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Megan Matthews appointed new director of Washington State Office of Equity

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Jay Inslee has officially appointed Megan Matthews as the new director of the Washington State Office of Equity.

Matthews had been acting director since May when former director Dr. Karen Johnson was removed from the position based on an internal investigation that found she engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with employees such as micromanaging and “inappropriate or insensitive comments,” including remarks about race and ethnicity.

Johnson was the office’s inaugural director and had held the position since March 2021.

“Megan is a dynamic and authentic leader who knows what it takes to make the Office of Equity successful. This agency is central to our work promoting equity and justice for all,” Inslee said in a Wednesday news release. “I look forward to continuing to work with Megan and her office to implement policy priorities that make it possible for all Washingtonians to thrive and live healthy, successful lives.”

Matthews’ qualifications for the position include working for the Department of Social and Health Services as an engagement manager for the economic services administration and serving as the first chair of Washington State Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity, or BUILD.

Matthews, a Tacoma native and graduate of Lincoln High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Williams College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in public administration from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington’s capital.

“I am honored to serve Washingtonians in this role,” Matthews said in the news release. “Our office is busy laying a strong internal foundation by hiring to get fully staffed to do our critical work, implementing our budget strategy to be as efficient and impactful with the funds we have been allocated, and meeting our mandate to bring accountability to government and advance equity and justice for all Washingtonians.”

The Office of Equity was created in 2020 to, according to its website, “facilitate policy and systems change to promote equitable policies, practices, and outcomes to streamline our service delivery and improve the customer experience” across state government.

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