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Mary Alice Heuschel, the Renton Schools superintendent, will be Governor-elect Jay Inslee's chief of staff.
Inslee made the announcement this morning that Heuschel, who was among a trio picked to head his transition team, will go with him to Olympia next year.
Education will be one of the major issues facing the state in 2013. State government is under orders from the Supreme Court to improve public education so that it can meet its constitutional mandate that the education of its children is the state's paramount duty. According to some estimates, that could mean spending more than $1 billion more on schools in the 2013-15 budget, and even more in budget periods after that.
The state must also develop a system for establishing charter schools with in its public school system under an initiative approved this month by voters.
Governor-elect Jay Inslee named a three-person transition team today comprised of a school superintendent, a software executive and a university president as he put out a call for talent "every single place we can find it."
Inslee appointed Washington State University President Elson Floyd, Microsoft corporate counsel Brad Smith and Renton Schools Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel to lead his search for a new department heads when he takes office in July. The trio of "change agents" represents the kind of state government he said he wants to develop, from both sides of the Cascades, from different industries and from public and private sectors.
Floyd said he welcomed the opportunity to help position the state for economic growth: "We have an incredible talent base here in our state."
At the same time, he put out a call for Democrats, Republicans and independents who want help the state address what he called its great challenges. The state has struggled since the recession with declining revenues that don't cover its planned programs, and now faces a court mandate to increase spending on public schools to meet its constitutional obligations.
In responding to questions that followed his announcement . . .