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Gov. Jay Inslee announced today the appointment of Erin Okuno as director of the Office of Education Ombuds (OEO). Okuno will replace acting director Yordanos Gebreamlak.

The OEO is crucial to reducing the opportunity gap by supporting families, students, educators, and communities in understanding the public K-12 education system. The office resolves concerns collaboratively by building positive relationships; listening to the perspectives of families, students, educators, and community advocates; and sharing those voices in state policy conversations to improve outcomes for students.

Okuno has extensive experience building, leading, and staffing high-performing organizations and building strong partnerships and relationships. Prior to this appointment, Okuno, who has been the executive director of Southeast Seattle Education Coalition since 2014, brings to the job a deep understanding of racial equity and experience working with communities of color and supporting underserved and overlooked communities.

“Erin’s strong background and record of leading racial equity, community engagement, and program management will make her an outstanding director to the OEO. She has the desire to ensure students are receiving their education and advocating for them and their families,” Inslee said. “We look forward to Erin’s leadership. And thank you to Yordanos Gebreamlak, who has been serving as acting director since April. I’d also like to thank Carrie Basas who served as the director from September 2015 to April 2022.”

“I am looking forward to joining the OEO team and serving the people of Washington. I’ve partnered with OEO staff in the past and I’m excited to join this exceptional team and learn along side them to better serve communities of color and improve education for our most vulnerable students,” said Erin Okuno.

Erin holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in public administration from Seattle University.

Okuno’s appointment goes into effect Nov. 1.

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