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Fiona Innes Helsel, Ph.D. - Director

Fiona Innes Helsel
Director Fiona Innes Helsel

Fiona Innes Helsel recently transitioned from deputy director to director of REL Northwest. In this role, she leads the programmatic and operational aspects of REL Northwest. In addition, Helsel continues to be responsible for overall project management and reporting, interacting with the REL Northwest Governing Board to ensure alignment of work with state priorities, and providing quality assurance across the program. She is also a manager of research and evaluation at Education Northwest. Specializing in early childhood education, Helsel conceptualizes and oversees work in this priority area for the region. She has multiple years of experience directing projects; managing employees and subcontractors; conceptualizing and conducting evaluations; providing technical assistance; and working closely with local, state, and federal agencies. Helsel has a doctorate in developmental studies from Purdue University.

Jennifer Esswein, Ph.D. - Deputy Director

Jennifer Esswein
Deputy Director Jennifer Esswein

Jennifer Esswein is an organizational leader in technical assistance, research, and evaluation at Education Northwest and the deputy director of REL Northwest. Before becoming deputy director, Esswein served as the lead for training, coaching, and technical support (TCTS) for REL Northwest, and she continues to advise staff members on the many TCTS activities being supported across the region. She also provides technical support to state education agency staff members on their accountability and district improvement plans. Esswein earned a doctorate from The Ohio State University in quantitative research, evaluation, and measurement in education. She also served as a data fellow in the Strategic Data Project at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.