Membership Overview
Membership overview


The State Board of Education’s (SBE) election process is defined in RCW 28A.305.011. Of the 16 SBE members, five are elected, seven are appointed by the Governor, two serve as student representatives, and one serves as a private school representative. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is also a member of SBE.

Elected Representatives

Of the five public school elected representatives to SBE, two are from eastern Washington, and three are from western Washington. Candidates for election to SBE must meet several qualifications.1 The length of a candidate’s term with SBE is four years, and no elected candidate other than the Superintendent of Public Instruction can serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. The terms are staggered so that no more than two of the positions are open for election in a year, unless a member has resigned. No person employed in any public or private school, college, university, or other educational institution or any educational service district superintendent's office or in the office of the superintendent of public instruction is eligible for membership on the state board of education. No member of a board of directors of a local school district or private school may continue to serve in that capacity after having been elected to the state board.

A separate document covering the election process of elected school board members is available at:

Governor Appointees

Initial appointments to SBE occurred in staggered terms of one to four years in length. When a term expires, the Governor appoints or reappoints a representative for a new four-year term. Upon appointment, the Governor sends a letter to the appointee, copied to the SBE Executive Assistant. The letter includes the expiration date of the term. Appointees to SBE should meet the following qualifications:

  1. Demonstrated interest in public schools and supportive of educational improvement.
  2. A positive record of service.
  3. Can devote the time necessary to meet the responsibilities of SBE.

The law requires the Governor to consider the diversity population of the state when nominating a candidate. All nominations are subject to confirmation by the Senate. The application can be found on the Governor's website at:

Private School Representative

One member at-large is elected to a four-year term by the Private School Advisory Committee (PSAC).

Student Representatives

Student representatives serve two-year terms with SBE and are elected by the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL) Student Steering Committee. The annual election rotation ensures equal representation from eastern and western Washington and that one junior and one senior fill SBE positions. Each spring a sophomore is elected to serve. Students from eastern Washington are selected in even-numbered years, with western Washington offering the nominee in odd-numbered years.2

Qualified students must:

  1. Be enrolled in a secondary school throughout the academic years of his or her term.
  2. Be a sophomore at the time of selection.
  3. Reside and attend school in Washington state.
  4. Be able to attend and participate in all scheduled SBE and AWSL Board meetings.
  5. Have above-average grades and be responsible to make up school work missed while attending scheduled meetings.

More information, the application and due dates can be found on the Association of Washington School Principals website at:

Member Compensation

RCW 43.03.250:

(2) Each member of a class four group is eligible to receive compensation in an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars for each day during which the member attends an official meeting of the group or performs statutorily prescribed duties approved by the chairperson of the group. A person shall not receive compensation for a day of service under this section if the person (a) occupies a position, normally regarded as full-time in nature, in any agency of the federal government, Washington state government, or Washington state local government; and (b) receives any compensation from such government for working that day.

(3) Compensation may be paid a member under this section only if it is authorized under the law dealing in particular with the specific group to which the member belongs or dealing in particular with the members of that specific group.

RCW 28A.305.011:

(5) Members of the board appointed by the governor who are not public employees shall be compensated in accordance with RCW 43.03.250 and shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of the board in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.

1 WAC 392-109-065
(1) Eligibility: A person is eligible to be a candidate for only one position on the state board of education at a time.

(a) A candidate for a vacancy among the five positions on the state board elected by members of public school boards of directors must be a resident of the region represented by the position and meet the other qualifications established by RCW 28A.305.102; and
(b) A candidate for a vacancy in the position on the state board elected by private schools must be a resident of the state of Washington and meet the other qualifications established by RCW 28A.305.021.

(2) Forms for filing: A person who desires to be a candidate shall complete:

(a) The declaration and affidavit of candidacy form provided for in WAC 392-109-070; and
(b) The biographical data form provided for in WAC 392-109-075: Provided, that a declarant may elect not to submit biographical data.

2 Association of Washington School Principals - SBE Information

Procedures Manual

A resource guide for board members can be found here. The resource guide includes information on statutes and rules, board membership, new member forms, travel information/forms, and ethics.