Scenic photo of the week

Oregon Coast sunset. Sun sets over water with white swirling clouds against blue sky and trees in the foreground
“Oregon Coast Sunset,” by Diana Crawford, Public Disclosure Officer, Communications and Community Relations

OSD employees are encouraged to email the Communications department a photo of their artwork portraying nature (e.g., landscapes, sunrises or sunsets, an interesting cloud formation, a close-up of a flower) for consideration in this staff blog. Your image can be something you captured on canvas, in a photograph, on a textile, in a pencil, charcoal or pastel drawing, with wire — the possibilities are endless!

Please remember, you can be a novice or a professional. You can submit photos taken with your phone or a fancy camera. The goal is for as many employees as possible to participate!


  • Nature/scenic images only (no people or pets please).
  • Attach a photo of your original art in jpeg or png format to an email and send to The higher the resolution, the better.
  • Photos must be in-focus and cropped so the art is visible.
  • Include your name, title, work location, and if applicable, where the image was taken (you can name the city, for example, or provide even more specific details (e.g. sunset taken from Long Beach, WA). This information will be included with each image published.

Depending on the number of images submitted, we will print one or more in each issue of the staff blog.

Equity Policy Focus Groups set to launch in mid-January

Equity Policy Development Committee Facilitator Kimberlee Armstrong leads winter retreat in board room. She stands next to screen welcoming committee to meeting on December 10, 2022.

Stay tuned for an announcement in early January about how students, staff, families and community members can sign up to participate with in-person or online focus groups to provide feedback that will help inform the development of an OSD Equity Policy.

More than a dozen staff, students, families and community members, including several Olympia School Board members, gathered with Equity Policy Steering Committee Facilitator Dr. Kimberlee Armstrong on Saturday, December 10 to plan next steps.

The Equity Policy will be collaboratively designed with the community to ensure a more inclusive school and work culture that promotes equity and addresses systemic and institutional barriers that have historically marginalized students, staff and families.

To learn more about the committee’s work, visit the Equity Policy Development webpage.

School board elects new officers in annual reorganization

Mug of School Board President Darcy Huffman

Every year in December, the Olympia School Board elects officers for the coming year during its annual reorganization.

At its December 8 meeting, the board elected Darcy Huffman as this year’s board president and Hilary Seidel as vice president.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy shared a special thank you to Maria Flores for her “steadfast leadership” as board president this past year.

Board members are also appointed annually to serve as liaisons with various community groups and state agencies. This year’s appointments include:

  • Talauna Reed, board representative to the Olympia Education Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Hilary Seidel, board representative to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
  • Scott Clifthorne, board representative to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
  • Darcy Huffman, legislative representative to the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). Huffman is serving the second of a two-year term as legislative representative.
  • Maria Flores, board representative to the Olympia Schools Supportive Education Council.

As a reminder, January is School Board Recognition Month. The Olympia School Board will be recognized at the January 12, 2023 board meeting

Reminder: Winter Break schedule

Winter Break graphic showing blue background, white snowflakes, and white snow along with the wording: Olympia School District Winter Break December 19-January 2

All Olympia School District schools and the Knox 111 Administrative Center will be closed to the public during Winter Break. Winter Break is from Monday, December 19, 2022 through Monday, January 2, 2023. School resumes on Tuesday, January 3. School and administrative offices also reopen on January 3.

While Knox Administrative Center staff will be working on-site and remotely over winter break, please remember that the Knox building will be closed to the public throughout the break. Any deliveries should be made at the lower level of the Knox building, 111 Bethel St. N.E., Olympia on business days (December 19-21, and December 27-29).

If you will need assistance over winter break, please plan ahead and make an appointment to work with central office staff.

Congratulations to this week’s Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes Logo with the words: Celebrating OSD Employees

Everyday Heroes is a regular feature in this staff blog. Remember to submit names of employees districtwide who have done something deserving of encouragement and praise. Give a shout-out to one of your colleagues at your school or support building and watch for it to appear in an upcoming Everyday Heroes blog post.

Here are our newest honorees:

Everyday Hero
Nancy Swanson, Bilingual Family Engagement Specialist, Bilingual Migrant Education Program Recruiter, Bilingual Housing Stability Screener

Thank you so much for always being willing to go above and beyond helping our bilingual families. We can see that the students adore you and see you as a strong educational resource in our community. We appreciate your willingness to do more than the job requires including chaperoning the Latinx Youth Summit and translating at our evening FAFSA night. You help us and our students SO much and we appreciate your dedication to getting our students equal opportunities! 
Submitted by Nicole Sande, Jenny Morgan, Joel Komschlies, and Stephanie Benfield, Capital HS Counselors

Everyday Heroes
LP Brown Staff

This shout-out, while a little unconventional, is intended to recognize a high-performing team in the Olympia School District. LP Brown Staff, you are my absolute heroes. Every day, every single one of you comes to school looking for ways to improve outcomes for our students. You implement new materials and techniques with an open mind and positive attitude, knowing that your job is to ensure student success. You collect data, monitor progress, and meet regularly to reflect upon the results you receive from students. You are continuously making adjustments to what you are doing to better support the students you serve. I am so proud to be an Eagle with all of you! Here is to many more years together!
Submitted by Sean Shaughnessy, Principal, LP Brown Elementary School

How to nominate an Everyday Hero

  • Email the Communications and Community Relations Department ( a few sentences, and no more than 200 words, about why the person deserves recognition. It’s easiest to write as if speaking directly to the colleague, such as “Thank you for helping with…” or “I really appreciated when you…”
  • Write “Everyday Heroes” in the subject heading of the email.
  • Include your first and last name as the person submitting the comments.
  • Include the first and last name of the OSD employee you are recognizing.
  • Include the job title and work location (school or department) of the person you are recognizing.

All submissions will be posted in this blog on a weekly basis and archived each week.