OSPI - Leadership
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  About OSPI

Agency Leadership

Randy Dorn State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Ken Kanikeberg Chief of Staff
Vacant Chief Financial Officer
Robert Butts Early Learning
Doug Gill Special Education
Michael Merrin Student and School Success
Ken Emmil Career and College Readiness
Dierk Meierbachtol Chief Legal Officer
Gil Mendoza K-12 Education
Deb Came Assessment and Student Information
Dan Newell Secondary Education
Gayle Pauley Special Programs and Federal Accountability
Peter Tamayo Information Technology Services
Kathe Taylor Learning and Teaching
Ben Rarick State Board of Education


Randy I. Dorn
Randy I. Dorn

Randy I. Dorn, State Superintendent | Superintendent@k12.wa.us
Roni Pettit, Executive Assistant | Roni.Pettit@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6115

Randy Dorn, Washington state’s 15th superintendent of public instruction, supports the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts. Together they administer basic education programs and implement education reform to the more than one million students in the state. Superintendent Dorn:

  • Distributes billions of dollars in state and federal money to districts.
  • Works with districts to ensure school buildings and buses are safe.
  • Creates statewide learning standards.
  • Monitors the teacher certification process, and provides professional development for teachers.
  • Oversees recommendations for textbooks and classroom materials.
  • Oversees an assessment system that monitors how students are learning the statewide standards.

As head of OSPI, Superintendent Dorn also directs an agency of about 400 employees.
Invite Superintendent Dorn to Attend Your Event


Ken Kanikeberg
Ken Kanikeberg

Ken Kanikeberg, Chief of Staff | Ken.Kanikeberg@k12.wa.us
Roni Pettit, Executive Assistant | Roni.Pettit@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6115

The Chief of Staff oversees internal agency operations and external agency programs, and he provides leadership and resources for improving curriculum, instruction, and assessment to support districts in implementing the four learning goals so all students develop skills necessary for their future. The Chief of Staff:

  • Directs the administration of agency operations.
  • Manages the development, administration, and evaluation of agency policies and procedures that assist staff in operations of the agency.
  • Oversees all divisions within the agency and directs oversight of Financial Resources, Governmental Relations, and Human Resources.
  • Works with staff to provide necessary leadership and resources to allow them to work to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • Develops, implements, and oversees key projects and programs on behalf of the Superintendent.
  • Is lead governmental relations/liaison with the state Legislature and Governor for financial/budget purposes.


Dierk Meierbachtol
Dierk Meierbachtol

Dierk Meierbachtol, Chief Legal Officer | Dierk.Meierbachtol@k12.wa.us

The Chief Legal Officer is responsible for coordinating legal services for the agency. The Chief Legal Officer:

  • Oversees OSPI’s Equity and Civil Rights Office, Office of Professional Practices, and public records unit.
  • Acts as an initial resource for legal questions arising within the agency.
  • Serves as a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office for litigation and general legal advice.
  • Coordinates agency rule-writing and monitors rulemaking efforts.


Gil Mendoza
Gil Mendoza

K-12 Education
Gil Mendoza, Deputy Superintendent | Gil.Mendoza@k12.wa.us
Jami Peterson, Executive Assistant | Jami.Peterson@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6343

The Deputy Superintendent for K-12 Education has supervising responsibility for Teaching and Learning, Assessment and Student Information, Career and College Readiness, District and School Improvement and Accountability, Special Programs and Federal Accountability, and Student Support. The Deputy Superintendent:

  • Represents the Superintendent in K-12 outreach efforts.
  • Coordinates agency responses to inquiries about K-12 issues.
  • Supervises administrators who have direct responsibility for K-12 operations.
  • Serves as a member of the OSPI Executive Leadership Team.


Vacant, Assistant Superintendent, Chief Financial Officer | 360-725-6292
Jackie Hansman, Executive Assistant | Jackie.Hansman@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6111

The chief financial officer is responsible for the distribution of funding: agency budgeting; research on school funding; and collecting data on enrollment, personnel and financial information. The office:

  • Oversees School Apportionment and Financial Services, which includes state and federal money.
  • Oversees Grants Management.
  • Works with School Facilities and Organization section to coordinate planning, construction and renovations of school buildings.
  • Acts as agency budget office, including providing fiscal services to every section within OSPI.
  • Coordinates Audit Management and Resolution section.
  • Manages Pupil Transportation, Traffic Safety Education, and Child Nutrition.

