Marty Brown announces retirement from State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
OLYMPIA, Wash. — After four years of leading Washington’s community and technical college system and nearly 40 years of public service, Marty Brown today announced his plan to retire June 30. Brown has been executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) since 2012.
“We’ve got two great kids and four wonderful grandchildren with a fifth on the way,” said Brown. “I’ve been blessed in my career and worked with, and for, great people for nearly 40 years.”
During Brown’s time at SBCTC, Washington won several coveted grants that moved the state’s community and technical college system into the national spotlight. As a result, colleges are organizing courses around distinct career paths so students have clearer, simpler choices. Colleges are also tailoring math requirements — often a bottleneck toward graduation — to students’ career and university goals instead of requiring a “one-size-fits-all” sequence. For English language learners, courses are taught in the context of real work and life experiences. Students learn not only how to speak English, but how to navigate their lives in Washington.
The community and technical college system also brokered new transfer agreements to make it easier for students to transfer credits to universities, and launched more applied bachelor degree programs. The degrees allow students who have 2-year, job-specific associate degrees to take two more years of study at a community or technical college rather than starting from scratch at a university.
According to State Board Chair Shaunta Hyde, it all adds up to moving students further and faster through college and into careers. “Students don’t have time or money to waste, and neither do the employers who count on them,” said Hyde. “With his budget and legislative savvy, Marty has delivered excellent results for students, colleges and our state. Marty may be leaving us but his impact to our system will have a lasting legacy.”
Today’s announcement capped a long-term career in state government, in which Brown shepherded policies, budgets and negotiations under two governors, the state Legislature and — most recently — for the community and technical college system. Considered by many to be a behind-the-scenes statesman, Brown began employment in 1977 as a Senate committee staff member. He then advanced to become Senate Democratic Caucus attorney, Senate Democratic staff director, and secretary of the Senate.
In 1997, he was named director of legislative affairs for incoming Gov. Gary Locke, for whom he later became deputy chief of staff and director of the Office of Financial Management.
Upon taking office in 2005, then-Gov. Gregoire appointed Brown as her director of legislative affairs and later gave him an encore opportunity to serve as the director of the Office of Financial Management in 2010 – the position he held before moving to the SBCTC.
Brown said he wanted to see the community and technical college system through one more legislative session before retiring. He said state funding for the 34 community and technical colleges is even lower today than it was before the Great Recession. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, we can all agree that people need solid, well-paying jobs in Washington” said Brown. “The runway to those jobs runs right through our college system.”
Washington's 34 community and technical colleges comprise the state's largest system of higher education. Each year, about 386,000 students train for jobs, prepare to transfer to a university, gain basic math and English skills, or pursue continuing education. SBCTC oversees the system, sets policy, allocates state operating and capital funds to the colleges, strategically plans the two-year college mission, and approves educational programs.