has been recognized locally and nationally for her work: 2021 40 Under 40 Awards from Puget Sound Business Journal
and South Sound Business
, 2021 Council of State Governments
20 Under 40 Award, 2020 Senator Maria Cantwell Women of Valor Award, 2019 National Urban League
Affiliate Award, 2018 ParentMap Superhero
for Washington State Families, 2018 & 2014 PTA Golden Acorn Award, TPS Gold Star Community Partner Award, a University of Puget Sound Young Logger Service Award and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Keep Living the Dream” Award, and a WASA Community Leadership Award.
T’wina and her family live in Fircrest, WA.