Dear Issaquah School District Community,
After more than 12 years here in Issaquah in leadership positions ranging from principal to associate superintendent, I am thrilled to write my first back-to-school message to you as the new superintendent! My heart and my passion is for public education, and I want to work together to ensure that every student has a successful and fun experience in their school. As such, one of my top priorities is getting out into the community to hear from you about how we are doing.
As our summer break comes to a close I hope all of our families had the opportunity to relax and enjoy the great weather we had. Your school leaders have also taken some time to recharge—but not much! We have been meeting regularly—including a series of full-day workshops with the school board and principals—to plan for a great 2013-14 school year. My familiarity and background in the district has made it a smooth transition so far in keeping our major initiatives on track. Those include helping the state develop the new teacher evaluation system, shaping three critical levies to go before voters in early 2014, and preparing classrooms to implement Common Core Standards.
On top of continual support for classroom achievement, I also want to highlight and strengthen the ways we support schools in three other areas: Student wellbeing/safety, our culture of kindness, and sustainability. We already lead the state and nation in many of our practices, and we can do even better. So you will soon hear about an anonymous reporting system we are starting at all secondary schools as well as partnerships with local medical providers to bring more mental-health resources onto campuses. We are working with staff and students in all of our schools and departments emphasizing kindness in our interactions. As for sustainability, I hope that we will inspire more than 18,000 ambassadors—every one of our students—to lead the way in protecting their community and world for the future. We are joining with our local municipalities to create education and awareness programs/events that range from the simple (recycling, using permanent water bottles instead of plastic) to the complex (the economics of sustainable practices).
Yes, we are hitting the ground running this fall! What it all comes down to, really, is an education-filled, joyful, safe school year for every student. If you have an idea, question, or just want to talk about the state of local education, please be in touch. I am at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-837-7002.
—Sincerely, Superintendent Ron Thiele