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Gov. Gregoire appoints new DSHS director, Arnold-Williams

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Dec. 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm with No Comments »
December 12, 2011 1:23 pm

Robin Arnold-Williams is no stranger to the state’s largest agency, having led it from March 2005 to January 2008.

On Jan. 3 she replaces Susan Dreyfus, who is leaving the Department of Social and Health Services after nearly three years to return to Wisconsin.

Here’s Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s news release today announcing the appointment, which is subject to Senate confirmation:

Gov. Gregoire appoints new DSHS director

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed Robin Arnold-Williams to be the Department of Social and Health Service’s new director. Arnold-Williams is a veteran of the agency, having led it for several years during Gregoire’s first term.

“Robin possesses a thorough understanding of how to lead the Department of Social and Health Services,” Gregoire said. “The agency’s complexity and mission are unique, and today’s tough times mean it serves more people with fewer resources. I have every confidence in Robin’s leadership and know she will do a great job.”

“I am delighted at the selection of Robin Arnold-Williams,” Secretary Susan N. Dreyfus said. “I had the honor of succeeding Robin to lead a strong agency, which I believe I leave even stronger. Robin and I worked so well together during the transition two and a half years ago and she was so helpful to me in her relationship as the Governor’s policy director. Robin helped recruit me for this job in Washington and for that I am forever grateful.”

Gregoire appointed Arnold-Williams to lead DSHS in March 2005. Notably, she reduced Child Protective Services’ response times for calls involving child safety. In Jan. 2008, she left the agency to lead Gregoire’s Executive Policy Office, where she worked until June 2010. Since leaving Gregoire’s policy office, she has been working as a consultant and teaching graduate courses at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work.

“I am excited to rejoin the Gregoire Administration and return to DSHS,” Arnold-Williams said. “These are truly unprecedented times for all state agencies and all Washington residents. DSHS staff, providers and service recipients face particularly difficult challenges. Returning to public service allows me to provide experienced leadership and support to DSHS in meeting its mission and responsibilities during these difficult times.”

Prior to working for Gregoire, she spent 24 years at Utah’s Department of Human Services, including serving eight years as its executive director. She earned master and doctoral degrees in social work from the University of Utah.

Her appointment is effective January 3, 2012.


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