Between 2 States - How Alternative Education Varies from State to State


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Between 2 States - How Alternative Education Easily Varies from State to State

This week Annie Marges from the Oregon Department of Education and Liz Quayle from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction join me for a chat about how their state defines, funds, audits/evaluates, certifies teachers, and other issues on Alternative Education. There is a lot in this short time, and I learned a great deal! Join us!

Annie Marges is the Alternative Education Options Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education - in this role, she supports alternative education, GED programs, and homeschooling for the State. Prior to her employment with the ODE, Annie was in the classroom for 17 years (mostly high school, some college) as a teacher, career coach, and department leader, and the last 10 of those years were in alternative schools. When she learned that there was a person at ODE who supported the Alt Ed community, she said “that’s my job!” and has been thrilled to be in this role for the last three and a half years.

Educational success came late to Annie - she barely graduated high school, flunked out of college, and took five years off before she returned to higher education, ready to learn. What she discovered was that engaging teachers, those who helped their students see themselves in the work, made all the difference, and she decided she wanted to be that kind of teacher. More than that, she wanted all students to see themselves as learners and experience academic success. Now she is able to advocate for all students through her support of alternative schools and programs for the State of Oregon, precisely where she wants to be.

To contact Annie for any further information she may be contacted at:

Liz Quayle has been involved in alternative education in Washington State for over 30 years and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has taught in alternative secondary schools and was director-teacher (& more!) in an alternative learning experience program for 21 years, where, at one point or another, she taught all subject areas to all grade levels K-12. She especially enjoyed combining content areas and student interests to make learning relevant. Liz also held leadership roles on the board of the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives (WALA) for a period of 10 years.

For the past five years, Liz has been part of the Learning Options department at Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction as Alternative Learning Accountability Manager and Mastery-based Learning Manager. She supports all kinds of learning options around the state, from alternative learning experience programs to dropout reengagement to mastery-based learning.

Liz lives in Port Townsend with her partner Doug in an old 1917 schoolhouse and enjoys commuting to Olympia once or twice a week down the winding road along Hood Canal.

For more information, Liz may be contacted at:

For more information from or about the National Alternative Education Association and their resources, or conferences, go to: Here you’ll find information about your state organization, resources, and even a degree in Alternative Education! The upcoming conference is October 19 - 21, 2022 in St Louis, MO.

The Aurora Institute Symposium that Liz refers to is virtual! This is October 24-26, 2022.

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