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    Superintendent Denise Juneau Leads District in Principal Appreciation
    Posted on 10/29/2020
    graphic with three photos of principals and text "October is National Principals Month!"

    Superintendent Denise Juneau Leads District in Principal Appreciation

    October is National Principals Appreciation Month and SPS school leaders have gone above and beyond to support students this school year. From making sure all students have the technology and tools they need for remote learning, to supporting staff as they learn new skills and new ways of delivering instruction, to connecting families with vital supports for basic needs, our principals and assistant principals are doing an incredible job of leading through a time of uncertainty and constant change. Thank you to our school leaders, and all our amazing educators, for your work to support students and families.

    "Thank you, Seattle Public Schools school leaders for all that you do and the heroic lift you are making in this remote setting. We appreciate you! Give a shout out to a principal or assistant principal that you appreciate!"
    ~ Superintendent Denise Juneau

    Superintendent Denise Juneau, October 6, 2020; @SeattleSupt follow Superintendent Denise Juneau on Twitter.

    To show their appreciation, families and staff have shared their #ThankAPrincipal stories, which we’ve included below.

    Don't see your school's principal listed? Share your #ThankAPrincipal story! Show your appreciation for one (or more) of our great SPS school leaders by emailing or tag us in your social media posts @SeattlePublicSchools on Facebook and Instagram and @SeaPubSchools on Twitter.

    Elementary Schools

    Katie Virga, Beacon Hill International Elementary School

    Principal Virga and the staff at Beacon Hill are focusing on student engagement in a remote environment by exciting the imaginations of their students through the integration of ethnic studies, drumming, and African story telling into rigorous core curriculum.

    Virginia Turner, Coe Elementary School

    "I want to share that Principal Virginia Turner at Coe Elementary is just extraordinary at her job, and I am so appreciative that she gives of her time, talent, and caring to the Coe community in such a big way! Virginia defines excellence in education, and I am so grateful for all she does for our students and our Coe community!" — Elisa, parent of Coe Elementary student

    Miguel Sansalone, Concord Elementary School

    Principal Sansalone and his staff are focusing on infusing rigor and cultural relevance into the student learning experience by fostering strong staff collaboration and by integrating the elementary ethnic studies framework into core instruction.

    Jessica Conte, Dearborn Park Elementary School

    Based on a foundation of strong relationships and high levels of trust, Principal Conte and the staff at Dearborn Park are focused on continuously improving the quality of learning and student engagement in a remote environment.

    "I’d like to appreciate and acknowledge Dr. Jessica Conte from DPIS. She cares for her school community, takes good care of the school staff and loves what she does. She has been an amazing mentor to student teachers." — Ruth, Paraprofessional Substitute

    Tonie Talbert, Dunlap Elementary School

    As the new principal at Dunlap, Principal Talbert is focused on listening and learning as the basis for developing productive partnerships. She and her staff are focused on teacher planning that maximizes student engagement with their learning.

    Rena Deese, Graham Hill Elementary School

    As the new principal at Graham Hill, Principal Deese is focused on getting to know the Graham Hill community. By fostering the conditions that lead to high levels of trust and strong collaboration, Rena and her staff are working to solidify the systems and structures that support predictable, high-quality learning experiences for all students.

    "I want to give a shout out to Rena Deese – principal of Graham Hill Elementary.  She has been an exemplary leader during this time.  She’s never too busy to support staff – whether it’s helping to troubleshoot  a computer glitch or being available for weekly 15 min. check ins. Rena has our back – and I am so grateful!!" — Linda, First Grade Teacher

    Zachary Stowell, Greenwood Elementary School

    "Principal Stowell has gone above and beyond in helping us transition to online learning.  I don't know where we'd be without his empathy, clarity, humor, and resilience.  His confidence in the wonderful teachers on his team shines through also.  Thank you!" - Nancy

    Sandra Scott, Hawthorne Elementary School

    By fostering strong family and school partnerships and rigorous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs, Principal Scott and her staff are focused on continuously improving the learning experience for their students.

