by Emerald Staff
The Seattle School Board voted Wednesday night to select Denise Juneau as the new District Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. Juneau is coming off two four-year terms as the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Montana. She will be the first queer woman of native descent to serve in the role.
“We were thrilled with the quality of candidates, making this a harder decision than any of us expected. Our community and staff have high expectations for Seattle Schools. Denise Juneau is the right pick to fulfill our promise of equity and excellence,” said school board president Leslie Harris.
Juneau will replace current superintendent Larry Nyland after the Seattle School Board announced last year it wouldn’t renew his contract. 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.
The new superintendent is openly gay and descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana. She holds a graduate degree in education from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Montana. In 2016 she ran on the Democratic ticket against incumbent Ryan Zinke for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and lost by 16 percent of the vote.
“I am very honored to be offered the opportunity to join the team at SPS as their next superintendent. I am ready to work with the school board to help them achieve their goals of educational equity in outcomes, closing the opportunity gaps, robust engagement with community and parents, and providing a quality education for all students,” Juneau said in a statement.