Aaron Burkhalter is the LEAD Project Manager for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program in Burien. His role provides support for the program in Burien, where he lives. He also provides support for King County expansion, working with other cities in the region interested in the LEAD program. Prior to joining the Public Defender Association, Aaron had a 15-year career in community journalism with an emphasis on social justice, homelessness and equity. He worked around Oregon and Washington, including as a reporter and editor for Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project and the South Seattle Emerald. As an editor Aaron emphasized mentorship with emerging journalists with his work at Real Change, the Emerald and The Seattle Globalist. Aaron has one multiple regional Society for Professional Journalist awards and best cultural coverage from the International Network of Street Papers.
Outside of LEAD, Aaron is a foster parent, musician and gardener. Aaron graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in psychology and from the University of Oregon with a M.S. in journalism.