Hi BSD Community,
As we approach the last two months of the school year, and as I get closer to beginning my tenure as superintendent here in the Bellevue School District, I’ve been thinking a lot about our community. What we have is so remarkable — the students, the staff, the families, the relationships, the support in the broader community, the vast academic and enriching programs. I wish you all could see what I get to see every day. It’s for this reason that I’m going to kick off a Superintendent Blog, so that I can write directly to you and share with you everything that I get to witness as the “head cheerleader” for our district.
I can’t think of a better week to kick off this blog than Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week. One of the reasons I’m so excited about being the superintendent in Bellevue is because of the staff I get to champion and support every single day. We have some of the greatest, most innovative, equitable, caring, inspiring staff right here in our district. We have special education teachers like Jennifer Strehle who leads the Evergreen Transition Program, helping young adults with disabilities transition from school to internships to fulfilling careers. We have high school teachers like Randy Litzenberger at Bellevue who inspires students to take action to protect our environment. We have middle school teachers like Freedom Johnson at Highland who not only prepares kids for high school, but also mentors teachers of color across the district. We have elementary school teachers like Alisha Singh at Newport Heights who started teaching with me 23 years ago and is still inspiring kids to read, write and love learning. We have preschool teachers like Brenda Mandujano at Lake Hills who helps our youngest kids experience pure joy in learning from their very first day of school. And we have nurses like Rocio Del Pilar Dechartre at Stevenson who helped support the school through the pandemic, organizes vision and dental clinics for kids, and ensures every student is healthy and ready to learn. These are just a few examples, but they represent the highest caliber of professionals our industry has to offer.
This week, join me in taking time to reach out to our kids’ teachers and nurses and let them know how much we love them and appreciate them. If there isn’t anything else that we learned from going through a global pandemic together, it’s how poorly most of us can teach our own kids — and conversely, how much we depend on highly passionate and skilled teachers and nurses to provide our kids with opportunities to thrive now and in the future.
The poet, Mary Oliver, has a poem entitled, “Instructions on Living a Life.” It goes like this: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell About it. That’s what I’m going to strive to do in this blog for you. Pay attention to our amazing kids and staff. Be astonished by what we see. And tell about it to anyone who will listen. So, happy first Superintendent Blog. And to our awesome teaching and nursing staff: Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. Happy National Nurses Week.
Dr. Kelly Aramaki
Head Cheerleader & Incoming Superintendent
Bellevue School District