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Garrett Heyns Education Center

The Garrett Heyns Education Center (GHEC) is located within the Washington Corrections Center, a medium security correctional facility situated on a 455-acre site three miles north of the city of Shelton. The Corrections Center is located 50 miles north of Centralia College's main campus and houses approximately 1,600 inmates. Centralia College has participated in an interagency agreement with the Department of Corrections to provide educational services for offenders since 1975. GHEC is a branch campus of Centralia College.

Mission Statement

The Garrett Heyns Education Center embraces the College Mission “To develop student potential through lifelong learning.” The Education Center strives to provide an atmosphere that promotes discovery, development and enrichment; it provides an environment in which students may realize personal growth, enhance skills, test values and pursue options.


  • We value teamwork.
  • We affirm the dignity of all students and staff.
  • We commit to the process of empowerment, growth and positive change of our students and staff.
  • We believe in open communication with respect for others and full consideration of divergent points of view.
  • We strive to foster critical thinking skills and self-reflection.
  • We engage in learning as a life-long process.
  • We value professionalism, integrity and honesty.


Introduction to the Education Center


The Garrett Heyns Education Center at WCC began operation in 1965 as a contract service provided by the Shelton City School system as The Garrett Heyns High School. It set a new benchmark in meeting the educational and coping skills needed for young first offenders. This tradition was continued when, in 1972, Olympic College became the program vendor providing not only adult high school completion and vocational training, but community college academic and vocational associate degrees as well. At that time, contracting with colleges for these services was a new concept and WCC was among the innovators. The Washington State Community College’s comprehensive Mission Statement is a perfect fit for correctional programs which provide a wide-range of services necessary to suit the varying needs of an offender population.

In 1975, Centralia College’s Community College District 12 became the program vendor and remains so. A significant reduction in educational services at GHEC began in 1996 when House Bill 2010 went into effect prompting reductions in many offender services, including education. At its peak, Garrett Heyns employed more than 30 faculty and staff providing a very comprehensive range of community college programs. In recent years, the Washington Correction Center’s identity has changed and the education program has been redefined to meet different expectations. WCC is now the Washington State male offender intake/diagnostic center and the Garrett Heyns Education Center has created a new programming model to meet the challenge.

Garrett Heyns Ed. Center's Contracted Services

Garrett Heyns employs a faculty and staff of 14 individuals whose primary responsibility to the WCC Reception/Diagnostic Center (RDC) is to test, diagnose, provide orientation and create a Personalized Education Profile (PEP) for each offender processed. Garrett Heyns creates between 4,000 and 5,000 profiles each year. These profiles follow offenders to other DOC institutions and provide information necessary for appropriate education program assignments.

The Education Center’s participation in the four-week-long RDC process for offenders helps prepare them for educational achievement while incarcerated. Our participation in this cycle of activity consists of:
  • CASAS Appraisal Testing during the second week after arrival at the Reception Center. The Education Center provides test results to the Department of Corrections through its data collection systems. The Education Center collects information on educational background during this process.
  • During the third week of the intake and diagnostic cycle, a determination is made on placement of offenders into one of four orientations appropriate to individual educational and vocational backgrounds. The orientation tracks are: Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL), General Educational Development testing (GED) and Vocational.
  • Students participate in orientations during their fourth week at the Reception Center. These orientations are tailored to prepare offenders for contracted educational services provided at DOC institutions. Information collected during orientations includes CASAS Pre-test scores, writing skill levels and vocational aptitude testing. GED testing may commence immediately when appropriate and where it is demonstrated that there is a high probability for success. Other skills including institutional survival English, test-taking strategies, goal-planning and organizational skills are provided during orientation classes.
  • After completion of orientation sessions, information collected is entered into the college and DOC reporting systems and Personalized Education Profiles are created.

In addition to diagnostic and orientation activities, the education center provides the following services:

  • Information Technology in office computer applications (IT Core) classes for long-term WCC offender-workers. This program is available in the weekdays and two evenings a week.
  • Fast track ABE/GED preparation and testing for individuals who stay at WCC beyond their initial four-week intake assignment are provided weekdays and two evenings a week. Many inmates have very short sentence lengths and Garrett Heyns may provide them with their only opportunity for GED testing during incarceration. The Garrett Heyns GED testing program produces the highest volume of testing in DOC facilities.
Though its program focus may change, the Garrett Heyns Education Center continues a tradition of providing quality programs meeting the needs of the Department, the State of Washington, Centralia College and inmates in significant ways. GHEC is proud to be part of Centralia College and the WCC team and is an active participant in the correctional community.

The Garrett Heyns team consists of fifteen dedicated faculty and staff members.

Garrett Heyns Education Center

Jacquie Armstrong, Education Director
P.O. Box 900
Shelton, WA 98584
Fax: 360-432-1504