Meet Lauri Hennessey, our new CEO!

League of Education Voters Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Lauri Hennessey as our new CEO on Nov. 12, 2019.

Lauri brings 30 years of experience in community engagement, advocacy, strategic communications, and fundraising. Her work in education has included building grassroots and communications campaigns for groups ranging from the Bezos Family Foundation to the University of Washington. She managed statewide communications for a race for Superintendent of Public Instruction (for Judi Billings) and also served as Acting Development Director for the Community Schools Collaboration.

Lauri’s commitment to racial equity and social justice has fueled her extensive volunteer work in the region, including board service and volunteer engagement with Treehouse, Mary’s Place, Thrive Washington, Seattle Rotary, and Southwest Youth and Family Services, among others. Earlier in her volunteer life, she chaired several PTSA Auctions, served as a PTSA President, and was involved with the state PTSA Legislative Council.

As Vice President of Engagement at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo for the past three years (2016-2019), Lauri directed a staff of more than 20 with responsibility for communications, advocacy/public affairs, marketing, and community engagement, including the Zoo for All initiative that reduced barriers and increased participation among many underserved communities. She previously directed public affairs in the Northwest for Edelman (2012-2016), working with a diverse portfolio of political and public affairs clients.

Lauri is most proud of her three grown children. In her spare time, she sings with the Seattle Women’s Chorus and in musicals in her community of Vashon Island. Her husband was a longtime school board member on Vashon and they have long been active in island children’s causes.

 

Love what we do? Support our work

Want to find out the latest in education news in Washington? Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to learn more about League of Education Voters? Find out here

Meet Laura Hitchcock, our new Interim CEO

Interim CEO Laura Hitchcock - League of Education VotersLaura Hitchcock comes to League of Education Voters as the Interim CEO from over 25 years in nonprofit and policy management. As a consultant, she has worked with Jan Glick & Associates to help strengthen organizational clients’ external, internal, and strategic focus, as well as provide strategic clarity to coalition and multi-organization initiatives, including facilitating the formation of the Early Learning Action Alliance.

Recent consulting engagements include facilitating Brave Conversations – a convening of over 25 youth services provider agencies to envision a better approach to serving youth, and strategic clarity work with behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, and cancer research organizations. An attorney by training, Laura has also served as Policy Director of the United Way of King County and Executive Director of the WA Public Health Association. She has also spent over 10 years working in local governments in the Seattle area, with a strong focus on policy research and policy advocacy to address equity in population outcomes.

A public school graduate from a family of teachers, Laura is the proud parent of two Seattle public school students and has been active in PTA and other district-level work in Seattle. For fun, she likes to get outside, travel, and to sample many of the new eateries popping up in the ever-changing region.

Welcome aboard, Laura! Read More

Wins, Losses, and What Lies Ahead

By Chris Korsmo, League of Education Voters CEO

Chris Korsmo

Friends,

As I prepare to leave the League after nearly twelve years, I’ve had the chance to reflect on our work, our wins, losses, and what lies ahead. I’m incredibly proud of my service to LEV and the kids we work so hard for. This team is talented, compassionate, and committed to improving the lives of our students and families – in particular, those furthest from opportunity. These past dozen years or so have been a tutorial on the changing needs and assets of Washington’s students, a slow societal and organizational awakening to the inequities we’ve baked into our entire system including the education system, and coming to terms with the need to change strategies to match or stay ahead of changing realities. Like all good living things, we’ve grown and changed, and we think we’re more impactful because of that evolution.

We started out 18 years ago focused on K-12 education funding, with the thinking that if we just put enough resources into the system, everything would be all right. We soon learned that money, while important, isn’t the only resource we need to consider. And we learned that if we start in kindergarten, we’re too late, and that ending at high school doesn’t guarantee much in terms of success for kids and families. Read More

Join us in wishing Chris well

Chris Korsmo

Our longtime CEO Chris Korsmo is leaving League of Education Voters effective November 1st. She is not going far – she will be joining our longtime strategic partners at Strategies 360.

We are extremely grateful for Chris’ leadership through a strong period of growth and transition. She and the LEV team drove critical changes to and billions of dollars in funding for Basic Education and played a leading role in two statewide campaigns – one to make levies a simple majority vote, and the other to bring public charter schools to Washington – all anchored in the education finance system and its role in delivering equitable opportunities to Washington’s students.

