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About REL Northwest

REL Northwest serves five states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. To address the priorities and interests in these states, REL Northwest works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students.

REL Northwest works to bridge the worlds of education research and education practice. We offer various supports to the collaborative research partnerships and other stakeholder groups in the region:


Fiona Helsel

Fiona Helsel

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Jennifer Esswein

Deputy Director
Jennifer Esswein

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Partners and External Experts

REL Northwest—administered by Education Northwest—partners with the following research and technical support organizations:

  • Concord Evaluation Group
  • IMPAQ International
  • Kauffman & Associates
  • MDRC
  • Portland State University
  • RAND Corporation
  • Tembo Inc.
  • Temple University
  • West Wind Education Policy


Governing Board

REL Northwest is guided by a Governing Board representing constituent groups in the Northwest, including chief state school officers, superintendents, educators, researchers, and community members. The REL Northwest Governing Board is charged with ensuring that the work being conducted addresses the high-leverage problems of the region and that progress is being made in meeting the intended outcomes of the federal REL program.


Doug Gray
Principal, PAIDEIA Cooperative School
Anchorage, Alaska

Susie Hedalen
Deputy Superintendent for Education Services, Montana Office of Public Instruction
Helena, Montana

Aleksandra Hollingshead
Assistant Professor, University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho

Karen Melin
Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Juneau, Alaska

Michaela Miller
Deputy Superintendent, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Olympia, Washington

Brian Reeder
Assistant Superintendent, Oregon Department of Education
Salem, Oregon

Raúl Sital
Executive Director of Student Achievement, Pasco School District
Pasco, Washington

Chris Spriggs
Teacher, Glenns Ferry School District
Glenns Ferry, Idaho

Alma Trinidad
Associate Professor, Portland State University
Portland, Oregon

Curtis Yarlott
Executive Director and President, St. Labre Indian School Educational Association
Ashland, Montana

Chuck Zimmerly
Community Relations Officer, Idaho State Department of Education
Boise, Idaho