New school board directors are sworn in
New school board directors are sworn in
Posted on 12/10/2019
new directors

Board Reorganization - Superintendent Tim Yeomans administered the Oath of Office to newly-elected board members Joseph Romero and Turan Kayaoglu. Re-elected board member Michael Keaton took his Oath of Office on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at the district office.

In accordance with Board Policy 1210 - Annual and Organizational Meeting, the directors then elected from among its members a president, vice president, two legislative representatives and a WIAA representative to serve one-year terms.

Results of the election are as follows:

President: Kathy Yang

Vice President: Maddie Names

Legislative Representatives: Michael Keaton and Joseph Romero

WIAA Representative: Turan Kayaoglu

District Highlights – Building administrators from Aylen Junior High, Firgrove, and Hunt elementaries presented directors with the 2019-20 Teachers of the Year:

  • Debbie Belvill, Hunt
  • Heather Carnine, Firgrove
  • Brad Jones, AJH

In November, teachers were surprised in front of their peers when Superintendent Yeomans visited their school to announce they had been identified as a Teacher of the Year. At the school board meeting, staff were honored by their building principals and assistant principals and presented plaques commemorating the event.

Hunt Assistant Principal Lauralee Chamberlain read, “Debbie is quietly awesome in her practices – she leads when she must – yet she really shines when she’s helping others grow in their practice.”

Of Brad Jones, Aylen Principal Kevin Mensonides said, “He works incredibly well with staff, has a soft spot for disadvantaged students, and has been incredibly effective in supporting struggling students.”

Firgrove Principal Terrie Garrison introduced her Teacher of the Year saying, “I value and appreciate her heart, relentless drive to help students achieve, and how she uses data to guide her instruction.”

To read the full story on each of these Teachers of the Year visit the PSD website: Teachers of the Year honored for dedication, innovation, and effectiveness.

Director of Instructional Leadership for Athletics, Health and Fitness Jim Meyerhoff then introduced Rogers Aquatic Center manager Brent McDaniel and assistant manager Kira Kaelin and announced their recent honor from The American Red Cross.  As a “Learn to Swim Provider” the RHS staff has earned Gold Level status.

The staff at Rogers was one of just 22 pools in a 5-state region to earn the Gold Level status by training over 1000 students to swim – and the Rogers staff trained over 3000 students this past year, including 900 just during the summer months.

Next, Meyerhoff presented directors with a summary of the fall sports season. Read the full summary on the PSD website.

Meyerhoff introduced Rogers High School junior and two-time Washington State diving champion Heather Hopkins. Heather completed ten dives with a score of 426 points, almost 40 points ahead of the second-place finisher. This score was a personal best and a new school record.

The Puyallup High School Unified Bowling Team participated at the Special Olympics State Games in the Traditional Bowling category. Directors honored Anietta Bollinger, a member of the four-person team. She was joined by team coaches for this recognition.

Lastly, the PHS girls' soccer team and 2019 State Soccer Champions were honored. Meyerhoff presented an account of their performance in the playoffs and in the final championship game noting, Not many schools have a chance to hold the state championship trophies in a sport for both boys and girls at the same time. PHS is proud of the Girls Soccer Team and their state title.”

Board Policy Updates – Directors were presented with the first reading of school board policies which have been revised due to legislative changes, suggestions by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), or to implement district efficiencies and effective use of available resources.

Assistant Superintendent Casey Cox provided directors with a review of the changes being recommended.

  • Policy 2413 – Equivalency Courses
  • Policy 3143 - District Notification of Juvenile Offenders
  • Policy 3144 - Release of Information Concerning Student Sexual and Kidnapping Offenders

Directors will consider approval of these changes at the next regularly scheduled school board meeting on January 6, 2020.

Report – Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Leadership Vince Pecchia and Director of Instructional Leadership Maija Thiel presented a recommendation for a new partnership between the Puyallup School District and the Clover Park Technical College called the 13th Year Program.

Joined by CPTC Vice President for Students Success Scott Latiolais, and Director of Outreach & Entry Services Micalah Pieper, Drs. Pecchia and Thiel shared their interest in providing options for a seamless transition of PSD students to post-secondary educational opportunities related to specific career fields.