Under Chris’ leadership, LEV worked with partners to champion major investments in Early Childhood Education, expand postsecondary access through the College Bound Scholarship and State Need Grant, and begin new and exciting work to reach our students furthest from opportunity.

Chris is most proud of where LEV is now: building critical systems of support so that every student is career and college ready.

We are excited about the work ahead. In the 2019 legislative session and beyond, LEV will focus on early learning, career and college readiness, and working with and on behalf of our students furthest from opportunity.

The Board has begun the process of identifying an interim director and establishing the timeline for the search for the next Chief Executive of LEV. You can reach our Board Chair, Betsy Johnson, at BetsyJ@educationvoters.org and Board Vice Chair, Tom Halverson, at TomH@educationvoters.org.

Thank you for all you’ve done in support of Washington’s kids!

 

Love what we do? Support our work

Want to find out the latest in education news in Washington? Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to learn more about League of Education Voters? Find out here

Gov. Inslee 2018 Supplemental Budget Summary

Governor Jay Inslee - League of Education VotersToday, Governor Inslee released his 2018 Supplemental Budget Proposal. The Governor recommends an increase of $950 million for the 2018-19 school year to fully fund K-12 staff salaries a year earlier than the education funding plan passed during the 2017 legislative session. The Governor’s proposal would comply with the recent Washington State Supreme Court order that the state must fully fund basic education by the 2018-19 school year.

The proposed budget includes a provision (Page 227) to ensure that no school district would receive less combined state and local funding in the 2018-19 school year or after than they would have under the state and local funding laws prior to the 2017 legislative session. This is intended to ensure that when combining state and local funding levels no district will be worse off in the future with the newly passed funding plan than under previous law. It is unclear how many districts would qualify for this hold harmless provision and what the actual costs may be.

Read More

New Student Discipline Rules—Summary of Changes

kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823 (1)Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is proposing new student discipline rules as a result of changes to the law made by HB 1541 in 2016. HB 1541 requires that expulsions be no longer than an academic term (previously a year); students cannot be long-term suspended or expelled for “discretionary discipline;” school districts must provide educational services to students while they are suspended or expelled; and other changes to the development and distribution of district discipline policies, training, and reengagement plans.

Want to comment on the proposed rules? Find out how to share your opinion.
Read More

October Education Advocate

education advocate header

 

Greetings

Arik Korman
Arik Korman, Communications Director

The school year is well under way, and it’s hard to believe that Halloween is around the corner. My third-grade son can’t wait to put on his ninja costume and grow his candy hoard.

Here at League of Education Voters, we’re finalizing our priorities for 2018 and offering you some great resources. On October 24th, we’re hosting a free LEVinar on how Washington’s education results compare with those of other states across the country. And we published podcast interviews with both candidates for the 45th Legislative District Senate race. The outcome of this November 7 special election will determine who controls the state legislature.

I’d like to thank each of you who generously donated during our Back to School campaign. We couldn’t do our work without you, so if you haven’t supported us lately, you can still make a gift today.

Read below for more about our work.

Thanks again for all you do for Washington’s kids. We’re all in this together.

Arik Korman signature

 

 

Arik Korman

Read More

Statement of Belief

We believe in the transformative power of public education.

Public education is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy, preparing our children for stable, family-wage jobs, and contributing to the well-being of their families and community.

We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Connect Tri-Cities

Connect Tri-cities 2017 logo - Square

October 10-12, 2017

Kennewick, WA

By the Connect Tri-Cities Team

What is Connect Tri-Cities? It’s a job fair. A STEM competition. Veterans outreach. Retirement planning. Networking. Interactive exhibits. Job skills preparation. Guest speakers. Connect Tri-Cities will be a resource for the Tri-Cities community, employers and job seekers, sponsored by Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance and their corporate partners, Leidos, Jacobs and Centerra Group.

Connect Tri-Cities seeks to collaborate with community and nation-wide stakeholders to support an effective transfer of knowledge and recruit job seekers in collaboration with STEM, trade/craft and apprenticeship organizations.

Read More