Welcome Back to School!

  • Photo of David

    Dear Island Park Families,                                                                       

    I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope you are recharged and ready to start a new school year. I am so delighted that you are part of our amazing learning community. I welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to excellence in education, and I look forward to working with you and your children.  

    All signs point to another incredible and productive school year. Our skilled and devoted staff is already planning and preparing for your child(ren). Our enthusiastic office team is registering new families, ordering needed materials and updating student files. Our hard working and conscientious custodians have spent the entire summer thoroughly cleaning the facility. And, our much-appreciated PTA is gearing up to welcome families, provide volunteer opportunities, and offer other exciting events and programs. We are indeed a joyful and caring community with the common goals of nurturing responsible, caring students and promoting high-level learning.

    A warm welcome to new Island Park families. I look forward to meeting and working with you.  Please make a note of our new family coffee at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 12.  

    Student Placement

    A great deal of time, effort and thought has gone into the process of student placement for the 2016-2017 school year.

    Careful consideration was given to input from staff and families as well as student learning styles. Classrooms have been balanced academically and socially. Our class lists are structured to provide equitable class sizes at each grade level. We have tried hard to place familiar faces in each classroom too. Moving students is difficult without causing imbalances and inequities.

    Thank you so much for being positive with your child and helping him or her understand that it is impossible to place all students with a preferred best friend or teacher. ALL of our staff works hard to make school a positive experience for ALL students. Island Park is eagerly looking forward to enriching your child’s life. Thank you for understanding that it can take a few weeks for a child to acclimate to a new school, grade, peer group and teacher. 

    New Staff

    Each year brings positive change. As of the first week of August, additions to our staff include:

    Associate Principal:  It is a pleasure to introduce you to Lisa Deen.  Lisa will be the associate principal at both Island Park and Lakeridge.  Lisa was an instructional coach and highly capable program manager for the Bainbridge Island School District. She previously served as associate director of special education in the Lake Washington School District and as special education director and teacher in the Port Townsend School District. She received her bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University, master’s degree from Old Dominion University and administrative credential from Gonzaga University.  We are so fortunate to have Lisa at Island Park. 

    Kindergarten: Our new kindergarten teacher is Jordan Jacobsen.  Jordan comes to us via the Lake Washington School District. She brings great enthusiasm, positive energy and incredible references from those with whom she has worked.  I am confident that her skill set and love for our youngest students will enrich children’s lives.  She completes and compliments an already stellar team of kindergarten teachers. 

    Fifth Grade: Krissy Babson recently moved to the Seattle area from Chelmsford, Massachusetts (near Boston) where she taught intermediate grades for 16 years.  She is looking forward to being closer to her extended family and is excited to team with our fabulous fifth grade cohort.   Those with whom I have talked share that Krissy is a strong team player, skilled in lesson development and instruction, and, most importantly, sensitive to the emotional and developmental needs of students and families.  Welcome, Krissy!

    PLP (Personalized Learning Program): I am excited to introduce you Breanna (Bre) Gastaldi. These past two years, Bre has been a special education teacher in the Richland School District. Her prior experience also includes work as an ABA therapist in the area and a PLP para at Lakeridge. Bre arrives highly recommended.  Her passion for her students and work were eagerly shared from those who know and have worked with her. We are very excited to welcome Bre to our learning community. 

    Resource RoomHeidi Conradt is Island Park’s new resource room teacher. Heidi was the PLP teacher at Lakeridge and arrives with great recommendations. She brings a strong skill set with her that will greatly benefit her students. We are so pleased that Heidi is part of our instructional team.     

    Fourth Grade: Welcome, Ahisha Avant.  Ahisha recently completed work as a long-term substitute teacher and para-professional at Lakeridge elementary school. Ahisha has a uniquely varied work history, from having served in the military as an Air Force Intelligence Analyst to teaching third grade in Georgia. We are very excited to have Ahisha join skilled fourth grade colleagues Meaghan Williams and Jacqueline Ney.

    SpanishKarla Diaz-Parga arrives to Mercer Island via Texas where she earned her teaching certificate.  Her work includes teaching in a dual language classroom where she established a reputation as a caring, warm, resourceful, adaptive and highly professional educator.  We are thrilled to have Karla at Island Park and look forward working with her as she helps launch our new K-5 Spanish curriculum.  

    Additional new staff: 

    Rebecca Decou (Speech Language Pathologist)

    Dominique Gobran (School Psychologist)

    Annie Smith (Occupational Therapist)

    Current Classroom Teacher Roster  (2016-2017) 

    Lori deStowlinski 
    Jordan Jacobsen 
    Nina Kitchen     
    First Grade
    Sharon Jarnigan 
    Beth Nielsen 
    Shelley Wangen 
    Second Grade
    Ashley Bossie
    Samantha Moseley
    Kelly Rorem/Diana Low
    Third Grade
    Meredith Carlson 
    Stephanie John-Lewis 
    Cheryl Sandstrom 
    Fourth Grade
    Ahisha Avant
    Jacqueline Ney
    Meaghan Williams 
    Fifth Grade
    Krissy Babson
    Sally Loeser
    Kerida Millison

    A Few Facilities Reminders

    Painted lines near the student drop-off area clearly delineate student-walking areas from carpool lanes.  The diagonal stripes painted across the front sidewalk serve to remind students to stay clear of the parking lot curb as cars pull up for drop off or pick up.  Thank you for reminding your children to walk only portions of sidewalk that do not have stripes.

    Thank you for checking in at the office when visiting Island Park.  Volunteers and visitors will be issued a badge, which must be worn while at school. 

    Thank you to all who are helping prepare for the new school year. Your commitment to insuring that Island Park remains a celebrated and successful school is awe-inspiring. I eagerly look forward to greeting students and families again. It remains an honor and privilege to serve as your principal.  Please stop by and say hello. Together, I know we will make this school year one of growth and achievement for all children.

    Warmest Regards,           

    David Hoffman, Principal
    Island Park Elementary