Summer Engagement of District Employees

What does work look like when the perception is “summer is a break” for district staff. It’s a breeze…

As I toured each of the facilities to give my husband a view of the work, here is what I found — Tukwila Education Service Center staff were reimaging 3,000 computers. Director Baker indicated, “This keeps us safe from hackers.”

In a second room surplus computers were ready for final disposition. A third room was filled with books.

He shared the process is for getting books to the classroom.

“We inventory books and put a bar code in each to let us know where the books will be located.”

Maintenance and Operations Director Cardenas and her staff are located in the same building.

Director Cardenas shared her appreciation for a new office and for the first time her workers had a place to call home.

She said, “For years, they completed reports in their cars.”

The director of Transportation is Susan Kelly. As my husband and I approached the building sure enough, Director Kelly was acting as dispatcher and talking with bus drivers by phone about summer school routes. She gave us a tour of the new passenger buses.

My husband talked shop about a little more room between seats. Yes, she indicated, “You must be use to the older buses when there were 90 seats, the newer buses have 80 seats.”

Cascade View Elementary was next. Ivan Kistol, the head custodian, pointed out that floors had just been waxed in some of the buildings.

I pointed out the new carpeting throughout the school, painted walls, the newly renovated cafeteria, and the new walk-in freezer.

As we approached the office, we found assistant principal Cynthia Golston and office staff Angela Meyer working. Yes, they were getting ready for fall semester. They shared how grateful they were for the instructional resources available for classes.

Thorndyke is where elementary students attend classes — it was the first day of summer school.

Summer school coordinator Michael Croyle and his staff were still getting students enrolled and collecting information from parents even though it was quite late. Parks and Recreation staff were busy on the playground and would be there until 6 p.m. Lots of happiness going on.

As we continued on our way, I pointed out how busy we were with PD. Teachers attended summer institutes at Teachers College on the teaching of reading and writing. Staff attended AVID training.

High School Principal Megan McGroarty served as a national AVID trainer and we are proud of her. Other teachers and administrators attended GLAD training. This is model PD in academic language acquisition and literacy.

Business department CFO Gregory Woodard, accountant Kenneth Peterson and project manager/business analyst Carol Pizano, attended WASBO 2018 Business Managers Conference that promotes best practices of school business management.

Executive Director of HR and LR Aaron Draganov, Director Sally Jerome and Coordinator Ellen Gengler attended the Human Resources in Education Leadership Program designed to meet the needs of individuals engaged in HRM in public education. Director Susan Kelly and her staff spent time during the Transportation Conference learning about the safety and security needs in bus transportation.

Principals and assistant principals spent a week attending the WASA summer conference to learn about building leadership topics.

Executive Assistant Maricel Haessig kept up her skill set by attending the International Association of Administrative Professionals Summit while Communications Officer Rhonda Lee attended the National School Public Relations Association conference where she grew her skill set she needed to implement an effective public relations program.

I attended the Superintendents Leadership Network on Transforming America’s Schools. Guiding questions for discussion included, but not limited to — What do leaders need to know and be able to do to ensure staff commitment and ownership of organizational values? How do district leaders develop an engagement mindset?

Each summer, staff members work to keep their skills up-to-date to help contribute to the well-being of our students. I am proud of our hardworking staff and I too hope you feel the same. And, yes, it is a year around job!

Should you have any inquiries about the school district, please feel free to contact me by email at


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