New WA Student Achievement Council Holds First Meeting

On Wednesday, October 10, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) held its first public meeting at South Seattle Community College. The WSAC officially came into existence on July 1, 2012, replacing the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB). The legislature eliminated the HECB in the 2011 legislative session, replacing it with the WSAC.

The first meeting of the WSAC served as a “get-to-know you session.” Each board member had an opportunity to spend a bit of time introducing him/herself to the council and audience. These introductions were followed presentations from the various departments of the WSAC on the role and function of their respective divisions.  

Following introductions, WA State Representative Larry Seaquist (sponsor of HB 2483 , the legislation establishing the WSAC) discussed the council’s role and mission from the legislature’s perspective. Among their duties, the Council has been charged with providing the strategic planning, oversight, and advocacy to support increased student success and higher overall levels of educational attainment in Washington State. It is a cabinet-level state agency.

The Council consists of nine members. They include five selected by the Governor to represent the public, and one from each of the following four education communities:  the public four-year institutions, the community and technical colleges, the independent non-profit institutions and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. One of the citizen members must be a student.  The Council is supported by a staff of about 100 employees.   

All board members were present for the first meeting. They include:

  • Brian Baird - Former Congressman
  • Scott Brittain - District Project Director for the Ferndale School District -K-12 Representative
  • Marty Brown - Executive Director to the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges - Community College Representative
  • Jose Gaitan - Managing Member of the Gaitan Group, PLLC
  • Lindsey Jahn - Student Representative, Washington State University
  • Raymond Lawton – Former Owner of Lawton Printing Inc. and Vice president of File-EZ Folder Inc. – Independent Colleges of Washington Representative
  • Constance W. Rice - Managing Director for Knowledge Management at Casey Family Programs
  • Jay Reich – Pacifica Law Group and former Deputy Chief of Staff to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
  • Jane Sherman – Interim Director to the Council of Presidents – Public Baccalaureate Representative