Robert Butts
Robert Butts

Early Learning
Robert Butts, Assistant Superintendent | Bob.Butts@k12.wa.us | 360-725-0420
Mercedes Eckroth, Administrative Assistant | Mercedes.Eckroth@k12.wa.us | 360-725-4952

The Assistant Superintendent for Early Learning is responsible for working with the Department of Early Learning, Thrive by Five Washington, Educational Service Districts, and school districts to enhance the quality of early learning in our public schools. The Early Learning office:

  • Works closely with early learning providers and statewide organizations to improve the transition of children into kindergarten.
  • Coordinates the agency’s early learning activities, such as state-funded full-day Kindergarten, WaKIDS, the annual Starting Strong Institute.
  • Streamlines the exchange of information between early learning providers and schools.


Gayle Pauley
Gayle Pauley

Special Programs and Federal Accountability
Gayle Pauley, Assistant Superintendent | Gayle.Pauley@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6170
Carrie Hert, Executive Assistant | Carrie.Hert@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6170

The Assistant Superintendent for Special Programs and Federal Accountability is responsible for leading and assisting through both state and federal programs -- including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- school districts in raising the academic achievement of students who face the challenges of disability, poverty, second language acquisition, learning difficulty, and mobility. The office is in charge of:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • Consolidated Program Review
  • Highly Capable Program (HCP)
  • Native Education
  • Learning Assistance Program (LAP)
  • Migrant and Bilingual Education
  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act / No Child Left Behind
  • Paraeducators
  • Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP)
  • School Library Media Programs and Teacher-Librarians
  • Title I
  • Title II, Part A

Doug Gill
Doug Gill

Special Education
Doug Gill, Assistant Superintendent | Doug.Gill@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6075
Beverly Gunkel, Administrative Assistant | beverly.gunkel@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6075

The Assistant Superintendent for Special Education is responsible for ensuring the provision of special education and related services on behalf of more than 130,000 eligible students in Washington. The office:

  • Allocates federal and state special education funding, including the provision of supplemental safety net funding for individual high need students and school districts that can demonstrate a unique community impact in the area of special education.
  • Regulates the provision of special education services through an integrated monitoring system, dispute resolution options and coordinated data management efforts.
  • Facilitates program improvement efforts aimed at utilizing evidence based and promising practices in the improvement of eligible student academic and post school outcomes.


Michael Merrin
Michael Merrin

Student and School Success
Michael Merrin, Assistant Superintendent | Michael.Merrin@k12.wa.us | 360-725-4960
Shelley Buresh, Executive Assistant | Shelley.Buresh@k12.wa.us | 360-725-4960

Student and School Success is committed to ensuring that every student in Washington attends an excellent school with quality teachers. The office:

  • Manages federal dollars supporting school improvement efforts in Washington.
  • Supports collaboration between OSPI, regional ESDs, and districts to ensure best-practices and an ongoing network of support for teachers, administrators, and district officials statewide.
  • Coordinates efforts through the Washington Improvement and Implementation Network (WIIN).
  • Actively engages stakeholders in advocacy work to ensure a continually growing and equitable graduation/college ready rate.


Ken Emmil
Ken Emmil

Career and College Readiness
Ken Emmil, Assistant Superintendent | Ken.Emmil@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6256
Diane Gard, Executive Assistant | Diane.Gard@k12.wa.us | 360-725-4469

Career and College Readiness works to promote the quality and rigor of Career and Technical Education and Secondary Education courses, provide students with options that link middle school to high school and to post-secondary opportunities, blend academic and technical studies, and most importantly, connect students to their goals for the future. Career and College Readiness:

  • Manages Career and Technical Education programs that lead to industry certification, apprenticeships, and college degrees.
  • Supervises Skills Centers that specialize in high-cost, high-demand programs.
  • Manages High Demand grants, equivalency credit opportunities, and Running Start for the Trades.
  • Oversees Perkins Federal legislation.

