Dear Bellevue Families and Staff,

For many of us, the December holidays bring special rituals and festivities rooted in traditions old and new. Talking with our students, families, and staff about their plans for the winter break, I am reminded of the richness of cultural diversity in our community. While common themes, such as family, friends, gratitude, and giving unite us, each of our celebrations is unique—a reminder of where we come from and a way to honor who we are and what we value. In the Bellevue School District, we believe that celebrations of who we are should extend far beyond the holiday season. We are committed to affirming and celebrating the individuality of our students throughout the year.

One of the best ways we can honor our students is by investing in recruiting, supporting, and retaining exceptional staff. We believe diverse and highly skilled staff are critical to the success and well-being of our students. From our bus drivers, who are often the first to greet our students in the morning, to our 1,500 educators in 29 buildings, to the hundreds of staff who ensure that our students get the services they need throughout the day—we are committed to ensuring that each and every staff member is appropriately certified, qualified, and happy.

Our staff must feel supported, respected, and valued for the work they do to serve students, not just around the holidays or at certain points in the year, but every day.  We understand how much our staff gives on a daily basis, and that our work can be incredibly challenging. To this end, we are establishing a comprehensive staff-recognition program that includes formal recognition of and support for staff members’ professional quality of life.

Bellevue’s exceptional staff have always been its trademark and are critical to its success and standing as a national model of educational excellence. Now, as we move toward our district vision—to affirm and inspire each and every student to learn and thrive as creators of their future world—and work to retain and recognize our exceptional staff, we are also expanding our focus. Our goal is to recruit and retain a diverse workforce that enhances and enriches our district’s culture.

During my school visits this year, students have talked with me about how much it means to them to have a teacher who looks like they do. At this year’s Breaking Out Of the Margins (BOOM) event, more than 300 of our students in grades 7-12 had the opportunity to hear from and engage with speakers who racially identify like them. Providing diverse role models for students and expanding opportunities for them to learn from teachers who have different backgrounds and experiences is critical to achieving our vision and honoring and responding to the racial, linguistic, ability, and cultural diversity of our students.

As we look toward 2019, I am especially excited about our many efforts to recruit, support, and retain exceptional staff throughout our organization. This starts with the Bellevue School District Job Fair on Saturday, February 2. Please visit for more information and share the event with family and friends interested in supporting an equitable and exceptional education for all students in the Bellevue community.

Happy holidays from our Bellevue family to yours.

In partnership,

Ivan Duran

Message for Families: Spanish (PDF) / Simplified Chinese (PDF)