Dear Bellevue School District staff, families, and community:
It has been a privilege to serve as Superintendent of the Bellevue School District for the past four years. I am the product of a public education, a first generation college graduate, and the father of two young sons. As a result, I know first-hand the life-changing difference a strong education and a caring adult can make in an individual’s life. I understand the power of education.
As I write this letter, our district is completing this school year in a much stronger place than when we started and continues to focus its efforts on a full reopening this fall. I am impressed by the many contributions made by our community of students, families, educators, staff, and partners during this very difficult period for all of us.
Actually, to say this past year has been difficult is an understatement. The 2020-2021 school year has been the most difficult in my 31 years as a public school teacher, principal, district leader, and superintendent. But, it has also been a tremendous source of inspiration and joy considering the many things we have been able to achieve as an educational community. It has been an honor to serve BSD and work closely with an amazing leadership team, educators of the highest quality, and dedicated staff to make sure our students stayed connected, had the resources they needed, and continued to learn and grow during a global pandemic.
I am proud of all the work we have accomplished at BSD despite the many hurdles we had to face. During this very disruptive year, I often reflected on the words of James Kouzes from The Leadership Challenge: “Change is the province of leaders. It is the work of leaders to inspire people to do things differently, to struggle against uncertain odds, and to persevere toward a misty image of a better future.” With this sentiment in mind, I have made the difficult decision to leave the position of Superintendent of Bellevue School District effective June 30, 2021. As I make way for a new superintendent to welcome our students back to full in-person learning this fall, I extend my very best wishes and offer my full support to that new leader.
Personally, I plan to spend a lot more time this summer with my wife Kelly and our two young sons before moving forward with my next professional steps. Kelly and I love the Pacific Northwest and plan to continue our efforts and commitment to achieve education excellence and equity in the region.
When I joined BSD as superintendent four years ago, I was very impressed with this community and the BSD team. I remain in awe of the leadership, the creativity, and the passion for educating students here in Bellevue. I am proud of the work we have accomplished together including the creation of an Equity Advisory Group and the passage of our Equity and Accountability Policy, increasing support for mental health by adding counselors to elementary and secondary schools, and passing one of the largest capital bond measures in BSD’s history to build for the future. Additionally, we saw increases in the number of students completing “dual credit” courses eligible for college credit, as well as rising graduation rates.
This past year presented our school district with unprecedented challenges. I am proud of how our community faced these challenges and am grateful to have worked alongside so many who are deeply committed to helping young people. In addition to our focus on education, when schools closed in March 2020, we made sure our students had meals, technology and resources to learn. We worked with community partners to bring COVID vaccines to our staff. We rose to the challenge together.
Education at its core is about looking forward and creating equitable opportunities for all students. I know BSD will be in good hands and am optimistic about the opportunities ahead for our students and their schools.
We all have a duty to work together to serve our students. Thank you all for partnering with me during these past four years on behalf of our wonderful students, parents, educators, staff, and community.
Dr. Ivan Duran