Our Staff

Randy Novak pictured with two
Freedom Writers

Randy Novak

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Randy and his friend, Patrinell Wright, challenged high school students to create a better tomorrow and Shirts Across America was born. Novak used his media experience and the King Classic, a high school basketball event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to help the people of the Gulf Coast.

Novak has given his hands-on support guiding this organization from its inception. He has worked with over 3,500 high school students and volunteers over the last ten years in Mississippi and New Orleans. People have described Randy as a community leader and a doer of extraordinary things, which he shrugs off and states, “I’m just an ordinary guy – who cares about people”.

Patrinell “Pat” Wright

Co-Founder/Global Hero/Consultant
Pastor Pat Wright is known as Seattle’s First Lady of Gospel. She is the founder and director of the internationally acclaimed Total Experience Gospel Choir.  After 45 years, Pat retired the choir in 2018 – taking the group around the world visiting 38 states, 22 countries on 5 continents.  She has performed with and for 3 U.S. Presidents and many other global leaders.  She has sung with Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, The Judds, Dave Matthews, Heart, and hundreds of other recording artists.

Two Civil Rights Leaders:
Pat Wright & SNCC Member Bob Zellner

Pastor Pat has also represented the Pacific Northwest when performing for the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, just to name a few dignitaries.  Mrs. Wright has been recognized as the only musician to sing at Jimi Hendrix’s funeral in Seattle on Thursday, October 1, 1970. Her leadership and voice have earned hundreds of awards and she was named the first Black Seafair Queen in 2002.  Pastor Wright was presented the 2007 ABC World News Tonight Person of the Year Award for her untiring commitment to the people of the Gulf Coast after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

Pat has always challenged us to be a voice for the voiceless.  Ms. Wright has lifted her voice and has sung around the world uniting all people of different races.

Jen Grimes

Program Manager

Coach Jen believes small acts of service and kindness can make a big difference in someone’s world. “It’s the little things and what we repeatedly do that count.” Her history of nonprofit work includes community outreach for Justice Works, fundraising for Stand Up For Kids Seattle and Community Conversations with KMHA (Kauai Mental Health Advocates).

As a program manager and leadership coach for SAA her passion is mentoring youth and building thoughtful leaders. “I’m truly inspired everyday by our students! They are thoughtful, empathetic and engaging! They give me hope and energy do more. They really are not only the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today! Working for SAA this year feels honestly like being at the right place at the right time.”

Sara Hanson

Program Manager

Sara has spent many years working with high school students teaching and coaching music at several high schools in the Seattle area. She has over 18 years of experience as a Director of Music and Liturgy with the Seattle Archdiocese planning major events as well as weekly masses.

Chris Spivey

South Sound Coach

Tia Young

Program Coordinator

Ms. Young has been connected to SAA for years. She had been a supporter of our organization by sponsoring a students’ trip to New Orleans each year and also performed as part of the Total Experience Gospel Choir at dozens of Shirts Across America events.  She joined our SAA team 2 years ago.

Tia is the producer and co-director of the award-winning film, Patrinell: The Total Experience.  She currently serves on the Seattle Documentary Association Board of Directors.