Seattle School Board Selects Finalists for District Superintendent

by Emerald Staff

The Seattle School Board announced three finalists for the district’s new superintendent this evening. Denise Juneau, Andre Spencer, and Jeanice Swift will compete for the position vacated by sitting superintendent Larry Nyland.

“I believe these candidates have the technical skills, the temperament, the personalities, which are unique and complementary to our city, and are representative of our communities,” said Zachary DeWolf, a member of the Seattle School Board. “This could be a fabulous moment for our city’s history!”

Seattle Public Schools announced in last year it wouldn’t be renewing Nyland’s contract and instead would embark on a national search for a replacement. Nyland, hired in 2015, follows a line of district superintendents for Seattle Public Schools who have stepped down within a few years of taking the job.

Denise Juneau, a teacher, and lawyer, served as the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Montana for eight years. She is also a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Tribal Nation.

Dr. Andre Spencer contributed as a science teacher and later as a principal and then a superintendent in the Baltimore City Public School System. He holds a doctorate in education and is a U.S. Army veteran.

Dr. Jeanice Swift is a former teacher, principal, and most recently, the Superintendent of Schools for Ann Arbor, Michigan’s public schools. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership and has advocated for greater student exposure to art in schools.

The public will have the opportunity to meet with the candidates at an event hosted by the School Board Thursday, March 29 from 5-8:15pm. Candidates will be available to answer questions from the public.

The Seattle Public School Board will vote on the new District Superintendent at their regular board meeting Wednesday, April 4th at 4:15pm. Both events will take place at the John Stanford Center at 2445 Third Avenue S.


Featured photo courtesy of Seattle Public Schools

3 thoughts on “Seattle School Board Selects Finalists for District Superintendent”

  1. Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS) is next to the Museum of Flight. It is in Tukwilla across the street from being in Seattle. They accept 105 students a year into the 9th grade class. 55 of the 105 are from the Federal Way School District. The school is part of Federal Way School District. 30 of the students are selected from the Seattle School District and 20 from school districts around the State. They accept 105 of the 450 students who apply to go to this very fine Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program. The students are chosen by a lottery of the 450 who apply.

    I have heard that 200 of those not selected are from Seattle. I cannot confirm that. All 200 students are interested in a STEM education. RAHS emphasizes Aeronautical engineering and science. Those students who wish to go into Medicine, Dentistry, Health Sciences or other Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math programs other than aviation have to stretch the truth to get a chance at RAHS lottery.

    Seattle has these 150 to 200 students most who are B+/A- students and do not have a program that is structured to give them the advantages of the RAHS program. The Seattle School district has to educate them, provide teachers, space, books, etc. Why not have such a STEM program to stretch their minds, prepare them for these studies when they get to college.

    If you do this put it in an under producing school. This might just interest some of the students who not performing well. Having such a program might serve to raise the level of such subjects for the whole school. I certainly would make the statistics of such a school improve.

    Do I have a site in mind? Rainier Beach High School has many kids who have problems. They tend to graduate a lower percentage of their students. Many students are minority, single parent, poor, many recent immigrants, many from English as a second language families. They need and deserve to have access to such a program.

    Again all of these kids need programs and teachers, books, space and desks. Why not provide a program equal to RAHS and help bring up profile of Rainier Beach High School. Help give students a head start for college STEM programs. Offer the program to students who through no fault of their own have no access to such a program.

    Do students want this? The 450 students who apply to RAHS tells me they do. Two retired aeronautical engineers myself a retired dentist and certified instrument flight instructor do a Saturday STEM program using laptop computer flight simulators and have done this for 6 years. It is free to the kids. The kids give up a Saturday morning for 12 or 13 weeks to attend this program. There is no cost to them, they get no special credit in school for giving up these Saturdays but our attendance is close to 100%. There are Seattle students applying to get into the RAHS program. They will even come to our Saturday morning class to get exposure to such topics. Of the last 20 students only 2 have been selected through the lottery for RAHS.
    Why cannot the Seattle Public schools do the same? Give our kids the opportunity offered by the Raisbeck Aviation High School. Place the program in an under performing school.

    1. Rainier Beach High School has an International Baccalaureate program, but got special funding from the state to do it (secured by Rep Eric Pettigrew). You could do a similar STEM program at another high school if you went after that kind of funding.

Leave a Reply