Greetings Meridian Students and Families,

As you know, Thanksgiving is this week – and conferences have been in full swing. We hope you have been able to connect with your child’s teachers during this time. I believe the essence of the holiday is about gratitude and recognizing the amazing qualities of those around you. I am continually impressed with the hard work and dedication of our district employees – and the support of this great Meridian community – for which I am especially grateful.

Yesterday I had the privilege to serve as a Watch D.O.G.S. (Dad’s of Great Students) at Irene Reither Elementary School. I enjoyed assisting in, and visiting, many classrooms. I gave (and received) plenty of high-fives, and was in awe of the skill and effort displayed by our teachers in their classrooms – and enjoyed being surrounded by positive adults focused on making the environment joyful and supportive for their students. I encourage others to commit to this activity as there is no greater pride that helping a child understand a concept, share in their ideas, and help them engage thoughtfully. You can sign up here: Watch DOGS – Meridian PTA.

My time as a Watch D.O.G. made me stop and think about how grateful I am to be an educator, and to be doing my work here in Meridian. Each and every one of us is in a position to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. How great is that? If each of us practiced gratitude just a little bit every day, we could transform what might be perceived as obstacles into opportunities.

What I see is that we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to really think outside of the box about how we are going to create a world-class school district that ensures equitable outcomes for all students. I have no doubt that we have what it takes, and that it will take each and every one of us working together.

I want to publicly thank our teachers, district staff, and School Board for the contributions they make every day for the Meridian community – and our families for the honor of allowing us to serve you by serving your most precious possession – your children.

Enjoy the break and time with your families this week!

4th Graders Bryan Zarza-Colin and Edgar Peraza-Hernandez joined me for a photo!

Director Craig Mitchell, Director-Elect Sara Bernardy, Chair Marty Gray, Director Brian Evans, Director Renier Elenbaas

Meridian is fortunate to have a highly supportive school board. I was honored to join our Board of Directors this past week at the annual Washington State School Director’s Association Annual Conference (WSSDA) in Bellevue. WSSDA’s Annual Conference provides outstanding speakers and experts in the field of education to provide learning opportunities for board members around the state of Washington. Even though we have all gone through school at one point in our lives, school systems have become increasingly complex entities. The time and devotion provided by our School Board Directors should be commended. They volunteer for this role and do not receive compensation. We should all be grateful for their dedication.

We do have a change on the horizon for our School Board. Many of you are aware that Craig Wasilewski has decided to step down at the conclusion of his current term. We will have an opportunity to recognize Mr. Wasilewski’s outstanding

contributions to the Meridian School District as a Board Director over the past twelve years at our next school board meeting on Wednesday, December 11. Please join us as we recognize his dedication and devotion to the Meridian Community. We will start our meeting at 7:00 pm in our Professional Development/Board Room on the MHS campus.

Elected to serve in the director position vacated by Mr. Wasilewski is Meridian Alum Sara Bernardy. She successfully ran for School Board Director in November. We welcome her joining the Board and look forward to her assistance in helping shape the vision of the future for the Meridian School District. She will be sworn in at our next School Board meeting on Wednesday, December 11.

For those curious about Director-Elect Bernardy’s experience and preparation for serving on the Board of Directors, her candidate statement from the voters’ guide is included below.

Elected Experience: First time running for public office.

Other Professional Experience: U.S. Army, Communications, 1996-2005; over 10 years experience in federal and local government; Club Director for a local non-profit sports organization.

Education: B.A. Communication Studies, Western Washington University

Community Service: Meridian Public School Foundation, board member; Meridian Alumni Association, committee chairperson; Meridian Youth Athletic Association, coach; and Whatcom Volunteer Center Chore Program

Statement: I am a graduate of Meridian High School and after serving eight years in the military, living in various parts of the country and overseas, I returned home to beautiful Whatcom County to raise my family. My husband, Steve, also graduated from Meridian and has strong ties to this district on his side of the family, our four children are fourth-generation Meridian students. Our oldest graduated in 2016, and we currently have a student at Meridian Middle School and two children attending Irene Reither Elementary.

I look forward to the opportunity to work in collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators and other school employees to promote investing in better learning environments and working conditions. I am dedicated to the Meridian School District and will strive to focus on what is truly important – our children and teaching and learning. Thank you.

Join me for Drinks with the Doc on December 5th from 6:00 – 7:00 pm. I will be joined by Assistant Superintendent Kurt Harvill. We are meeting in our PD/Board Room in Building F on the MHS campus. This is typically informal and follows whatever questions come with our guests. We will have coffee and treats – and look forward to talking with you soon!