LWSD superintendent candidate wants to continue district's commitment to getting students future ready
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
January 12, 2012 · Updated 12:40 PM
Members of the Redmond community gathered Tuesday night to meet Dr. Traci Pierce, the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) board of directors' preferred candidate for its next superintendent, and ask her questions about her views on K-12 education.
The event, held in the Bytes Cafe at City Hall, was an opportunity for people to meet and mingle with Pierce in an informal setting. About two dozen people attended, a number Pierce was happy with as she understands people have busy schedules.
"I was pleased with the turnout," said Pierce, who has been with LWSD for 17 years and is currently the deputy superintendent of instructional services.
Pierce may potentially replace current superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball, who is leaving at the end of the school year to be superintendent of the Singapore American School.
Board President Jackie Pendergrass, said the meet and greets — three more will be held next week in Sammamish, Kirkland and at the LWSD office in Redmond — allow people to put a name with a face as some people may know Pierce by name, but not in person.
Comment cards were provided for people to write down their feedback for the board. Pendergrass said they will also be collecting comments online through Jan. 22 so the board can discuss the topic during the board's Jan. 23 executive session. Kathryn Reith, LWSD director of communications, said the earliest the board could make a decision about hiring Pierce is at the Jan. 30 regular board meeting.
Pierce spoke briefly to the crowd. She outlined some of the goings-on at the district such as the upcoming grade reconfiguration to a K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 system next year, ongoing teacher growth and evaluations, curriculum adaptations at all levels and the district's healthy financial bottom line in the face of state budget cuts.
She stressed LWSD's commitment to getting students future ready and how they are not happy with being good because they always want to do better.
"One thing I know about our district is that we're a strong district," Pierce said.
After her speech, parents, community leaders and a few Redmond City Council members had the opportunity to speak with Pierce one-on-one and ask specific questions.
Kirkland resident Nicole MacKenzie attended the meeting to learn about the district's curriculum plans at the primary level. Her two children are in elementary school and with so much focus on STEM education, she wanted to know what is happening at the elementary level to prepare students.
MacKenzie also said she was happy to hear how the district stresses staff development and continuing education for teachers. She said this is very important for students.
"It sounds promising and I just want to hear the details," she said about speaking with Pierce.
Pierce said one of the biggest topics of discussion was the district's grade reconfiguration. In earlier reports, Pierce said she is very involved in the work concerning the reconfiguration as well as the new secondary science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) school, which is set to open in the fall.
Pierce began her career as a teacher in LWSD, working her way up to her current position.
"I'm very proud of my 17 years in the district," she said, adding she hopes to have many more.
Redmond City Council member Kim Allen, who was in attendance, said with these initiatives going into effect next year, it is really great to have continuity and a candidate who knows what's going on in the district.
Both Allen and Council President Pat Vache, who also attended the meeting, said the city and district work closely together on a number of issues and that the district is well represented in issues that concern both agencies.
"(LWSD is) a good partner," Vache said.
Pierce also spoke about how important schools are in their surrounding neighborhoods. She said strong schools mean strong communities.
"Our schools are an integral part of a strong community," she said.
Next week's meetings with Dr. Traci Pierce will be:
• Jan. 17 at Sammamish City Hall, 801 228th Ave. S.E. in Sammamish, in the Council Chambers, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
• Jan. 18 at LWSD Resource Center, 16250 NE 74th St. in Redmond, in the Hughes Room of the from 4:00- 5:30 p.m.
• Jan. 19 at Kirkland City Hall, 123 Fifth Ave. in Kirkland, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.