Superintendent's Message

Dr. Gary Plano

June 2, 2016 

Dear families, staff and friends of Mercer Island Schools,

As we near the last days of the school year, I'd like to thank you for your unwavering support of our students and staff this year. On Thursday, June 16 we will bid farewell to 345 MIHS seniors at commencement at Key Arena in Seattle. Those 13 years have gone by so quickly. I arrived as superintendent when our seniors were in 3rd grade! We are already looking forward to welcoming our new kindergarteners — the class of 2029! 

Here are a few important updates I want to share with you as we close out the year.

Bridge 2016 fundraising continues: Thanks to the generosity of our community, the Mercer Island Schools Foundation has raised just over $617,000 toward its goal of $1.2 million. We are immensely grateful for the Foundation's support, which helps every student in every classroom in our district. Watch for the Foundation’s “Donation Day” on June 8 at all our schools. 

Dedication of Northwood Elementary: Please join us Saturday, June 18 for the dedication and open house for the new Northwood Elementary, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The building is nearly complete and we are looking forward to showing it to our entire community. Learn more here about the Northwood opening.

Construction of the new commons, administration area, classrooms and gymnasium at Islander Middle School is proceeding on time and within budget. A dedication of those new facilities is planned for late September. More news about the dedication will be shared as school opens in the fall.  

We continue to post monthly construction updates for both buildings here. Thank you to our community for the historic passage of the 2014 bond for making these new and upgraded buildings possible for our students.

District Recognition Event: The District will honor its Teachers and Classified Employees of the Year, along with the Class of 2016 Retiring Employees, at a reception at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 in the Mercer Island High School library. The Teachers of the Year are Kara Millsap, elementary technology teacher on special assignment (TOSA), Adrienne Bylsma of Islander Middle School, and Kim Schjelderup of Mercer Island High School. The Classified Employees of the Year are Dave Irish, school bus driver and Scott Sisk, grounds lead, Maintenance and Operations. 

Olympic Cascade Aquatics, City of Mercer Island honored for community service: Olympic Cascade Aquatics (OCA) and the City of Mercer Island, partners with the Mercer Island School District in operating the Mary Wayte Pool, were honored for community service on May 20, 2016 at the Puget Sound Educational Serviced District 121 in Renton, WA. 

OCA and the City received the Community Recognition Award from the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) at a luncheon in Renton. Accepting the award on behalf of OCA were Alice Godfred and John Walker, and Kirsten Taylor, assistant city manager, on behalf of the City of Mercer Island. Read more about this honor here

As always, I sincerely appreciate the contributions made by each one of you to support our students as they grow and learn. Have a wonderful summer break and travel safely. 

Gary Plano, Ed. D.