“You need a great principal, you’re deserving of that.”
That’s how Seattle Public Schools‘ interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield opened tonight’s meeting at district HQ to talk about the process of getting Chief Sealth International High School a principal for the school year that’s just a month away – since longtime principal John Boyd is leaving for a new job in Highline Public Schools.
More than 60 people came to the meeting, including a dozen or so Sealth students, Seattle School Board president Steve Sundquist (father of two Sealth graduates), West Seattle’s executive director of schools Aurora Lora (at center in photo at right, taken during small-group breakouts), Sealth PTSA and faculty members, among others.
Before we get to the toplines – for anyone who wasn’t able to attend tonight, Lora will be on the Sealth campus tomorrow, 8:30 am-2:30 pm in the alumni room (near the main entrance), available to anyone who wants to talk about the principal situation.
They’re also still taking online responses to the survey you’ll find here, and handed out a list with some of the answers from “What qualities do you think are most important to have in a principal for Chief Sealth International HS?”, taken from the 90 survey responses received as of 3 pm today.
One of the responses listed was “ability to build a strong 6-12(th grade) pathway that lets students excel and get the support they need if they are struggling/collaboration with the Denny (International Middle School) principal.”
That was a big point of discussion, since after more than four years of planning and construction, Sealth and Denny are finally about to officially become the first co-located middle/high schools in the district – and the interim principal will be stepping right into that, so she/he needs to be up to the challenge.
It was also stressed tonight, including by Dr. Enfield, that they were not looking for someone to come in and make major changes – they want to honor the work that Boyd did over the past seven years, with the school improving its reputation to the point where its waitlist is currently second-longest in the district.
Some concerns were voiced about an interim superintendent appointing an interim principal, and about the normal hiring process – with more school-community input – being bypassed because an interim appointment is being made instead of a permanent one. Participants want the feedback process next year – for either keeping or releasing the interim principal – to start sooner than the comparable process West Seattle High School went through before Ruth Medsker was given the permanent job last March, just two weeks after the community feedback meeting.
Next steps here: After spending time at Sealth tomorrow, Lora is scheduled to meet with the superintendent on Wednesday, and an announcement could come as soon as this Friday, which is Boyd’s last official day on the job.
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