September Paraeducator Board Newsletter

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Next Meeting

Nov 15-16, 2017

The Heathman Lodge

Vancouver, WA

Future Meetings

Jan 10

Mar 14

May 16

July 25

Sep 26

Nov 28

For additional information, visit our Paraeducator Board Meetings Page

Board Members

Jan Byers-Kirsch

Jessica Giffin

Ricardo Iñiguez

Mandy Manning

Cindy Rockholt

Laura Rogers

Loren Sickels

Cathy Smith (Chair)

Ann Willamson


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Good afternoon!

We are excited to share the first Paraeducator Board newsletter from the Professional Educator Standard Board’s staff team. The newsletter focuses on the activities of the Board, state initiatives concerning paraeducators, and is an opportunity to showcase upcoming events, great opportunities, and news.

Being the inaugural bulletin, we have plenty of information to impart to you, including an introduction to the Board, a recap of the first meeting, innovative programming, and some key articles.

We welcome you to forward this newsletter to interested parties, and we look forward to sharing our newsletter with you again next month.


Alexandra Manuel
Deputy Director


The Paraeducator Board, administered by the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB), consists of nine members appointed to four-year terms, and its chair appointed by the governor. Subject to confirmation by the senate, appointments to the board must be made as follows:

  1. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) shall appoint a basic education paraeducator, a special education paraeducator, an English language learner paraeducator, a teacher, a principal, and a representative of the office of the superintendent of public instruction.
  2. The Washington state parent teacher association shall appoint a parent whose child receives instructional support from a paraeducator.
  3. The state board for community and technical colleges shall appoint a representative of the community and technical college system.
  4. The student achievement council shall appoint a representative of a four-year institution of higher education as defined in RCW 28B.10.016. 

The Paraeducators Board members are:

  • Jan Byers-Kirsch
  • Jessica Giffin
  • Ricardo Iñiguez
  • Mandy Manning
  • Cindy Rockholt
  • Laura Rogers
  • Loren Sickels (Vice Chair)
  • Cathy Smith (Chair)
  • Ann Willamson

For more information, visit the website,


The first Paraeducator Board meeting was held in Spokane, WA on September 20-21. 

Members received presentations by PESB and OSPI staff on their roles and responsibilities serving on a state regulatory board, and their duties and charge as members of the newly established Paraeducator Board (as legislated in HB 1115).

By the conclusion of the meeting, the Board had discussed numerous items requiring development over the next year. A draft of the Board's work plan will be discussed during the November meeting. 

Available online are the September Board meeting materials and a summary.

Materials for meetings are shared with the Board and the public in advance of the meeting. To find information about the next board meeting, visit our meetings page. Materials are typically available a week prior to the meeting.


We are accepting members to participate in a new volunteer subcommittee created by the Paraeducator Board. 

The goal of the subcommittee is to review modules that have been designed to educate paraeducators on the recently passed Paraeducator Standards of Practice. These modules, titled “Paraeducators: What We do Matters” (link to promotional video of modules), were created under the supervision of OSPI, and contracted to Education Northwest for development.

If you are interested in participating as a subcommittee member, please complete our online form.


The Paraeducator Board is pleased to announce the Pipeline for Paraeducators Conditional Scholarship! This program can provide funding for paraeducators, with a minimum of three years classroom experience and no college degree, up to $4,000 towards earning their Associate of Arts degree from a Washington community or technical college, with the intention of becoming a fully certified teacher. Those awarded will be required to complete their AA within two years of being awarded, making them eligible to enroll in an Alternative Route 1 program, and go on to earn their certification and teach for a minimum of two years. 

More information on the requirements and responsibilities of candidates can be online, and applications are now available:


Road Map GYO Educator Regional Gathering: October 23

We are excited about the upcoming Monday, October 23, Road Map GYO Educator Regional Gathering. Regional Gatherings bring many stakeholders together who are interested in the efforts to “Grow Your Own” Educators. Please join us as we come together to discuss what has happened since we last gathered a year ago, create new partnerships, celebrate the efforts, and talk about next steps.

Register Eventbrite :Monday, October 23, 2:00-4:00pm, Highline College, Mt. Constance/Olympus|2400 S 240th St, Des Moines,WA 98198

If you have any questions, please contact


We are excited to welcome two new full-time staff to assist the Paraeducator Board in its initiatives. 

Jack Busbee, Program Manager
Jack transitioned into this position from his prior role as Sr. Program Officer with the National Academy of Education in Washington, DC, where he led professional development programming for scholars seeking to advance the field of education research. He very much looks forward to advancing the skills of paraeducators in the state of Washington.

Nicole George, Administrative Assistant
Nicole, a current graduate student, expects to earn a Masters of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. She joins us from Juneau, Alaska, where she was previously employed with Sealaska Heritage Institute’s education department. Nicole is excited for the opportunity to support the newly established Paraeducator Board. 


Sep 27, 2017 – "Puyallup School District paraeducators secure higher pay in new agreement", published by the Seattle Times

Sep 18, 2017 – "Bilingual Paraeducators Bridge Gap Between Student, Teacher", published by Gov. Jay Inslee and his administration

Sep 15, 2017 – "Tackling The Lack Of Teacher Diversity In Washington Schools", published by Northwest Public Radio

Sep 12, 2017 – "Washington’s 2018 Teacher of the Year: ‘Be fearless, be kind, get to know your neighbors’", published by The Seattle Times [Mandy Manning is a member of the Paraeducator Board]

Aug 22, 2017 – "Paraeducators Find Alternate Path to Teaching: School districts take part in partnership that helps them earn full-time certification", published by The Columbian

Aug 21, 2017 – “With principals in ‘crisis mode,’ new Washington state law taps into thousands of potential teacher recruits”, published by the Seattle Times