Dr. Bette Hyde was appointed Director of the Department of Early Learning (DEL) by Gov. Chris Gregoire on Feb. 10, 2009. Bette’s focus is on creating one statewide early learning system that prepares all Washington children for school and life. She strongly believes that school-readiness means ready schools, ready children, ready families and ready communities.
Bette previously served as superintendent of the 5,500-student Bremerton School District, well-known for its emphasis on partnering with local early learning groups to improve kindergarten readiness. She began her career as a special education teacher, and has worked as a school psychologist, principal and assistant superintendent in the Seattle, Vashon Island and Highline school districts. Bette worked as deputy superintendent for Puget Sound Educational Services District. She has served on the Governor's Washington Learns K-12 Advisory Committee, the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance, and the King County Commission on Children and Youth. Bette currently serves on our state’s Quality Education Council and the Higher Education Steering Committee.
Bette earned her doctorate from the University of Minnesota and completed a post-doctorate administrative certification from the University of Washington. She has two children, Sarah and Sam, a grandson, Mateus and a granddaughter, Anna.
Favorite children's book: Nancy Drew mysteries.
Best childhood memories: Singing on stage with my family from about age 3 on. At 3, it was "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." I think I liked it because it made my dad so happy. Our family were singers — in the car, around home, and on the stage, the radio, and a few times on TV.
Most important children in her life: My two children, Sarah and Sam, grandson Mateus and granddaughter Anna.
As deputy director, Heather provides day-to-day operational oversight for DEL. Prior to joining DEL, Heather was deputy director at Child Care Aware of Washington, where she helped lead the successful statewide roll-out of Early Achievers.
She has previous experience in state government, serving nine years as a research analyst with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and another five years as both a budget and policy analyst for the state Office of Financial Management.
Favorite children's book: The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
Best childhood memory: Winter weekends at the family cabin in Paradise Valley
Most important children in her life: My identical twin sons, Dylan and Dustin (although they are now young men, they will always be my boys!)
Assistant Director for Partnerships and Collaboration
Greg oversees the Partnerships and Collaboration division, which includes: Early Support for Infants and Toddlers; the Head Start State Collaboration Office; Medicaid Treatment Child Care; State-Local Coordination; the Early Learning Advisory Council; and Strengthening Families Washington (which includes Home Visiting, in partnership with Thrive By Five, and Child Abuse Prevention). The Partnerships & Collaboration division specializes in authentic family and community engagement, building external connections, fostering internal relationships, leading for racial equity from a social justice perspective, and encouraging healthy child development in all settings.
Greg worked in various roles in legislative education, health, and social policy from 1988 to 2005, including working for the Washington State Senate, United States Senate, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Since 2005, he has worked in education administration for programs in student support and for disproportionately served populations, and he has specialized experience in student and family engagement strategies. Greg earned his teachers’ certification in 1986, and his MA in Organizational Design and Renewal in 2007.
Favorite children’s books: The Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt (for children aged 3 to 7)
Best childhood memory: Growing up a “free range kid” in the woods and fields and waters and bike trails of North Rosedale, Washington
The most important children in his life: My grandchildren Sam, Ava, Keira, Chloe, Lily, and Kyle, and niecelets McKenzie and Lavender.
Chief Financial Officer
Mike Steenhout oversees financial services, which includes accounting, budget, payroll, contracts, procurement, grants management, and audit. Mike worked for three years at the Washington State Liquor Control Board managing the Finance Division and six years as a budget analyst at the Office of Financial Management. He also served in the United States Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Gulf War.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Evergreen State College, is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and has a certificate in project management from the University of Washington.
Favorite children’s book: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best childhood memory: Family trips to Clear Lake located at the headwaters of the McKenzie River in Western Oregon. Clear Lake is known as the "lake born of fire" and was formed 3000 years ago by a lava flow. We stayed in rustic cabins, rented a small row boats for fishing, and sat around the campfire late into the night.
Most important children in his life: My son Curtis.
Human Resources Manager
Robert Bouffard oversees DEL's Human Resources with the responsibility for implementing strategies and polices relating to employees. This includes recruitment, selection and on-boarding; training and development; performance management; labor and employee relations; personnel data management; and compliance with local, state, and federal labor laws.
Robert came to DEL from the Department of Labor and Industries, where he served as the Labor Relations Manager. Prior to that, he held several roles in Human Resources with the Department of Transportation.
Favorite children’s books: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, all by Shel Silverstein.
Best childhood memory: Summer vacations with my family to my grandparents' cabin in Lake Elsinore, CA.
Most important child in his life: My niece, Savannah.
