Cheryl Strange becomes first woman to lead Wash. Department of Corrections

Cheryl Strange
Cheryl Strange is the first woman to serve as the DOC secretary. Credit: Gov. Inslee's Office

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee announced Thursday that Cheryl Strange has been named Washington’s new Department of Corrections Secretary. 

Strange will be the department’s first female secretary. 

She most recently served as secretary of the state’s Department of Social and Health Services, helping lead the state’s response in ong-term care programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Inslee appointed her to that role in 2017 and said she is a respected, proven leader who has cultivated a “humane, progressive and equitable institutional culture.” 

Strange previously worked as DOC deputy secretary from 2008 to 2011. She has also served as vice president for Pioneer Human Services and was CEO of Western State Hospital. 

“I didn’t have to look far to know that we have the right leader, right here, already on our team. I can’t think of anyone more qualified than Cheryl to lead DOC into its new future,” Inslee said. “She is a forward facing leader, innovator and change agent and I know she will bring a vision and lifetime of proven leadership to DOC.”

Strange replaces Steve Sinclair, who announced his retirement in January.