Student representative Ainsley Austin honored at final school board meeting

Student board representative Ainsley Austin smiles after being presented with flowers at the final school board meeting of her tenure as student rep.Avanti High School student Ainsley Austin received flowers, heartfelt thanks and a standing ovation on May 21 during her final school board meeting as student representative on the Olympia School District Board of Directors.

Austin attended board meetings this past year, met with student leaders, and worked tirelessly to be a strong advocate for our nearly 10,000 students.

Thank you, Ainsley, for all that you did this year!

School board invites input on policy review process

The Olympia School Board is shown during discussion about policy at the January 8 school board meetingOne of the Olympia School Board’s responsibilities is to establish policies, which are essentially governing documents by which the Olympia School District operates.

Last summer, the board set a goal to review all district policies, starting with the 1000 series that pertain to the Olympia School District Board of Directors. The board completed that series in fall and is currently reviewing the 4000 series: Community Relations.

The board invites students, employees and the community to share feedback, including questions or comments, about the policies. Input will be shared with the school board as it moves forward with the policy review process.

Policies currently being reviewed are posted on a new “Board Policy Review” Web page on the Olympia School District website. A dedicated email address has also been set up for the community to comment or ask questions about the policies:

The board held a first reading on five board policies during the January 8, 2018 board meeting. These five policies will return for a second reading and possible action at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on January 22, 2018. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Garfield Elementary School. The five policies currently being reviewed are:

  • 4110 Citizen Advisory Committees and Task Forces
  • 4310 District Relationships with Law Enforcement and Other Governmental Agencies
  • 4315 Release of Information Concerning Sexual and Kidnapping Offenders
  • 4320 Cooperative Programs with Other Districts and Public Agencies
  • 4400 Election Activities

There are several ways to provide input in this board policy review process:

  • The public is welcome to comment about policies or other topics of interest during Olympia School Board meetings. Time is set aside for public comment near the start of open board meetings, and those who wish to speak are asked to sign in on a form placed near the entrance to each meeting.
  • Email comments or questions about the policies being reviewed to the new district email address especially created for this current board policy review process. The following email is monitored daily, and questions will be answered in the order they are received:
  • Contact Pam Barker, executive assistant to the Olympia School District Superintendent, at 360-596-6114.
  • Email or call Olympia School Board members directly. Contact information for board members, including their phone numbers and email addresses, is featured with their photos on the Board of Directors Web page.

Once the school board has finished reviewing the 4000 series, it will move to a new series. The district’s complete compilation of policies include:

  • 1000 series – Board of Directors
  • 2000 series – Instruction
  • 3000 series – Students
  • 4000 series – Community Relations
  • 5000 series – Personnel
  • 6000 series – Management Support

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.

January is School Board Recognition Month


School Board Recognition Month proclamation

Every January school districts across the state and nation honor their board of directors during School Board Recognition Month.

The Olympia School District will recognize its school board with a special program near the start of the meeting on Monday, January 23. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Capital High School, 2707 Conger Ave. N.W. in Olympia.

During the program, Superintendent Dick Cvitanich will read a proclamation by Gov. Jay Inslee designating January as School Board Recognition Month in Washington state. This marks the 22nd year of the annual observance initiated by the National School Boards Association in 1995.

The proclamation reads in part that school directors “play a crucial role in promoting student learning and achievement by creating a vision, establishing policies and budgets, and setting clear standards of accountability for all involved.” It also states that school directors “are directly accountable to the citizens in their districts and regions, serving as a vital link between members of the community and their schools.”

School board sets 2016-17 goals

In his Friday message last week, Superintendent Dick Cvitanich shared with all staff the Olympia School Board’s goals for the 2016-17 school year. We are sharing these board goals again below. It is easy to return to the blog at any time to revisit this article or any other board posts, which are archived on the Home page.

Board Goals: 2016-17

1. By November 2016, create an Olympia School District Equity Committee whose charter is to develop a work plan by June 2017 to:

  • Create a district vision for equity.
  • Build districtwide understanding of equity.
  • Develop organizational leadership and measurable growth indicators.

2. In a concerted effort to close the achievement/opportunity gap, conduct a review by May 2017, in which:

  • Each school identifies the needs of their students who consistently do not meet standard.
  • Resources currently targeted to close the achievement/opportunity gap are examined for alignment and effectiveness.

3. By November 2016, identify a consultant to conduct a K-12 boundary review by March 2017, for the purpose of balancing numbers in facilities and access to choice and optional programs. Explore options to balance enrollment and increase equity of access to all high schools to facilitate planning for future enrollment, capital investment and increasing high school graduation rates to 100%.

4. By March 2017, complete a detailed budget review to:

  • Re-examine those budgets which the school board impacts.
  • Ensure budgets are aligned with and targeted to identified needs.
  • Ensure funding is utilized as effectively as possible.

5. By Spring 2017, in collaboration with the Communications Department, improve communication with the Olympia School District community by providing information on:

  • Current Board Directors in order to better acquaint the community with them on a personal level.
  • Roles, responsibilities and terms of a school board director in order to convey that the positions are accessible to the community.
  • Anticipated openings on the school board.

6. By June 2017, conduct an early learning needs assessment to facilitate long-term planning for the district’s 0- 5-year-olds to support their success in school and life. By December 2016, hire a consultant to conduct the assessment.