I am excited to welcome you back to another terrific year of learning and teaching in the Mercer Island School District. Summer has been a busy time for us, and I want to share a few staff updates with you. Aimee Batliner-Gillette was named Interim Principal at West Mercer Elementary following the departure of Rich Mellish who took a principal position in Issaquah. To fill Aimee’s position for one year, Kathy Morrison, longtime MISD administrator, came out of retirement to act as Interim Associate Principal for the elementary schools. Associate principal Jeff D’Ambrosio left MIHS in July to take a position as a middle school principal with the Snoqualmie Valley School District. I am pleased to welcome Henterson Carlisle to the Mercer Island School District as associate principal at Mercer Island High School. Henterson is a highly qualified school administrator and comes to us having served as principal and assistant principal with Seattle Public Schools. Mark Zmuda was appointed associate principal at MIHS last spring following the retirement of Craig Olson. Mark is an experienced and highly qualified high school assistant principal who served as an administrator at Eastside Catholic. I am honored and continue to feel fortunate to work with a hugely talented team of school and district leaders.
We have been busy with our capital projects! We’ve made changes to entry at MIHS and are getting ready for the new 10-classroom addition. The reconfiguration of the main parking area off SE 42nd at the front entry is undergoing significant changes. The new dedicated parent drop off lane should ease congestion along 40th and provide a safe place for students to arrive in the morning and wait to be picked up after school. All work for this project is on schedule and the lot will be available for the start of school.
The other portion of work at the high school is the addition of 10 classrooms. Each of the east/west wings, the 100, 200, and 300 halls is being extended east to provide approximately 15,000 square feet of additional teaching space. All permits have been issued, our contractor is on board, and work will begin in mid to late August. A portion of the parking lot adjacent to the music wing will be used by the contractor for trailers, material storage and parking but the lot will remain open for fire access, special needs transportation and after hours parking.
Portable classrooms have been moved at Islander Middle School, as we get ready for the redevelopment of that site, slated for early next year. Our long-term, north campus tenants will be vacating the campus by October 1 as the district gets ready to demolish the old buildings and prepare the site for the construction of the new elementary school # 4.
Please enjoy these warm summer days and evenings, and I wish you and our students the best school year yet!
Gary Plano, Ed. D.