Dr. Laurie Dent has worked in public education for 27 years and was appointed Superintendent of the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District in 2016. Starting in the district 26 years ago as a sixth-grade teacher, Sumner-Bonney Lake has become a place that holds a special place in her heart. During her tenure, she has had the opportunity to witness a remarkable transformation, not only in the educational institutions but also in the mindset and character of the community.
When Dr. Dent became the superintendent in 2016, her mission was clear: to build a culture that believed in every student graduating from high school with a promising future. It wasn’t just a lofty goal but an unwavering commitment to unlocking the potential within each of our students. When she started in 2016, 84% of students were graduating on time; now, 92% of students graduate on time not only with a diploma but with a sense of purpose, a belief in their own potential, and the confidence to face the challenges of an ever-changing world.
Over the years, Dr. Dent has worked tirelessly to create an environment where students are educated and held to high academic expectations and where students feel safe. She’s witnessed students who once felt marginalized and discouraged now stand tall with confidence, knowing they have the tools and support to succeed. She’s seen academic achievements soar to new heights.
Before serving as Superintendent, her previous role was Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, where she led, promoted, and sustained exceptional academic achievement at all schools district-wide. Before becoming Assistant Superintendent, Dent served as the district’s Chief Academic Officer. Dent was Co-Principal at Mountain View Middle School for eight years and the Principal at Liberty Ridge Elementary for three years. During her tenure at Liberty Ridge, the school hit record levels of achievement, which led to multiple School of Distinction awards and the Washington Achievement Award. Dent was named the 2013 Pierce County Principal of the Year for raising academic achievement at Liberty Ridge.
Dent earned her doctorate from Northwest Nazarene University in spring 2018 and her Superintendent Certification in 2016 from Washington State University. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University, a Master of Education in Special Education from Pacific Lutheran University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, and an Administrative Certification from the University of Washington.
Fun fact: Dent is a member of the Marathon Maniacs and a two-time Boston Marathon finisher!
Past AASA Washington Superintendent of the Year Winners:
2023 Washington Superintendent of the Year: Dr. Adam Swinyard
2022 Washington Superintendent of the Year: Susan Enfield
2021 Washington Superintendent of the Year: Michelle Reid
About the Award:
The Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by First Student and AASA, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.
State-level winners are selected on the following criteria:
- Leadership for Learning
- Community Involvement