(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated since original publication with the addition of a letter from SPS Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield regarding the process for choosing a new Sealth principal.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“After seven years, I’m ready to do something different, and challenge myself in different ways,” explains John Boyd, announcing his departure as the longtime principal of Chief Sealth International High School, which is also his alma mater.
Boyd has accepted a position as an executive director, supervising principals and schools, for Highline Public Schools, the district immediately south of Seattle, and the new job won’t take him far – his part of that district will include White Center.
He is announcing his resignation with a letter today (read it at the end of this story). Boyd also spoke with West Seattle Blog, and told us: “I had three main goals when I came to Sealth – improve the image of the school, recruit neighborhood kids – make it a place where people in the community felt like they could send their kids – and to improve academic achievement. I feel good about making progress in all those areas.”
Sealth was in the spotlight last fall as it moved into a newly renovated building, and this year brings another milestone – Seattle Public Schools’ first co-located middle and high schools, as the new Denny International Middle School opens next door. Sealth’s enrollment is skyrocketing, too, “going from 800 students to more than 1,100, and (next year) close to 1,200, with the second-highest wait list behind Garfield,” Boyd notes.
To help with the transition, he says, he will stay on at Sealth “as long as Susan (Enfield, interim SPS superintendent) needs me. … It’s really important that there’s continuity, I told (both districts). I’ll have my fingers in both worlds for a while.”
But he’s confident Sealth has a bright future, even under somebody else’s leadership: “The school’s at a place where it will continue to thrive and succeed. There’s a great group of people in place there. It’s a school that people have a lot of confidence in.”
Click ahead to read Boyd’s letter to the Sealth community (and, added 11:55 am, Dr. Enfield’s letter to the Sealth community explaining the principal-selection process):
Dear Chief Sealth International High Community,
I am writing to share with you that in the last few days, I have been offered and accepted an Executive Director of Schools position with Highline Public Schools. At the outset, I would like you to know that it was not an easy choice to leave Chief Sealth. My time as the principal of Chief Sealth has been the most personally and professionally rewarding years of my educational career.
When I assumed this position in July of 2004, there were many challenges facing Chief Sealth. At that time, I set three goals for myself and the school:
· Raise academic achievement for all students,
· Improve the image of the school, and
· Increase enrollment through making Chief Sealth attractive to neighborhood students.
I am proud to say that each of these goals has been met.
· Student achievement on standardized assessments has increased by 40% in math, 25% in reading, 22% in science and 21% in writing.
· Chief Sealth is in a beautifully remodeled facility and is known for its rigorous academic offerings, its successful athletics teams, and its award winning arts programs.
· Student enrollment has risen by 400 students with high neighborhood demand.
Having accomplished these things, it is time for me to move forward with my own professional growth and to allow for Chief Sealth to continue its development under a new principal who will approach the position with a fresh set of eyes as I did seven years ago.
As the parent of the three Chief Sealth students I leave with the knowledge that they and their classmates are in the capable hands of a talented and dedicated staff. It has been a pleasure to spend my days with real professionals and observe their commitment to serving all students. As Chief Sealth approaches the first year sharing a campus with Denny International Middle School, I look forward to watching the two schools collaborate providing an excellent vertically aligned learning experience from grades 6 through 12.
Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield will be sharing with the community more information regarding the identification of Chief Sealth’s next principal. I know that Dr. Enfield, as well as School Board President Steve Sundquist and Executive Director Aurora Lora, are committed to the continued well-being of Chief Sealth. I will remain in my position as principal through August 5, 2011, and will continue to make myself available to assist in this transition for as long as I am needed.
Being the principal of my alma matter has been deeply rewarding. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the community where I grew up and to serve the children and families of Chief Sealth. As a lifelong Delridge resident, one of the exciting things about my new position is that I will be supervising and supporting 13 schools in Highline’s north region where I will continue to work in the community in my community. I also look forward to seeing you as a proud parent at future Chief Sealth activities and events. I wish the staff, students and families of Chief Sealth the very best for the 2011-2012 school year and the future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your principal for the past seven years.
John L. Boyd
Chief Sealth International
ADDED 11:55 AM: The letter sent to Sealth families by SPS’s interim superintendent:
Dear students, families and staff of Chief Sealth International High School:
I am writing to let you know about a leadership change at Chief Sealth this fall. Principal John Boyd is leaving Seattle Public Schools to become an Executive Director of Schools in the Highline School District.
Mr. Boyd has been a strong and highly regarded principal who has worked hard to put Chief Sealth students on the road to academic success, and I appreciate all that he has done to guide your school. I also want to take an opportunity to thank the entire Chief Sealth International High School community for the positive learning environment that you have created.
We are committed to building upon the solid foundation that Mr. Boyd established and will let you know as soon as we have determined the timeline for selecting a new principal. The Chief Sealth community will have opportunities to provide input into this process, knowing that we will be on a quick timeline to have someone in place for the start of school.
Mr. Boyd’s last day with Seattle will be Aug. 5, but he is graciously making himself available to help with a transition to a new principal. Please join me in thanking Mr. Boyd for his service and wishing him success in his new endeavor.
Dr. Susan Enfield