With the new school year comes a new interim superintendent for the San Juan Island School District.
Kari McVeigh came out of her roughly four-year retirement to work with the island’s only public school district through next June, after the district’s former superintendent resigned last May. McVeigh has worked in public education for over 40 years, including as a teacher, principal and superintendent across the country, from Boston to Southern California.
The Journal called McVeigh to talk about the upcoming school year.
Q: Why did you apply to be the interim superintendent of the San Juan Island School District?
A: The reason I applied was because I live here in this community. I have lived here for over two years now and have been involved with the schools and think it’s a fabulous school district, and I wanted to see it thrive.
Q: What are you most looking forward to during this upcoming school year?
A: Working with staff, helping people to feel good about being in the school district [and] … helping to move the district along; seeing where we are and moving it forward.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges for the district?
A: We have a district that has some fluctuation in enrollment from one year to the next … and when you have fluctuations in enrollment, it means you have fluctuations in income [from the state]. One of the biggest challenges for the district is being able to make sure that we have a balanced budget and that we do the work with the budget to make sure we have the right programs in place, but also that we live within our means.
Q: What is one of the biggest successes of the district?
A: Without any hesitation, the biggest success of the district is the staff; the way they interact with students, the kinds of performance that they get out of students; the way that our classified staff support and help maintain such positive learning environments, these are the biggest successes of this district. It really is all about the people. And the other piece of that, that’s equally as important, is the staff within the school district, but it’s also the community support. So those two pieces, of having staff that goes above and beyond for kids every day … and … a community that says what goes on in schools is important, and we’re going to support it. And they support it in all sorts of ways, … financially, emotionally, … volunteer support – every kind of support that a community could have, we have in …. this little school district. It’s really quite phenomenal.