Joshua Halsey

Executive DirectorJosh Headshot

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.


Dr. Catherine Fromme

New School Application Director

Cathy began her journey as an educator 35 years ago, as a first grade teacher in California and has held district, regional and state department positions in Washington, Oregon and California.  Prior to the Commission, Cathy was with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) where she developed Washington’s statewide Special Education Mediation System, chaired statewide education committees, and coordinated statewide professional development.  She was also the Diversity Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources where she facilitated positive/inclusive working relationships and diversity in the workplace.

Along with her state level policy development and implementation experience, Cathy brings extensive experience evaluating programs, projects and proposals at the local and state levels.  She is a long standing Peer Reviewer for federally funded programs, editing consultant and field researcher.  Cathy was most recently the Deputy Director for the Commission.  Her current work with the Commission focuses on directing the Commission’s charter school authorizing activities.

Cathy has consulted, written and presented extensively in the areas of workforce diversity, trust, relationship building, and transition and the change process, designing and implementing strategies for employee workforce diversity and conflict engagement.

She holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and Education from UCLA, an M.S. from San Jose State University, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington. A Washington resident for over 20 years, Cathy has two grown sons, both of whom attended North Thurston Public Schools in Lacey, WA.


Paula Kitzke

Special Education Program Review Supervisor

Paula joined the Commission on September 9, 2016.  She has a joint appointment as a special education Program Review Supervisor between the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction – Special Education Division and the Commission. 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.


Nadja Michel-Herf

Director of School Quality and Accountability

Nadja joined the Commission as Director of School Quality & Accountability on December 12, 2016. Prior to working at the Commission, Nadja served as the Assistant Director for Financial Performance & Strategy at the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation. In that role, in which the Mayor’s Office serves as charter authorizer, she managed the public charter application, replication, and renewal processes, culminating in approval of five new, three replicated, and four renewed schools, estimated to serve over 5,000 new students. She also oversaw financial performance oversight for all 39 Mayor Sponsored Charter Schools, including formative and summative monitoring and assessment and internal performance management. Nadja began her career in public education service at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). At DCPS, she managed the annual central office budget process, guiding programs to re-direct funds from lower impact to higher impact initiatives, in line with the 5-Year District strategic plan.

Nadja is passionate about equity and believes that all students, regardless of background or circumstances, deserve access to a quality public education.

Nadja graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from New York University. She earned her Master of Arts from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs where she was a Syracuse University Graduate Scholar and Maxwell Dean’s Professional Scholar.


Amanda Martinez

Executive Assistant

Coming soon!