    "We were new to Hawthorne last year and due to pandemic only attended until March (like everyone else), so only had seven months with the (new to us) staff and students. At this start of this year when we went to pick up school supplies, our wonderful principal, Ms. Scott, greeted my daughter by name. This meant so much to both her and I, that even though we were new, she was known and remembered. Ms. Scott and the rest of the teaching staff do such an amazing job getting to really know the children. Small acts of kindness and connection like this really go a long way." — Leann, parent of Hawthorne student

    Adam Dysart, Highland Park Elementary School

    Principal Dysart and his staff kicked off the year by engaging with every learner and family through distanced "home visits" and conferences. By building strong relationships characterized by collaboration and trust, the staff at Highland Park are continuing to focus on strengthening the learning experience for all students.

    Alana Halder, John Muir Elementary School

    "Alana Haider joined John Muir Elementary in late August bringing enthusiasm, compassion, leadership, and humor when we needed it most. Joining a school during an unprecedented pandemic is not an easy feat, yet Alana has committed to learning from and with our community. We are so grateful that she landed at our school." — Kate, Academic Intervention Specialist

    Cythia Chaput, Lafayette Elementary

    We wanted to send a note to include for Ms. Chaput and the #thankaprincipal stories.

    During this time, it's been an adjustment for all of us-families and educators alike. We truly appreciate how transparent Ms. Chaput has been with families, holding meetings so that we can ask questions or address any concerns, and truly sharing every piece of information she has at her fingertips right away so that we can all transition into this virtual world of school together. She has done a great job leading the school, providing teachers what they need, and constantly communicating with families around changes. She's also been great about receiving feedback and we all navigate this time together!

    Thank You Ms. Chaput for dedicating so much energy and time into making this school year great for our kids!!

    Thank you, Meghan, Eric and Ethan Houghland

    Sarah Jones, John Stanford International Elementary School

    "I feel very fortunate to be working at John Stanford International School under the leadership of Sarah Jones. Ms. Sarah is student-centered and sets high expectations for our school. Even with all the stresses of remote learning, Ms. Sarah reaches out to staff regularly to check on their well-being. Ms. Sarah makes me feel appreciated and valued. While the pandemic may keep us apart physically, I have never felt more connected to my school community." — Kindergarten/First Grade Teacher

    Katie Cryan Leary, Magnolia Elementary School

    "A principal sets the culture in a school community from the small interactions in passing to the larger more complex decisions that affect hundreds of staff, students, and family. Our school is so fortunate to have Ms. Cryan-Leary.  In a typical day, she is delivering resources, food, books, or headphones, while attending remote classrooms for connections and read-alouds. When I announce that Ms. Cryan-Leary will visit our third-grade class, students react with joy including smiles and cheers! Principal Cryan-Leary is an ambassador of inclusion and equitable education.  She works around the clock to connect and know every family. She brings important race and equity work to our entire staff and keeps a laser focus on how our work reaches students furthest from educational justice... Every day, I feel her support and an enormous amount of respect and admiration for her leadership. As both a teacher and parent in the community she holds, I benefit personally and professionally from our fearless leader." — Toni, Elementary Teacher

    Principal Christy Bowman and Assistant Principal Daisy Barragan, Maple Elementary

    “Christy and Daisy go above and beyond and work continuously to support the Maple community. I trust them both to be honest and fair. Being able to trust my leaders is something I don’t take for granted. Christy and Daisy work together in a coordinated way, which provides a feeling of safety for staff. They support staff in a transparent and team-oriented way, bringing everyone together, which avoids unhelpful dynamics. Christy and Daisy consistently communicate with staff and are always there to support us. When I feel discouraged and ask to talk to them individually or together, I always leave the conversation feeling better – encouraged and empowered to work for our students and families! I am very grateful to work with Christy and Daisy. Every day they go above and beyond what I expect in school leaders.” – Tracy, Elementary Counselor

    Michelle Goldberg, McDonald International Elementary School

    "I absolutely LOVE our school principal, Michelle Goldberg. As a veteran teacher I have never worked with a leader as thoughtful, compassionate and insightful as her. Mrs. Goldberg's emotional support to me and my colleagues since Covid began has been exceptional, and I know I would not have survived the beginning of this school year without her kindness and support." — Lauren, Teacher

    Dedy Fauntleroy, Northgate Elementary School

    Principal Fauntleroy's asset-based leadership vision focuses on the strengths of her students, their teachers, and their families. Through shared leadership, fostering the social-emotional health of the community, and co-teaching in teams, the staff at Northgate are continuously improving the learning experience for their students.