Government and Community Relations Manager
Justin advocates at the state, local, and federal level for policies that promote healthy child development and school readiness. Through his former position as a Legislative Liaison and Policy Analyst with the Workforce Board, as well as being married to a licensed Family Home Child Care center owner and provider, he has an extensive knowledge and understanding of Washington’s laws and regulations surrounding early learning, child care licensing, and education policies in Washington State.
Justin conducted Masters level study of Public Administration at the Evergreen State College. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Washington University in Political Science writing an honors thesis on constituent mobilization. In addition to his recent work as a legislative liaison and policy analyst, Justin has also worked for the Washington House and Senate in both partisan and non-partisan roles. Justin also serves on the Olympia School District Board of Directors.
Favorite children's book: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.
Best childhood memory: Countless hours wandering in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula with my dad and our dog.
Most important children in his life: My 4 young sons, Leo, Abe, Will, and Emerson.
Chief Information Officer
Corina McCleary oversees information technology, data, and applications development for DEL, making sure everyone on the DEL team has the data, tools, and resources they need to do their jobs efficiently. She was instrumental in developing and launching DEL’s Web site, and leads development and implementation of other internal and external tools, including Child Care Check.
Corina has worked in project management, software development and process development for more than a decade, most recently as the director of application development for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she helped develop various online systems including ones to support teacher certification, student records and free lunch eligibility. She has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from The Evergreen State College and a certificate in project management from the University of Washington.
Favorite children’s book: Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton
Best childhood memory: Family water fights during the hot summer days seemed to naturally occur whenever the water spigot was on. My sister and I always ended up completely soaked and all the neighborhood kids would join in to share the screams, laughter and fun.
Most important children in her life: My stepson Khalil and daughter Mya.
Head Start Project Administrator
Caitlin oversees the Head Start State Collaboration Office. She joins us from Montana, and brings knowledge and experience in comprehensive early learning systems, programs and policies.
She has experience working with many parts of the early learning system: Head Start/Early Head Start, maternal and child health, child care, quality rating improvement systems, home visiting, and child welfare. She cares deeply about social justice for children and families, and loves working in a field where there are many possibilities for positive change.
Caitlin graduated with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington.
Favorite children’s book: The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Best childhood memory: Spending summers out at my grandparent’s wheat and cattle ranch in Montana. My siblings and I loved to catch frogs, go on the combine during harvest with our grandpa, and listen to our grandma read
The Chronicles of Narnia.
The most important children in his life: My niece Amabel, who lives (too far away) in Australia.
Assistant Director for Quality Practice and Professional Growth
Juliet oversees our state professional development system and implementation of Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). In that role, she makes sure that early learning professionals have support and incentivized training and education opportunities that help them offer high-quality early learning to children.
Juliet most recently served as DEL’s professional development program administrator. She oversaw development and implementation of the state QRIS pilot. She previously was the director of education for the Seattle Children’s Museum; has worked as a therapist specializing in the treatment of children, adolescents and families; and was director of child development at a nonprofit child development center. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology.
Favorite children’s book: Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.
Child Care Administrator
Lynne is DEL’s point of contact for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which includes development of the program plan, compliance with the approved plan and federal regulations, and appropriate program implementation. The CCDF plan provides around $112 million dollars per year to DEL to fund child care subsidies to low-income families, child care quality and training programs and licensing. Lynne also supervises agency policy staff for subsidy, collective bargaining and licensing.
Lynne has a wide background in programs related to children and families. She started her career in the Office of Research and Data Analysis for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, worked in Child Welfare Services, and then worked for two local Head Start programs as a home visitor, family and social service coordinator, and Head Start Director. She led the development of two federal demonstrations projects: one for the development of Head Start homeless services, and the other an intergenerational project for Head Start. Lynne also worked on a collaborative model between the Aberdeen School District and Head Start at the beginning of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance program in the state. Lynne started a local Child Care Resource and Referral agency and was the Director for four years, and served as the chair of the local County Interagency Coordinating Council for two years, working with local agencies on improving early intervention services for children and families.
Lynne returned to state service as the ECEAP State Director for five years until DEL’s creation, when she joined the agency as a transitional Assistant Director.
Favorite children’s books: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Best childhood memory: Growing up in rural Iowa during the 1950s, families got together during harvest time to help each other. The men worked in the fields and the women canned food, and prepared three giant meals a day for everyone. This would last for a couple of weeks, going to farm to farm. The younger kids got to “run” wild for two weeks with practically no supervision and no responsibilities, except to check in at meal times. A group of about eight of us played in the fields, climbed trees and played in the barns from early morning to dark. It was the best time.
Most important child in her life: My granddaughter Emma, who is totally the coolest kid ever.