SEATTLE -- There's a crowded field of candidates vying to be Washington's next superintendent of public instruction, but the three top candidates all bring something new to the contest.
The list includes a lawmaker and community college administrator, an award-winning teacher and administrator, a school nurse who runs the school health program across the state, and six others who mostly want to have their voices heard.
Incumbent Randy Dorn has decided not to seek re-election, leading several candidates to enter the field.
Chris Reykdal, who has represented Tumwater in the state Legislature for five years, would be the first superintendent in recent history with children in public school if elected.
Erin Jones, who works for the Tacoma School District as a teaching coach and program administrator, is the first African-American woman to run for statewide office in Washington state.
Robin Fleming, who runs Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's health services program, would be the first nurse to become superintendent of public instruction.
Only Reykdal, Jones and Fleming have raised more than a few hundred dollars for their campaigns, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission, although a fourth candidate who dropped out of the race also had raised thousands of dollars.
The field will be narrowed in the Aug. 2 state primary. The top two candidates will advance to the Nov. 8 general election.
The three leading candidates bring different approaches to the job held by Dorn for the past eight years. Dorn, a former lawmaker and union official, was hard to miss in Olympia and made sure his views were heard by lawmakers and the Washington Supreme Court, which decided in 2012 that the way the state pays for public schools was unconstitutional.