Board offers superintendent position to Patrick Murphy

Murphy HeadshotThe school board unanimously agreed on March 23 to offer the position of superintendent of the Olympia School District to Patrick Murphy, pending successful negotiations of a contract.

Murphy is currently assistant superintendent in the Edmonds School District, where he has served since 2012. Prior to arriving in Edmonds, he served from 2008-2012 as the executive director of secondary education in the Issaquah School District. He has served as a middle school principal in Issaquah, a middle and high school assistant principal in Issaquah, and a junior high assistant principal in Bremerton. Murphy taught junior high school social studies in the South Kitsap School District and serves as an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership at Seattle University and Western Washington University.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in teaching from Whitworth University and a doctorate in education from Washington State University. Murphy earned his principal certification from University of Washington and superintendent certification from Washington State University.

Current OSD Superintendent Dick Cvitanich will retire effective June 30, 2017.

Congratulations OSD Teachers of the Year!

The Olympia School District has selected two educators to be honored as this year’s Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year.

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OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year Nancy Hooper (center)

This year’s OSD Elementary Teacher of the Year is Nancy Hooper, a third-grade teacher at McKenny Elementary School.

Melissa Charette, a Developmental Learning Center (DLC) teacher at Washington Middle School, is this year’s OSD Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Hooper and Charette received engraved plaques and standing ovations at the Olympia School Board meeting on March 27.

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OSD Secondary Teacher of the Year Melissa Charette (second from left)

The two educators were selected for the award from among 32 employee names submitted during a nomination process open in February to employees, students and the community. A selection committee made up of district staff, a community member and a school board member assumed the difficult task of reviewing the nominations of these outstanding individuals. The committee eventually decided on an elementary and a secondary OSD Teacher of the Year.

Superintendent Dick Cvitanich and School Board President Eileen Thomson announced the winners and presented them with flowers in front of their colleagues during school staff meetings in April.

Both Hooper and Charette have the opportunity to participate in the regional Teacher of the Year award process. Winners selected at the regional level are then considered for the state Teacher of the Year honor.

Any Washington public school teacher who has a current certificate and works directly with students for at least 50 percent of his/her time is eligible for the Washington State Teacher of the Year recognition program.

Creating great content for school social media accounts

This is the second in a series of tips and information related to school social media accounts. This week, Communications Assistant Kim Doherty shares about curating content for professional school social media accounts. In a previous post, Doherty explained about the importance of archiving school/district social media accounts.

If you maintain a professional school building social media account on behalf of the Olympia School District, creating great content is important to keep your followers engaged and interested. The more people like, love or comment on your posts, the more often they will see your page. Essentially, you need to “feed the beast” to make your page a place that is visited often.

Remind the staff in your building to send post ideas/content to you on a regular basis. They are your partners and can help build variety and interest for your page.

Content ideas:

  • Student stories
  • Calendar reminders (half days, vacations, conference weeks, etc.)
  • School news & events
  • Faculty features/stories
  • Athletic events/scores/results
  • Concerts, plays & other shows
  • Student artwork
  • Reminders for spirit weeks, etc.
  • Student or staff achievements/accomplishments
  • Was your school or student featured in the local news? (The Olympian, Thurston Talk, etc.)? If so, post a link to their story.
  • Advice, tips and links to relevant information for your families

Photos/Images:

  • Always include photos. Using photos will generate the highest engagement.
  • When using photos, remember to check for proper permissions for students.
  • Only post images that you have created or you have the right to publish.

Remember to post consistently and frequently to engage your followers!

Safety Tip of the Week: Making fire safety a priority

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, provides information about making fire safety a priority.

Spring is that time of the year when we as a community “spring” forward and set our clocks ahead. It is also a great opportunity to make fire safety a priority. It is a time to remember smoke alarms in our homes as a key part of the home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms give you an early warning so you and your family can get out quickly. When you changed your clocks forward this spring, did you check your smoke alarms also?

Just like at school, employees need to practice fire safety at home. Early warning alarms can protect us at home, as well as at work. If you missed checking your smoke alarms when you moved the clocks ahead an hour, now is a great time to get them checked out.

These safety tips are provided by the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area and on every level of the home, even in the basement. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. If you have a battery operated alarm, change the batteries every six months.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Facts:

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
  • Roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working alarms.

Funeral service set April 2 for former Reeves MS teacher Dr. Ronald C. Bigelow

The district extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former Reeves Middle School science and math teacher Dr. Ronald C. Bigelow, who passed on March 19, 2017.

