June 7, 2022 Update
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges today selected Paul Francis as
the organization’s new executive director. Francis currently serves as executive director
of the Council of Presidents (COP), an Olympia-based association of Washington’s six
public baccalaureate degree-granting colleges and universities. He will assume his
new role Aug. 1, pending agreement on terms of his employment.
State Board Chair Jay Reich described Francis as a passionate leader with a background
well-suited to advance the community and technical college system, close racial equity
gaps and improve student completion rates.
"Paul Francis brings an exciting perspective to our system of colleges," Reich said.
"His experience leading strategic initiatives, working with community and education
partners, and advancing innovative ideas in service of students will prove invaluable.
I'm confident Paul will build upon Washington's community and technical colleges'
reputation as national leaders in higher education."
As executive director for the Council of Presidents, Francis works with the presidents
of Washington state's six public colleges and universities to set a shared strategic
direction for the institutions. He also works with interinstitutional committees,
the governor's office and Washington state Legislature on policy affecting the college
and universities. Francis also serves as a member of the Washington Student Achievement
Council and the Workforce Education Investment Accountability and Oversight Board.
Francis, a first-generation college student, received his Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science from the University of Arizona, graduating summa cum laude. He also earned
a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona, serving as president
of the MPA student association and was named a Rombach Scholar. Francis also completed
the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program through the John F. Kennedy
School of Government at Harvard University. Pending successful contract negotiations,
he will replace retiring executive director Jan Yoshiwara.
"Being selected as executive director is an enormous honor," Francis said. “In my
role with the Council of Presidents, I’ve had the great fortune of partnering closely
with our state’s community and technical college system. I’ve seen firsthand how the
colleges transform lives by giving Washingtonians of all ages and backgrounds the
training and education to enter careers and universities. I’m excited to jump in and
strengthen the great work already underway.”