    Anitra Jones, Rainier View Elementary School

    Principal Jones and her staff kicked off the school year by focusing on setting the conditions that enable learners to feel a strong sense of belonging and safety as the foundation for remote learning. Passionate about consistently increasing opportunity for all students to meet or exceed grade level standards, she and her staff are currently focusing on instruction and student engagement in a remote learning environment.

    Katherine Torres, Roxhill Elementary School

    New this year to Roxhill, Principal Torres is listening and learning from the teachers and broader Roxhill community, and building quality relationships built on high levels of trust to continue the work of creating the conditions that enables all students to thrive.

    Erika Ayer, Sanislo Elementary School

    Principal Ayer and her staff continue to create the conditions that continuously improve the learning experience for their students. Their partnership with Space Between is one of the ways that they are building a compassionate, empathetic learning community where children and adults thrive.

    Pam McCowan-Conyers, West Seattle Elementary School

    Principal McCowan-Conyers has a laser-like focus on establishing the conditions what will ensure that all students, particularly those furthest from educational justice, meet or exceed grade level literacy expectations by grade three.

    Carol Mendoza, Wing Luke Elementary School

    Principal Mendoza and her staff are being deliberate about teaching ELL strategies across the curriculum. This year her staff are meeting weekly as professional learning communities to ensure that all students benefit from the instruction they receive.

    K-8 Schools

    Ben Ostrom, Boren STEM K-8

    Principal Ostrom and the staff at Boren STEM are supporting their students in assuming responsibility for driving their learning through rigorous, relevant project-based experiences that develop STEAM skills and foster 21st century readiness.

    Tipton Blish, Broadview Thomson K-8

    As the new principal at Broadview Thomson, Principal Blish is committed to the continuous improvement of the school and is focused on developing strong relationships and building his knowledge of the school, its many strengths, and its opportunities for continued growth.

    Ryan LaDage, Catharine Blaine K-8

    "Before my son even started to assist at Blaine, our principal was very responsive to all my questions making me feel that this school could be a good match for my son. While at school, I always saw him first thing in the morning outside welcoming students. After the pandemic, I see him every day working at his desk when we go to school to pick up lunch. Most importantly, when I have had a complaint, I have always seen him respond graciously, calmly, and directly to my concerns. Thank you Mr. LaDage!" – Catherine Blaine parent

    Ryan LaDage, Catharine Blaine K-8

    “Before my son even started to assist at Blaine, our principal was very responsive to all my questions making me feel that this school could be a good match for my son. While at school, I always saw him first thing in the morning outside welcoming students. After the pandemic, I see him every day working at his desk when we go to school to pick up lunch. Most importantly, when I have had a complaint, I have always seen him respond graciously, calmly, and directly to my concerns. Thank you Mr. LaDage!” – Catherine Blaine parent

    David Dockendorf, Pathfinder K-8

    "Our principal, David Dockendorf, has been amazing throughout this stressful time during the pandemic.  He has worked tirelessly to support all the staff members and families many times from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., performing at least one task that a member of his staff would normally have completed during a normal school year... This is a tough time to lead a school and I feel that our staff, our families and the district is lucky to have David as principal of Pathfinder K-8." — Barbara, Pathfinder K-8 staff

    Middle Schools

    Cindy Watters, Mercer International Middle School

    "I want to thank our daughter's principal Cindy Watters. She is the principal of Mercer Middle school. She has been available, responsive, thoughtful and honest in getting Online school up again this fall. Thanks so much for being all in. We see it and we appreciate you!" — Alice, mom of an eighth grader.

    High Schools

    Barbara Casey, The Center School

    I am a new staff at The Center School, and I wanted to recognize our principal, Dr. Barbara Casey, for creating a welcoming, inclusive, supportive environment for me. Thank you, Dr. Casey! — Michele Hayes, Counselor grades 9-12