I was born and raised in Snohomish, Washington and I still cherish that small town upbringing. My wife, Kim, and I are raising our family in historic Tumwater, Washington. I grew up the youngest of eight children. It was my public education that gave me a chance to break the cycle of poverty. I went on to be the first in my family to go straight to college. I put myself through college with multiple jobs, scholarships, grants, and student loans. But the truth is, nobody does this alone! I am the benefactor of a state and a community that was committed to giving me opportunity. That is the very definition of public education – the great equalizer. I have dedicated my entire life to public education so that I can break down barriers for every child, regardless of income, disability, gender, race, ethnicity, geography, or other factors.
I began my professional career as a school teacher, I’ve served on a local school board, spent fourteen years as an executive in our State’s public community and technical college system, six years served in the Legislature, and the last six-plus years as your State Superintendent. I have experienced education in this state from nearly every perspective. My wife is also a former classroom teacher, school board member, and has worked for the last 20 years in school counseling. Kim and I eat, sleep, and breathe high quality public education every day!
I hope you will take the time to read through some critical policy values I hold. There is nothing more democratic, more forward thinking, or more critical to the future of our state than our excellent K-12 public school system. With the unprecedented challenges facing young people, now is the time to double-down on public education and the needs of our children and grandchildren. The next four years will be defined by those who put the “we” ahead of the “me” in their public service. Our entire state budget needs to reflect that our children are THE paramount duty of our state.