Staff

Joshua Halsey

Executive Director

Joshua was appointed Executive Director of the Washington State Charter School Commission on October 7, 2013.  Prior to leading the Commission, Joshua was a Regional Program Developer at Puget Sound Educational Service District where he oversaw multiple education improvement grants and spearheaded the development of the South King County STEM Network, a key component of both the South King County’s Race to the Top Grant and the Road Map Project.  Joshua has also worked closely with multiple school district leaders throughout King and Pierce County, as well as state and national level leaders.

Joshua has a passion for serving others and supporting systems improvements in service of students and families.  His primary goal at the Commission is to lead the Commission to become the model charter school authorizer of the nation.

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Arts from Linfield College and a Masters of Arts in Organization Systems Renewal from Seattle University.

 

Paula Kitzke

Deputy Director

Paula joined the Commission in September 2016 as a Special Education Program Supervisor and in July of 2017 started in her role as Deputy Director. She began her career in education as a teacher in Colorado where she assumed various leadership roles in the districts. Paula accepted a teaching position at the University of Colorado – Denver where she worked to train teachers and administrators to support personnel working with students with disabilities. She also held a joint appointment at the University of Idaho between the College of Education and College of Life Sciences to support teacher evaluation and STEM resources for rural school districts.  Paula brings extensive experience supporting special education in charter schools at the state level. She has worked as a Program Specialist with a focus on policy and implementation for charter schools in Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and most recently four years in North Carolina.

Paula’s focus remains on supporting administrators in an educational system that meets the needs of students who are at risk and creatively utilizing all resources available so that every student will learn. She believes all students need a community in which they feel safe and are able to contribute within their environment.

Paula holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Arts from the University of Colorado. She remains a Badger and Green Bay Packer fan.

 

Krystal Starwich

Director of New School Applications

Krystal Starwich is the Director of New School Applications. Prior to this role, she served as the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) Charter School Program Grant Coordinator, in which she successfully built and implemented the Charter School Program and managed all grant-making and management activities.

Additionally, she served as an evaluator during the 2017-18 New Charter School Application cycle for both the Commission and Spokane Public Schools. She is thrilled to continue the work of the Commission, which has one of the most rigorous and well-regarded application processes in the country, to help realize its mission of authorizing only high-quality charter public schools. In addition, she is excited to spearhead new initiatives designed to help build knowledge and capacity in prospective applicants.

Prior to joining the Commission, she spent three years providing operations and student support at an independent school in Seattle. She earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Seattle University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Washington. Her non-profit professional experience includes legal advocacy, fund development, and program coordination.

Pacific NW born and raised, Krystal is a proud product of Washington’s public education system and credits programs like Running Start for her success as a student. She believes that charter schools with proper management and rigorous oversight, can provide students and families with a high-quality option to support their learning and development. She is passionate about youth civic engagement and has been a longtime volunteer and Board Member for the YMCA’s Youth and Government program.

 

 

Alyce McNeil

Communications Director and Legislative Liaison

Alyce McNeil joined the Commission staff as Communications Director in July 2017. She brings to the Commission extensive experience in communications, public relations, strategy, marketing, audience engagement, reputation management and crisis communications. That valuable experience comes from both the corporate world, as well as non-profit and agency experience. She spent more than 17 at State Farm insurance, having worked in three regional offices and the corporate headquarters. Most recently she was Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement at Tacoma Art Museum; prior to being employed she served for six years on the board of trustees.

Alyce is passionate about education and community engagement, and has followed charter schools’ growth and impact since living in New Jersey 15 years ago.   As Communications Director and Legislative Liaison, she looks forward to working with media, legislators, partners and communities to expand perspectives around charter public schools on the spectrum of public education, while building new partnerships of advocacy and support.

Born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO, Alyce has strong ties to the Midwest. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Arts degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She and her husband Frank Boykin live in University Place and are actively engaged in membership and service with more than 10 community organizations. She is an elected officer in her local chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and chairs the Arts and Letters committee in the Tacoma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Besides rooting for the Missouri Tigers, she’s an avid Cardinals fan. She enjoys running, cooking and decorating.

Daniel Nyachuba

Evaluation Analyst

Daniel Nyachuba serves as the Washington State Charter School Commission’s Evaluation Analyst. In his work, he prepares school evaluation, accountability, legal and compliance reports to identify critical issues for monitoring by Commission staff. He also partner with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commission contractors and external vendors. Additionally, Daniel compiles summaries of the reports for inclusion in evaluation and final renewal reports, as well as produce ad-hoc data reports on school performance as required by the Commission.

Daniel came to the Commission from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where he headed the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment. At Wiley College, Daniel supported the fulfillment of the mission of the college. Concretely, Daniel identified information needs; collected, analyzed and interpreted and reported data and information internally and externally.

Daniel holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also a CPA part II with the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

Amanda Martinez

Executive Assistant

Amanda joined the Commission in 2016. Prior to her work with the Commission, Amanda worked as an Executive Assistant for more than five years in the cosmetics industry, as well as for non-profits in the Seattle area. Her administrative experience working with a Vice President of Sales and Marketing, a General Manager and an Executive Director enhances the breadth of expertise, efficiency and energy she brings to the mission, and running the office. A passion for education, Amanda is our resident authority on Commission meeting management and organization, technology and all administrative functions in the office.

A proud “local girl” who grew up in Tumwater, Amanda received her BA degree in Finance and Management from Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA. She is “mom” to two puppies and a proud auntie to six nieces and nephews.