Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New State Schools Chief Preparing To Take Office

Legislative Support Services Photography
Chris Reykdal served the 22nd District in the state House of Representatives. He takes office as the state schools chief Jan. 11.

Chris Reykdal is the state superintendent of public instruction-elect. He officially takes office Jan. 11, and is replacing Randy Dorn, who has served the state for the last eight years. There are definitely some challenges Reykdal will be facing in the first several months in office, especially when it comes to working with the legislature in finding ways to adequately fund basic education. 

88.5’s Ariel Van Cleave sat down with Chris Reykdal to talk about the funding question, and how his own background will affect how he approaches his role as the state schools chief.

Interview highlights

What parents can expect: "They should expect that this office will represent the whole of the state, not just urban centers. We have a lot of kids in rural Washington who need the same kind of access that we get in larger school districts."

Parental influence at OSPI: "It's very personal. I've very grateful to have transformed our executive team at OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction). Our new chief of staff has two kids in public school. Our new deputy director has two kids in public school. Our new government relations director, he has a kid in public school. So from an executive leadership team, we've never seen anything like this at OSPI."

School funding debate: "I think we live in this strange time where everyone seeks absolute victory. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, or label yourself some other way, if you're in the legislative environment a lot of times you start with the belief that I'm gonna win everything. I start with the idea that you should start with compromise. This is no time to act like you've got a monster majority or a monster mandate. This is the time to get together and make some tough sacrifices together."

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.