Gov. Chris Gregoire announced the appointment on Monday.
Ellis has worked in criminal justice in Snohomish County for decades. Most recently, she was serving as a prosecutor and legal adviser for the Tulalip Tribes.
Ellis will replace judge Kenneth Cowsert, who retired recently.
Ellis said she was honored by the appointment.
"It's very exciting," she said.
Ellis' colleagues described her Monday as bright, kind and compassionate. They were happy to hear the news.
"I think it's great," Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said. "I think most people don't realize how hard judges have to work. I've never been around anybody who works harder than she does."
Ellis' personality and dedication will complement those of other Superior Court judges, who often have to work together, Roe said.
"Nobody is more willing to help than Janice," he said. "She will just be a great addition to the bench."
Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick remembered working with Ellis when he was a Washington State Patrol trooper and she was working in the prosecutor's office.
When Lovick became a state legislator and Ellis became county prosecutor, he often looked to her for input when he was writing public-safety bills, he said.
Ellis always had a solid understanding of how laws worked in the real world, he said.
"I absolutely respect her tremendously," Lovick said. "She's just a great, great lady. We are so thrilled that she's on the bench."
Everett Police Chief Kathy Atwood serves alongside Ellis on the board of the Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center, which provides services to abused children.
Ellis was the driving force in Dawson Place becoming a reality, Atwood said. She described Ellis as kind but tough.
"She's just a true public service professional, and I think that she'll serve the county very well," Atwood said.
Longtime Everett defense attorney Pete Mazzone argued against Ellis in a couple of cases when she was county prosecutor.
She will make a good judge, he said.
"I always found her to be very thoughtful and very cordial about what she was doing," he said.
Ellis began her legal career in 1987 as an attorney in Seattle, handling civil litigation.
Since then, her roles have included Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney, assistant state attorney general, Snohomish County Superior Court judge pro tempore and elected county prosecutor.
Ellis' first day as a judge hasn't been scheduled, but she expects it will be around the start of the year.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com
More Local News Headlines
Everett firefighters drove drunken man nearly to Marysville, left him Firefighters battle to protect power structures around Newhalem Evergreen State Fair to make changes to compete with Puyallup Leave the selfie sticks at home, say Evergreen State Fair officials Your guide to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe Judge limits extent of claims in Oso mudslide litigation Snohomish County Council considers a hiring freeze Vehicle collides with bicyclist in Mill Creek; driver flees
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.