Educator Profile    Educators

Scott Whitbeck (WA '96)

Chief Academic Officer

Tukwila School District
Tukwila, WA

At the time of the Award, Scott Whitbeck was:

McAlder Elementary School
Puyallup, WA

Biographical Information

In his thirteen years as a principal in Pierce County, Scott Whitbeck took over what was widely recognized as the lowest-performing school in the area; in five years, it received the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award. His school was also named the best elementary school in Washington by Redbook magazine. The next year, Whitbeck was selected as one of two elementary principals to receive the state's Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Education Award. Following his time in Tacoma as Principal and Assistant Director of Human Resources and Professional Development, Whitbeck became Instructional Director for Seattle Public Schools. From that role he accepted the position of Instructional Director for the West Region of Los Angeles Unified School District for five years, after which he returned to his home turf in the Pacific Northwest. In his current role as Director of School Improvement for Columbia Gorge Education Service District, he sits on the Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet and is collaboratively developing a strategic plan for the next five years. He also leads the Educational Services Department, developing a long-term professional development plan for teachers and administrators. His lead responsibilities include all initiatives in curriculum development, instructional practices, assessment, English Learners, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and federal and state programs. He is grateful to network with so many exemplary educators in the Milken Family Foundation! 

Personal Message

Receiving the Milken National Educator Award changed my life in many ways. Best of all, it brought pride to the students, staff and families of my school community and a renewed motivation for all of us to create the best possible learning environment every day, for each and every student. I continue to learn invaluable strategies and concepts from my Milken Educator colleagues, both in Washington and now here in California - they are my 'educator family'. We all realize how fortunate we are to have the Milken Family Foundation. shepherding us through the years within this ongoing professional learning community.

Additional Information


1989 University of Washington, M.A.

1983 Central Washington University, B.A.

Educational Leadership, PK-12