Spokane is the community where Redinger grew up, before she went on to Washington State University and then earned her Ph.D in educational administration from the University of South Carolina.

Overseeing the second largest district in the state, she's played a critical role advocating for schools as the state legislature spent the better part of this decade trying to fulfill its mandate to fully fund education. Here are some of her thoughts on the state of the school district today.

Constructing new middle schools

Spokane Public Schools passed a bond, with the biggest outcome being the eventual construction of three new middle schools as well as the renovation of existing middle schools. She says students and parents should expect more natural light "so it doesn't feel like all these long corridors.

"We're very pleased with how all the planning has been going with the middle schools," she says. "There's a real desire to have more updated learning centers where students feel engaged and excited about the spaces."

Improving graduation rates

Spokane Public Schools long has had a goal of reaching a 90 percent graduation. How are they working toward that?

"I would say we're just really trying to make sure we're focusing on the whole child and intervening earlier and earlier," she says. "It's making sure their mental health needs are met, and we're trying to focus on early learning as well."

Changes for the 2019-20 school year

The school district is going to incorporate a curriculum to help with social and emotional learning at the secondary level. That curriculum is called CharacterStrong.

"Staff is wanting to have a clear, articulated program talking about social emotional supports and learning," Redinger says. "It's curriculum that everyone will be able to access."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.