A Message from Executive Director Chris Otis


August 2021

Dear SMART Reading Family:

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some news about a big change on the horizon in my life: After 10 years as the Executive Director of SMART Reading, and almost 30 years in nonprofit leadership, I will be retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year. Leading this organization has been one of the greatest joys and adventures of my professional life, and it’s with immense gratitude and fondness that I share this news and enter the final year of my work here. 

My last year with SMART Reading is a big one: We’ve got a statewide celebration planned to mark our 30th anniversary, and we’re preparing to roll out new virtual programming for our school partners this fall as we continue to adapt and respond to the changing needs of our communities and the restrictions the pandemic has placed on our service. I look forward to working with our incredible statewide team in the year ahead to ensure we continue to weather these changing times with stability, commitment and strength. I also appreciate the partnership with our Board of Directors in finding my successor, and I’m eager to work alongside them and the new Executive Director once that person is selected. 

As for the new chapter of retirement next summer, I’m excited to spend time with my husband as we explore our new hometown of Walla Walla, Wash., and with my new grandbaby. I also look forward to having more time in my schedule for two of my other passions, cycling and playing the violin. 

Thank you for your partnership and support — always, and especially over this last year. I am grateful for our broad community across the state helping us to continue to spark joy and opportunity through the magic of a shared book. 


Chris Otis