Welcome! My name is Chris Reykdal and I hope to earn your support as I seek the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). I want to be your voice and leader overseeing our state’s K-12 public education system. Washington is one of only thirteen states that elects this position – a powerful notion for a state with the strongest constitutional obligation to our public schools. Our founders clearly wanted our chief of schools to be independent of the Governor so they established the Superintendent role to be directly accountable to voters. With the partisanship of contemporary politics, our founders made a wise choice!
I was born and raised in Snohomish Washington and I still cherish that small town upbringing. My wife (Kim) and I are raising our family in historic Tumwater Washington. I grew up the youngest of eight children. It was my public education that gave me a chance to break the cycle of poverty. In school and on the athletic fields I was not a low-income kid, or the son of recovering alcoholics, or any of the other labels that hold us back. I was simply a hard working student, and with the support of my family, teachers, and our community, everything was possible for me. I went on to be the first in my family to go straight to college. I put myself through college with multiple jobs, scholarships, grants, and student loans. The truth is, nobody does this alone. I am the benefactor of a state and a community that was committed to giving me opportunity. That is the very definition of public education – the great equalizer. I have dedicated my entire life to public education so that I can break down barriers to ensure that every child, regardless of income, gender, race, ethnicity or geography has the same shot at success that was given to me.
This race is personal for me! I began my professional career as a school teacher, I’ve served on a local school board, and I’ve spent the last thirteen years as an executive in our State’s public community and technical college system. I have experienced education in this state from nearly every perspective. I was elected to the State Legislature five years ago and I currently serve as Vice-chair of the House Education Committee. I also serve on the House Higher Education Committee and the House Finance Committee. My wife is also a former classroom teacher and is currently a career and college readiness counselor at Olympia High School. She also serves as a current school board member in the Tumwater District. Our family eats, sleeps, and breaths high quality public education every day! If elected, I will be the first OSPI director in more than 20 years whose children will actually be in our public K-12 system subject to the policies, decisions, and outcomes of my leadership. The stakes are high for my kids, your kids, our economy, and our shared future.
I hope you will take the time to read through some critical policy values I hold and a more in-depth resume. Mostly, I hope you will engage in this critical race. There is nothing more democratic, more forward thinking, or more critical to the future of our state than our excellent K-12 public school system.