A funeral service will be held on Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m. at South Sound Manor, 455 North St. S.E. in Tumwater.

Bigelow was an educator for more than 40 years, having been a teacher, a principal and a superintendent at various school districts in Washington and Oregon.  The obituary published in the Olympian on March 26 notes, “It was his last position in education, however, as a science and math teacher at Reeves Middle School in the Olympia School District that he enjoyed the most.  He loved working with middle schoolers and wanted nothing more than to champion those students who needed someone to believe in them.”

People are invited to share memories at www.FuneralAlternatives.org

Learn about state retirement plans at upcoming seminars and in newly posted article on state website

 

Flier announcing DRS retirement seminars showing listing of topics covered

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The Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) has scheduled several upcoming seminars to share information with employees about state retirement plans.

A general overview is scheduled on April 19 in the Olympia School District Knox Administrative Center Board Room. The meeting is set from 4:15-5:15 p.m.

SERS/TRS Plans 2 and 3, as well as the Washington State Deferred Compensation Program, will be discussed.

DRS has also scheduled a benefit summit on April 25 and a retirement seminar (pre-retirement) on June 24.

There is no charge or registration for these DRS seminars.

For further information, including times, locations and registration information for all three seminars, click the adjacent flier.

Newly published DRS information about when to retire

When it comes to retirement planning, the DRS said it is often asked by teachers and other school employees in Plans 2 and 3 about the best month to retire. The most common question is whether it is better to retire at the end of June or in September.

For some insight into this question, the DRS has posted a new article on its website.

School board selects three superintendent finalists

The Olympia School Board has selected three finalists to be considered to serve as the district’s superintendent.

Directors voted during a special board meeting on March 14 to select the following finalists for the position of superintendent:

Greene HeadshotTrevor Greene, Executive Director of Human Resources, Highline Public Schools. Greene has been executive director of human resources for Highline Public Schools since 2015. Before that, he worked as an instructional leadership executive director in Highline, a principal professional development specialist (one-year fellowship) at the Association of Washington School Principals in Olympia, an executive director of personnel and human resources in Toppenish School District, a middle school and high school principal in Toppenish, and a middle school principal and high school assistant principal in the Highland School District. Greene’s teaching career includes working at both the middle and high school levels in Yakima.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish/English from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in education and administrative certification from Central Washington University, and a superintendent’s credential from Washington State University.

Murphy HeadshotPatrick Murphy, Assistant Superintendent, Edmonds School District. Murphy has been assistant superintendent in the Edmonds School District since 2012. Prior to arriving in Edmonds, he served from 2008-2012 as the executive director of secondary education in the Issaquah School District. He has served as a middle school principal in Issaquah, a middle and high school assistant principal in Issaquah, and a junior high assistant principal in Bremerton. Murphy taught junior high school social studies in the South Kitsap School District and serves as an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership at Seattle University and Western Washington University.

He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in teaching from Whitworth University and a doctorate in education from Washington State University. Murphy earned his principal certification from University of Washington and superintendent certification from Washington State University.

Woods HeadshotChris Woods, Executive Director of Student Learning, Tumwater School District. Woods joined the Tumwater School District as Executive Director of Student Learning in 2015. Prior to working in Tumwater, Woods served as the principal at Capital High School, principal at Pioneer Elementary School and assistant principal at Reeves Middle School — all in the Olympia School District. Prior to serving as an administrator, Woods taught first and third grade, as well as middle school social studies and English Language Arts in the Olympia School District. He also served two years as athletic/activities director at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

Woods has a bachelor’s degree in K-8 elementary education and K-12 special education from Central Washington University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and principal certification from City University, and superintendent certification from Seattle Pacific University.

The board unanimously agreed on all three finalists, who will be invited for daylong district visits on March 20-22. The visits will include a tour of the school district and meetings with students, employees, union leaders, community members and the school board.

“I want to say how pleased we are with the outstanding pool of applicants for this top leadership post,” said Board President Eileen Thomson. “We are proud that so many talented individuals are interested in joining the district team and furthering our efforts to provide the best education possible for our nearly 10,000 students.”

District employees are invited to meet the finalists between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20; Tuesday, March 21; and Wednesday, March 22. The meetings will be held at the Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA), 2400 15th Ave. S.E. in Olympia. Finalists are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, March 20: Chris Woods
  • Tuesday, March 21: Trevor Greene
  • Wednesday, March 22: Patrick Murphy

The individual selected as Olympia’s next superintendent will replace Dick Cvitanich, who is retiring effective June 30, 2017.