Assessment and Student Information
Deb Came, Assistant Superintendent | Deb.Came@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6334
Troi Williams, Executive Assistant | Troi.Williams@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6334

Assessment and Student Information produces and implements state and federally required tests and collects and reports information about Washington’s public school students. The office:

  • Administers assessments in reading, mathematics, writing and science in grades 3-8 and high school.
  • Monitors student progress toward meeting testing requirements for high school graduates, including approved assessment options.
  • Coordinates the regular collection and reporting of student data from school districts.
  • Disseminates formative assessments for teachers to use in the classroom for the purpose of monitoring instruction and improving learning.


Dan Newell
Dan Newell

Secondary Education and Student Support
Dan Newell, Assistant Superintendent | Dan.Newell@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6176
Breanne Conley, Executive Assistant | Breanne.Conley@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6175

Secondary Education and Student Support provides leadership and resources to Washington state schools and counselors who ready students for academic success and career preparation, and assists schools and districts to develop and improve systems that support student academic success. The office:

  • Oversees graduation requirements (High School and Beyond, senior project, exams, credits), state and federal dual enrollment programs (Running Start), and dropout prevention.
  • Responds to inquiries and concerns from teachers, administrators, and parents and follows up with appropriate action and resolution.
  • Provides support and recognition of efforts to secondary schools by regular visitations.
  • Administers Career Guidance WA, a life skills and planning program for students in grades 6 through 12.
  • Oversees the Learning and Teaching Support Division to include Children of Incarcerated Parents, Coordinated School Health, Readiness to Learn, School Safety Center, and various others.


Peter Tamayo
Peter Tamayo

Information Technology Services
Peter Tamayo, Chief Information Officer | Peter.Tamayo@k12.wa.us | 360- 725-6134
Shaylah Seymour, Executive Assistant | Shaylah.Seymour@k12.wa.us | 360-725-4995

The Information Technology Services (ITS) coordinates the integration of technology to improve teaching and learning in the state of Washington by providing leadership and management of technology, a telecommunications infrastructure, and the tools for students, teachers and administrators in the K-12 sector The office:

  • Provides technical support to the OSPI Web site and develops and maintains software for OSPI and the school districts.
  • Supports and manages the OSPI IT infrastructure including video conferencing.
  • Develops, manages and supports projects, programs, training and successful practices that integrate technology into teaching and learning.
  • Conducts data mining and reporting to comply with OSPI, state, and federal reporting requirements.


Kathe Taylor
Kathe Taylor

Learning and Teaching
Kathe Taylor, Assistant Superintendent | Kathe.Taylor@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6417
Judy Decker, Executive Assistant | Judy.Decker@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6432

Learning and Teaching encompasses a broad spectrum of content areas and programs including, reading, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, health and fitness, environment and sustainability education, sexual health education, international education, world languages, learning and technology support, and early learning. The office:

  • Leads the development, review, and revision of Washington’s K-12 learning standards.
  • Provides professional development and technical assistance in partnership with education leaders and regional and local stakeholders statewide to build a coherent and consistent system of support for implementation of state standards.
  • Partners with other OSPI divisions and state/regional stakeholders to support integration and coordination of programs and activities, including the development of state formative assessment systems and implementation of OSPI-developed assessment in social studies, the arts, and health and fitness.
  • Administers federal, state, and privately funded programs focused on improving widespread teaching and learning.


Ben Rarick
Ben Rarick

The Executive Director of the State Board of Education also is a member of the State Superintendent’s cabinet.

State Board of Education
Ben Rarick, Executive Director | Ben.Rarick@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6027
Denise Ross, Executive Assistant | Denise.Ross@k12.wa.us | 360-725-6027

The Washington State Board of Education’s role in the K-12 system is to lead the development of state policy, provide system oversight, and advocate for student success. The Board is comprised of 16 members, and is supported by a staff of nine. The Board:

  • Ensures that all children in Washington receive an equitable and excellent education through a continuous system of improvement for schools and districts through a fair and transparent accountability system.
  • Develops a system of graduation requirements that will result in improving student preparation for post-secondary education and the 21st century world of work and citizenship.
  • Increases the graduation rate and develops ways to personalize education.
  • Works with partners to develop a systematic approach so that students and teachers receive the support they need to learn and teach under the new math and science standards.




   Updated 10/28/2016

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  360-725-6000  TTY 360-664-3631
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