OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) will retain her role as chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee when the Senate convenes for the 2019 legislative session.

Wellman, a former educator, was first chosen by her colleagues in 2018 to lead the committee responsible for crafting policy that affects more than 1.1 million school-aged children in the state.

“We need to focus on the entire education continuum and I am excited to be part of an effort to re-structure education from the inside out so it aligns with our 21st Century economy,” Wellman said. “We need to make sure we are integrating new career pathways for our kids to succeed and prosper right here in Washington state. I also look forward to working with our state’s dedicated educators to make progress on school safety, student mental health, and support for our students with special needs.”

For the past eight months, Wellman has served with the state task force responsible for recommending policies to increase the career and college readiness of public school students: Career Connect Washington. This summer she visited all nine Educational Service Districts across the state to meet with educators and discuss strategies to improve school safety, student outcomes and digital parity.

Wellman, a former Apple executive, will also serve on the Higher Education & Workforce Development and Labor & Commerce Committees.

“We need think about the whole system and integrate that learning continuum from birth through to career. We need to review every touchpoint and make sure it’s working,” Wellman said.

Democrats will likely hold a 28-21 majority in the Washington State Senate next year, giving Senate Democrats the power to set the agendas of Senate committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes. Wellman will also continue on the Energy, Climate and Technology committee.

The 2019 Legislature convenes on Jan. 14.