The future for SVSD students is brighter than it has ever been in the Snoqualmie Valley. Carolyn’s leadership on the school board, resulting in using best practices, public input, teamwork, negotiation, collaboration, and consensus, has much to do with the improvements we have seen in the district. Her re-election is absolutely crucial to continue and complete the essential work being done in these areas:
- Preparing ALL students for College and Career Choices
- Governing with Strong Leadership, Accountability and Result
- Enhancing School Buildings for Safety and Growth
Read more below:
Preparing ALL Students for College and Career Choices:
Never has the district been so united and focused on educating ALL students for college, career, and citizenship.
Carolyn believes students should be able to graduate from high school and be prepared to have college and career choices. A college ready transcript is essential for students to be able to have those choices.
Much of Carolyn’s board work is on ensuring that the district is 1) using data analytics to identify students who need additional help and 2) implementing the programs to help each and every student reach these goals. Work to ensure this focus is aligned throughout our schools and classrooms continues at an intense pace. At the same time, Carolyn supports programs that ensure that each and every student is encouraged, accomplished, safe, and, ultimately, educated for life after high school.
When Carolyn started serving on the board there were barriers preventing students from accessing the rigorous classes and pathways students wanted. Significant work has been accomplished to break down or modify these barriers to improve access, including reducing student fees, and that work continues.
Exposure to career options and the development of interview techniques, and critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity job skills are important for each and every student. Carolyn has worked at developing interactions, internships, and apprenticeships between the district and employers.
During her years on the board and as president of the Sno Valley Chamber of Commerce, Carolyn frequently heard from employers locally and across the broad Puget Sound community that they struggle with finding employees with the skills needed for the jobs in our area. At the same time she heard from students that they didn’t feel that what they learned in school was relevant for what they want to do with their life. She led efforts to start improving the connections between education and employment. She started with Career Exploration Fridays, during which high school students visited job sites to see various careers at work and employers created career relationships with students. She also advocated for years and was key this year to bringing back a Career Day at Mount Si High School and to ensure that it was filled with high demand/high wage dynamic employers.
Re-elect Carolyn to continue this important work in preparing our students throughout their preK-12 so they are ready to graduate with skills and options for their future.
Governing with Strong Leadership, Accountability and Results:
Stable, Sustainable Budgets: The SVSD is entering a challenging budget territory as it works toward stable and sustainable budgets in a new funding and spending environment. The SVSD operating and capital budgets are complex, and, combined, amount to over $200 million per year. Carolyn’s significant experience and strategic mindset in financial leadership in multi-million/billion dollar companies is crucial.
With having made unprecedented and badly needed adjustments to salaries across the board in the recent year, the district is working hard to learn more about how this new environment will impact the financials for years to come. Carolyn’s business experience and strategic mindset is very much needed to ensure budgets are sustainable and focused on the district’s mission for student learning.
Leadership and governance: The school board has significantly improved its district leadership and governance roles during Carolyn’s tenure on the board. As president, Carolyn led the board during the national search for a superintendent, and she leads the board today as the new superintendent begins his second year. The work of creating and enhancing a long term relationship between the board and the superintendent and his team, continues, and will need Carolyn’s leadership and experience.
Carolyn was essential in the overhaul of the superintendent review process, the development of models to determine competitive employee pay, and the creation of both the strategic plan and the district scorecard to focus upon and assess student and district success.
By January 2020, three of the board members will have 2 years or less experience. Re-elect Carolyn Simpson to ensure that strong, capable, proven leadership and governance continue.
Community Connections: Carolyn strongly believes in open and transparent work that is inclusive across the community of parents, students, staff, employers, and voters. Community connections are vital to this work. Carolyn is the right person to have on the board to continue enhancing the relationships between the district and the community. There is no director on the school board with more community connections than Carolyn Simpson. Those connections help enhance the district’s reputation. But they also, very importantly, helped develop career connections for students.
Carolyn also serves as the Snoqualmie Valley delegate and Vice Chair to the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition. In this role, Carolyn has been in charge of the team which develops the coalition’s education policy and to advocate for such at the state legislature. This work focused on creating stable funding, enhancing the ability to attract and retain quality teaching staff, and increasing opportunities for workforce development and connections (career training) in our schools.
It is important that as the district makes decisions, that the board is cognizant about assessing broad community support and not just rely on a handful of individual opinions. Carolyn welcomes public comment and input, is widely connected in the community, and is the right person to ensure that the board brings the voice of the whole community into the boardroom and continues to foster community connections. She has helped to transform board meetings to become more welcoming and transparent.
Enhancing School Buildings for Safety and Growth:
Completion of Mount Si High School: Carolyn’s leadership was absolutely crucial in putting forth the high school rebuild idea, resulting in unprecedented success with the largest bond in school district history. Carolyn’s significant experience in this area is needed on the school board to finish this work for our students.
This fall, students and staff will enter the new high school, designed for growth and for improved teaching and learning. They will experience lighter brighter classrooms, areas to work in small groups (just like work environments today), and more classrooms spaces designed for career learning. Freshmen will have again have easy access to high school classes they need and won’t need to take a bus from an offsite freshman campus. Middle schools will no longer be grossly over-crowded, as the district converts back to three middle schools. Carolyn looks forward to the impact on student success and outcomes as these enhancements take root.
This was exceptional and very difficult work over many years of Carolyn’s tenure. That work continues during the next phase of construction: demolition of the old building, the build of a new Performing Arts Center and related classrooms, and the completion of baseball/softball fields and parking. The work also includes ensuring good financial management in the securing of our financial bonding instruments and minimizing interest expense.
It is an exciting time, here in the SVSD, thanks to the generosity of our voters. This work is very complex, and Carolyn’s significant financial and planning experience in this area is needed on the school board to finish this work for our students.
Future Facilities Decisions: Looking several years into the future, the district sees the potential need for additional elementary school space, as well as improvements for some of its aging buildings. Carolyn is committed to taking a good hard look at the needs in ALL school buildings to ensure the district is well-positioned for both safety and growth.
Carolyn believes in community collaboration and will advocate for and support the creation of a new team of community leaders, staff, and students to help take a good hard look at our facilities needs so that these big decisions can be made with significant community involvement, smart financial planning, and excellent demographic data.
Behavioral Health/Safety: Carolyn advocates successfully for adding behavioral health professionals and curriculum in our schools, and she continues to follow the results closely.