The Washington Association of School Administrators had its origin as
the Department of Administration and Supervision in the Washington Education
Association in the 1950s. At approximately the same time, fledgling
associations of principals and superintendents were organized with leadership
from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. A major impetus to the
growth of an association for administrators occurred when the WEA dropped
non-teachers from membership. WASA, emerging from the early superintendents
group, was chartered as a not-for-profit corporation in June 1972.
In the early years, the Association was managed by the elected officers and was
still primarily an organization of superintendents. One main conference was
held each year and some volunteer efforts were made in the legislative arena. A
major step was taken in 1974 with the employment of a part-time executive secretary.
Murray Taylor served both WASA and the School Information and Research Service
(SIRS) until 1977. During that period of time, programs and services were
gradually expanded to include fall and summer conferences, with program
components for non-superintendents.
Membership in 1975 numbered 404, with an annual budget of $100,000. The WASA
staff, consisting of a half-time Executive Secretary and a half-time secretary,
was housed in the office of the Washington State School Directors’ Association
1977 was a benchmark year for WASA. The budget totaled $188,492, with a
membership of 658. This was also the year Doyle Winter was selected as the
first full-time executive director and WASA moved into a small 600 square foot
rented office of its own. That fall, Jan Hoffer, became the first full-time
support staff member.
During the next three years, a number of significant changes occurred. WASA was
organized into job-alike groups with support for the eleven growing regional
organizations. Conferences were held for special education, superintendents,
negotiators, personnel, and on legal matters. Legislative influence was
expanded and a second professional staff member was added along with two
additional support staff. The 1979–80 year marked the planning phase of what
was to become the very popular Project Leadership.
In 1979, the WASA Board of Directors, in conjunction with SIRS, purchased a
3,000 square foot remodeled house as an office for WASA and SIRS staff. The
budget for 1979–80 was approximately $325,000, supported by an active
membership of 803. In the spring of 1980, the Board employed Howard Coble as
its second full-time executive director.
The decade of the 1980s continued the growth and expansion
of WASA that began in the latter part of the 1970s. The following examples will
help to illustrate the diversification and growth of WASA programs, services, and
Project Leadership held its first training
conference in 1981 with almost 100 in attendance. This flagship professional
development program became a national model for training programs.
The Negotiators Conference was expanded, a major
legislative reception was included and the Washington State School Directors’
Association (WSSDA) was invited to be a co-sponsor.
In 1981, the Association of Washington School
Principals (AWSP) was invited to join WASA for the first annual Joint Summer
In 1984, WASA expanded its governmental
relations efforts with the employment of a part-time person to head that
By 1985, active membership had increased to 940
and the annual budget reached $735,000.
The School Information and Research Service
(SIRS) and the Washington In-Service Education Fund affiliated as independent
organizations operated under a management contract by WASA.
Conferences designed for small schools, aspiring
administrators, and special interest seminars were added to meet changing needs
Active membership in 1987 totaled 1,004,
supported by a budget of $1,000,000.
WASA, in cooperation with AWSP, was successful
in a grant proposal to obtain the federally funded Leadership in Educational
Administrator Development (LEAD) program. This program began in 1987 and
developed excellent professional growth opportunities for aspiring
In 1988, the WASA Board of Directors accepted a
recommendation from a special housing task force and purchased a new 6,000
square foot office building. The WASA home was a modern facility which should
serve members for many years, and with a value of $475,000 represents an
Also in 1988, WASA was successful in negotiating a grant from the Washington State Energy Office. This innovative program, TEAM Energy, provided energy awareness and other cost-effective training for school districts.
A new partnership with the Washington
Association of School Personnel Administrators (WASPA) established the Employee
Relations and Negotiations Network (ERNN) as an additional service for school
1989–90 set an all-time high of 1,128 active
members and an operating budget of $1,300,000. The membership record 2017 tied the previous record sent in 1989-90, with an operating budget of $2,500,000.