The Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD) Executive Board Award of Distinction is an annual recognition given to individuals and organizations that embody the vision and criteria of the award. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the AESD’s mission, vision, and values.

This year’s award recipient was Bob Estes, the AESD Accreditation Statewide Coordinator. Bob’s contributions to the AESD Accreditation Program have been critical to its success, and his leadership has been instrumental in making it the largest provider of accreditation services in Washington State. Bob truly exemplifies the values of the AESD, particularly the value of relationships. He has fostered and modeled all of the AESD articulated values of Equity, Integrity, Accountability, Synergy, Leadership, and Relationships in his role as statewide AESD Accreditation lead. Bob’s leadership has been instrumental in ensuring that each school received high quality, individualized, and responsive coaching.

Graphic illustrations of the award ceremony created by Leah Lavelle from Urban Wild Studios (Click to view PDF)

Bob began his career as a teacher, high school principal, and district-level administrator in the Lake Stevens and Arlington school districts before joining the NWESD School Improvement Plan – Technical Assistance Project program (SIPTAP) as one of several SIPTAP coaches. In the mid-2000s, Bob worked with representatives of other ESDs in the state to develop the AESD Accreditation Program, which was designed around an assigned coach working with a school leadership team to develop a data-driven, student achievement-focused, research-based, and collaboratively determined school improvement plan that earned the school a 6-year AESD Accreditation recognition, subject to a 3rd year review of the school’s progress implementing the school improvement plan.

In 2014, Bob became the statewide lead for the AESD Accreditation program, coordinating and facilitating AESD Accreditation services at scale in all corners of the state. During his tenure, the AESD Accreditation program accredited 285 schools across all nine ESD regions. Bob personally coached 43 schools through the full accreditation process and coached 31 schools through the 3rd-year review process. He also supported over 60 individuals who participated as members of accreditation site review teams, part of the process of providing external validation to an individual school’s improvement plan.

The AESD has become a dominant player in school accreditation in Washington State, accrediting far more schools than any other accreditation body, including better-known and funded national firms largely due to Bob’s leadership. The AESD Accreditation Program has grown to become the largest provider of accreditation services in Washington State because it is rightly recognized as being an effective and excellent service delivered at a fair price that aims to improve the quality of teaching, learning, and outcomes for all students and all school communities.

Bob’s contributions to the AESD Accreditation Program further the mission, vision, and values of the AESD. He has mentored and supported numerous coaches who support the accreditation process for dozens of schools each year, all while carrying his own load of schools he personally coached. Bob accomplished all of this with good humor, common sense, vast experience, and a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities of bringing success to scale in unique school settings. The NWESD would like to congratulate Bob on this well-deserved award and extend our thanks for his service to public education.