Superintendent Reykdal’s First 100 Days
Press Release - April 20, 2017
Removed OSPI from lawsuit against school districts: OSPI has a responsibility to support our districts. It is not illegal to use local levies for compensation.
Delayed federal accountability plan submission: OSPI is submitting our consolidated Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan in September to ensure adequate input from critical stakeholders and communities across our state. This plan will set the direction of accountability in our state for decades to come.
Reorganized and diversified OSPI cabinet: We cannot close opportunity gaps and have critical conversations about disproportionate impacts on underserved populations until diverse voices are at the highest levels shaping policy and budget priorities. In the first 100 days, the Executive Cabinet at OSPI has been transformed from 11% members of color to 30%. And from 17% women to 55%! We are making progress to ensure that our leadership teams reflects the diversity of our students. We are not done yet!
Created a new Government Relations team at OSPI: Empowering the talented people at OSPI required a new Government Relations (GR) team whose mission is to support the policy, program, and budget experts throughout the agency. Our new GR team is connecting OSPI experts with legislators to ensure the highest level of customer service.
Created a Legislative and Policy Advocacy Team within OSPI: We created a broad team of employees who meet weekly during the legislative session to ensure that individuals are empowered in their policy areas to shape legislation and budgets, and to communicate with each other. Breaking down silos requires changes in personnel, meeting structure, and at times, organizational structure.
Supporting all four political caucuses: High quality public education should not be a partisan issue. We are focused on providing information, data, and analysis to all four political caucuses of the Legislature to ensure that their needs are met and good education policy is shaped by the expertise at OSPI.
Third party capacity review of the agency: We brought in a third party to evaluate OSPI’s capacity to carry out our work. This review is the foundation for additional process improvements to come.
Teamed up to fund 100% of AP/IB exam fees for low-income students: We partnered with the Lt. Governor’s Office, The College Success Foundation, and private businesses to cover the full costs of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exam fees for low-income students in 2017. On OSPI’s part, we were able to reallocate almost $900,000 from federal Title I, Part A funds and secure a $75,000 appropriation from the State Legislature. In the end, we subsidized 20,579 AP and 1,313 IB exams for low-income students!
Continued listening and learning tour across the state: The new OSPI leadership team is traveling across the state to further the listening and understanding of local districts’ needs.
Stood up for students’ civil rights: We affirmed our commitment to equity and stood up for the civil rights of our students in the face of federal executive orders that could harm our students and their access to a high-quality, inclusive, learning environment.
Created a Human Resources position specifically for equity and professional learning: We are creating a new staff position within our Human Resources Office specifically devoted to equity and professional development of our OSPI team members.
Partnered with legislators to initiate a bill to clarify roles and responsibilities between OSPI and the State Board of Education: With the Legislature poised to invest billions more into our schools and the federal government returning more accountability control to the states, it is essential that we clarify roles and responsibilities between state-level education agencies to ensure students and taxpayers are getting the greatest value.
Merged CTE into our Learning and Teaching division: Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways need to be expanded in our schools. We can no longer treat CTE as an alternative – it’s core to 70% of the jobs in our state! OSPI will now ensure that our programs and policies related to CTE are not stand-alone to the larger teaching and learning enhancements we are making in Washington State. Our public schools are the number one contributor to a highly functioning workforce.
Supported the Voting Rights Act: Our agency very publicly supported the Voting Rights Act legislation because I firmly believe our school boards must reflect the diversity of our students!
Opened up a fresh market breakroom for OSPI staff: We are unveiling a new fresh market within the agency. With no communal space for our staff to take breaks and eat their lunches, it’s tough for them to want to get away from their desks. The market room will serve as a place for staff to rest, engage each other, and access foods much healthier than those offered by existing vending machines!
Key Personnel the Superintendent Hired to Lead the Agency
Deputy Superintendent: Michaela Miller is our Deputy Superintendent. Michaela has a doctorate in Education, she is a former teacher, and she leads our efforts in all manner of education policy, programming, and student outcomes. She and her team of Assistant Superintendents make up the backbone of our core mission at OSPI.
Chief of Staff: Jamila Thomas is our Chief of Staff. Jamila leads the work of integrating our vision with our operational needs. She is working hard to better our agency policies and processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in all we do.
Chief Financial Officer: Lisa Dawn-Fisher is our new Chief Financial Officer. Lisa comes to us after serving in a similar capacity in the Texas Education Agency for many years and a brief stint at the Evergreen State College. Lisa leads an incredible team that is focused on operating and capital budget issues, accounting, and virtually everything else fiscal related.
Executive Director of Government Relations: Dave Mastin serves as the Executive Director of our new Government Relations team. Dave has built a diverse and highly functioning GR team that is empowering our leaders in education policy and programs to shape education policy in our state.
Executive Director of Career and Technical Education: Rebecca (Becky) Wallace is the head of our new CTE department. Becky is respected statewide and she will lead a team that will elevate and restore CTE pathways to graduation and beyond for more students.
Assistant Superintendent of Special Education: A new Assistant Superintendent of Special Education will be announced in the coming weeks following an extensive search and interview process with much help from stakeholders and advocates.
The Superintendent’s Focuses for the Next 100 Days… And Beyond
- We have additional strategic hiring and reorganization to do within the agency;
- We will complete the new consolidated ESSA plan;
- We will enhance our support for districts by increasing two-way, proactive communication;
- We will improve parent engagement statewide through better tools, data resources, applications, and communication channels;
- We will enhance dual credit opportunities and work with policymakers to lower the costs for more families;
- We will continue to maintain high standards with our diploma, but lower the barriers to graduation caused by excessive high-stakes testing requirements; and
- We will begin to build a 2018 policy and budget agenda that focuses on supporting the diverse needs of our school districts and the 1.1 million students we serve.