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avatar for Kaaren Heikes

Kaaren Heikes

Charter School Commission
Commissioner
Olympia, WA
Kaaren Heikes is the Director of Policy and Partnerships for the Washington State Board of Education. She is the Board Chairperson Isabel Muñoz-Colón’s designee to the Commission.
An Olympia-area native, Kaaren has recently returned after spending most of her educational leadership career to-date in Portland, OR. Kaaren’s roles span teaching, designing, founding/leading regional and state-level education initiatives, programs and nonprofit organizations—all supporting high-quality options within the public school system—and advocating in Oregon’s legislature for sound educational policies, particularly for historically underserved children.

Kaaren was an instrumental leader in Oregon’s charter school arena (2004-2016). A passionate labor of love for the past five years, Kaaren served as one of four co-founders of KairosPDX, a leading nonprofit organization in North Portland dedicated to eradicating the racial opportunity and achievement gaps through serving children 0-10 and influencing the public school system through leadership, professional development, and policy advocacy. Kaaren continues serving on the KairosPDX Board.

John and Kaaren live in Tumwater with their three school-aged daughters, two adopted through foster care. Kaaren has earned a Master’s degree in K-12 Policy and Administration (Portland State University), a Bachelor’s degree in English (Central Washington University), and certification in both in K-12 Administration and Secondary Teaching.