Yakima school board member Raymond Navarro has been recommended to Gov. Jay Inslee for a seat on the state’s charter schools commission, the board member confirmed this week.
Navarro, if appointed, would fill the seat of commissioner Chris Martin of Spokane, who will not seek a second term after his term expires in March. A Washington State Charter School Commission official said the panel would like to have a representative from Central Washington.
The Washington State Charter School Commission is a nine-member panel appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker that oversees the state’s charter school system and meets about once a month. Its members serve four-year terms and only get reimbursed for travel expenses.
The Yakima resident said he found out last week that someone nominated him to Inslee as a potential replacement. He said he was surprised by the recommendation — he does not know who submitted it — but would gladly accept an appointment if the possibility arises.
“It’s a good opportunity to get in with this new education reform movement ... a great chance to continue serving in education,” Navarro said.
He first served on the Yakima school board from 2006 to 2009 before losing his re-election bid. Navarro was then appointed in 2011 and was elected to a two-year term in November. He had no opponent in the contest.
Appointment to the commission would not present a conflict of interest with his school board seat, officials said.
Navarro is the director of Central Washington University’s academic achievement programs and the principal investigator for the university’s TRIO student support services and educational opportunities programs.
In order to gain full consideration for the commission, Navarro must fill out a formal application, which he said he has not yet received. Inslee’s office must vet his application — along with those of other potential candidates — before an appointment is made. Commission officials have no say on who gets appointed.
Joshua Halsey, the charter school commission’s executive director, said he would like to have a commissioner from Central Washington — a region with no representation among the nine members. The two on the current panel residing east of the Cascades are from the Spokane area.
“We would love to welcome someone from Yakima to be on the commission,” said Halsey.
The commission’s next meeting Jan. 30 holds major implications for charter schools in the state as the nine will approve or deny 19 charter school proposals, including one each from Yakima and Sunnyside.
The Spokane School District, the other charter school authorizer in the state, approved one of three proposals Wednesday. The charter school would welcome its first students in the 2015-16 school year.