Dr. Gene Sharratt has been recognized for his dedication, passion and outstanding contributions to education by Highline College. Currently Executive Director of the Washington Student Achievement Council, Sharratt will be honored as the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner during the college’s commencement ceremony on June 11 at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

“Dr. Sharratt represents the ideal Highline College graduate,” said Dr. Jack Bermingham, president of Highline. “He has dedicated his life to improving education and fostering student success. He remains an unabashed community college advocate whom we are proud to recognize as the college’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus.”

Sharratt has spent his more than 40-year career in education, whether it be in teaching, administration, research or as an education advocate. He came to Highline College in 1969 as a decorated veteran after serving two years in the U.S. Army stationed in Vietnam. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Washington State University, a master’s in school administration from Pacific Lutheran University and returned to WSU for his doctorate in curriculum.

Sharrat’s wide-ranging experience includes teaching elementary school and college students; serving as a principal, school district superintendent and college program director; and leading the Washington Student Achievement Council.

He has earned numerous awards for service, leadership and excellence including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Education at Pacific Lutheran University and Distinguished Alumni Spotlight Award from Washington State University. Sharratt credits his early experience at Highline as the catalyst for his successful career in education.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors a former Highline student who has made outstanding contributions through community service, noteworthy professional achievement and/or recognized leadership.

Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, who attended Highline in 1968–69, was the first recipient of the award in 1990. Other past honorees include Ezra Teshome, agent with State Farm Insurance and TIME magazine global health hero; Dr. Linda Petter, a local health care advocate; and Junki Yoshida, founder and CEO of the Yoshida Food Group.