The team shared considerations related to an expanded opportunity, a 13th Year Program, which would be available to all graduating seniors as a result of the proposed partnership. With the program in place, Clover Park Technical College will transition students into one free year of college if they demonstrate any financial need. The application portion of the program would open during the 2019-2020 school year

Directors will consider approval of this partnership at the next regularly scheduled school board meeting on January 6, 2020.

To view the slides used in this presentation, click here.

Action – Chief Academic Officer Cari Ake presented directors with recommendation to consider approval of a $11,400 donation from the Scott and Sis Names Legacy Fund and designated to replace the volleyball court poles at Emerald Ridge High School.

Ake introduced ERHS Principal Richard Lasso who expressed gratitude, on behalf of students and volleyball coaches, to the donors for the replacement of 20-year old volleyball poles.

Directors approved the donation.

Board Comments – Each of the directors shared comments during this final portion of the meeting. School Board President Kathy Yang provided commentary outlining the board’s vision for the district and setting priorities for the next few months. These comments were developed as a result of the directors’ participation at the annual Washington State School Directors Association Conference which was held in November.

As read by School Board President Kathy Yang:

At the top of our list, obviously, is the new superintendent search. When we return from break, we will have all the applications to review and narrow down to six candidates for interviews at the end of January. We encourage our community to attend the interviews and give feedback to the board. We have made great improvements in student learning and all aspects of operations with Dr. Yeomans, and we want to choose the right person to lead us to the next level.

We must also address the financial challenges that we continue to face.  Renewing the Maintenance and Operations levy will be a top priority for the coming year. In addition to the M&O levy, we will be considering a Capital Facilities levy to fund on-going maintenance of our buildings and grounds.  We are a large district with tremendous needs in our facilities, including very costly HVAC systems and significant repairs from constant wear and tear. 

Some wondered about the funds we have used in the past for maintenance, but without that investment our facilities would be in dire conditions which will only become more expensive to repair or replace with time. As it is, leaders of the Operations Department tell us that we can barely keep up with all the repair orders.

Funding from the bond would have addressed all our facility needs but we must now look for alternate measures. While we will be mindful, as always, when we ask voters for funding, it will be imperative to pass the levies for the district to continue to adequately serve our students and their families.

Even if we pass the levies, however, unless there is a change in the education funding formula by our legislature, we cannot continue to operate without budget cuts. Costs will continue to rise without a corresponding increase in funding. As it is, we are funded using a prototypical school model, with staffing far lower than our actual schools, and we are funded with salary allocations that is significantly below our actual salary schedule. 

The healthy Fund Balance the district has worked so hard to build up these past few years will be depleted in just a couple of years. We will be reviewing all educational programs and staffing in the district to determine where cuts will have the least impact on our students. But we know that any cuts will have impacts, on some or all of our students, and we will approach this task with great thought and care.

Two issues we will be considering early in the year are school Start Times and Safety and Security measures in our schools. With continued research showing the benefits of delayed start times for our teens, we want to make sure we are doing what is best for our students. We will ask our community to weigh in on different options. Because of transportation and programming considerations, along with budget limitations, as well as the impact these changes will have on families, this will an incredibly complex and difficult undertaking.

Finally, we will continue to evaluate safety and security measures in our schools. The district has already implemented significant measures, as evidenced by other districts reaching out to us for advice, and there is only so much more we can do given the physical limitations of some of our campuses like PHS and Rogers, which we attempted to address through the bond, but we will continue to make sure we have the best systems oversight to keep our students and staff as safe as possible.

We are hopeful and optimistic that we can continue to improve student learning in our district. While some of the challenges we face may seem large, we also believe this is an opportunity for the district to evaluate and assess how and why we do things. We appreciate your continued input, engagement, and support.

Human Resources Report – The Human Resources report approved by the school board can be found on the HR website.

Upcoming meetings – The next meeting of the Puyallup School District Board of Directors will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 6, 2020, at Ferrucci Junior High, 3213 Wildwood Park Drive, Puyallup, WA 98374.