SCHOOLS: Chief Sealth IHS principal Aida Fraser-Hammer retiring (updated)

The longtime principal of Chief Sealth International High School, Aida Fraser-Hammer, is in her eighth year there, and has just announced it will be her last. Here is the letter she sent to the school community:

It is a tremendous honor being principal at Chief Sealth International High School. I truly love the school and I cannot see myself working anywhere else. When I walked in the doors of this beautiful school 8 years ago, I had already fallen in love with the students and I was driven by my deep desire to provide them with the education they deserve, an education that empowers the powerless, open doors for the uninvited, and makes dreams a reality. I truly appreciate the trust that you placed in me to guide the school to where we are now. Together we have designed the path to social justice and equity in education. Without your support, our school would not be on the cusp of becoming a place where ALL students belong. YOU made the difference for our students, and along the way YOU have empowered me.

By means of this letter, I would like to let you know that I have decided to retire at the end of this school year. My decision to leave was a very difficult one to make. It was difficult because I am still in love with the school and to our mission; and I am still committed to the students, to you, and to the community. However, the time has come for me to fulfill a promise that I made 40 years ago to my late husband. I will work with the Human Resources Department and the district Leadership Team to find my replacement. Together we will ensure a smooth transition and a continued emphasis on increasing student voice, embracing practices that focus on the value of people as individuals, appreciating ethnic/cultural contributions, practicing inclusion, demanding academic relevance and authenticating the assessment process. I leave with appreciation for your support, encouragement and trust. I grew professionally and personally over the last eight years, and I am thankful for all the valuable lessons and wonderful memories. I am going to miss coming to work every day.

As I fulfill my long-standing promise, I will remain active during my retirement. I will travel, volunteer with DAWN and CASA, and explore any enticing opportunity that comes my way. I will also host family reunions in Trinidad and Nicaragua so my children and grandchildren can become more acquainted with their complex heritages. I may also find time to write my autobiography. And of course, I will keep in touch with you.

Although my date of departure is still a long way off, I want to express my best wishes to everyone at Chief Sealth. I wish you all continued success and growth with current and future projects. It’s great to be a Seahawk!

Before Fraser-Hammer started in fall 2013, Chris Kinsey was Sealth principal for 2 years; he was preceded by John Boyd, who was there for 7 years.

ADDED FRIDAY: Fraser-Hammer has since sent a letter to families, and asked us to add it to the story:

4 Replies to "SCHOOLS: Chief Sealth IHS principal Aida Fraser-Hammer retiring (updated)"

  • Admiral Mom February 25, 2021 (6:37 pm)

    Good riddance 

  • HF February 25, 2021 (7:04 pm)

    I am consistently disappointed with SPS communication. To see this on the WS Blog and have not been informed by the school is frustrating! Glad to get the news – just wish we had heard it from SPS or Sealth first.  

    • WSB February 25, 2021 (7:48 pm)

      Sorry to hear that, but forwarded letters are generally the main way we hear … the district used to send media releases about principal changes (which are a BIG DEAL) but doesn’t any more. I recently found out a West Seattle elementary school had changed principals at the start of this year and we had never heard … until the new principal contacted us when we solicited info about school tours recently. Anyway, this is a particularly big deal given her tenure, which goes back to our son’s senior year, and he’s been out since 2014! – TR

  • Gentle Tassione McGaughey February 25, 2021 (10:24 pm)

    I am grateful to Ms. Fraser-Hammer for hiring me to teach ELA and theatre arts back in 2016. Chief Sealth’s students and staff are a very close-knit community of wonderful, caring people, and I love teaching there. I wish Ms. Fraser-Hammer all the best in her retirement. 

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