Farewell from school superintendent | Guest Column

Submitted by Danna Diaz

San Juan Island School District Superintendent

(Editor’s note: Diaz resigned as superintendent in May.)

I am proud of my time in San Juan Island, and there’s no one single accomplishment I can point to, because there are so many. Our student successes are too numerous to count. From state honors with the Wolverine band and our sports accomplishments, we have so much to be proud of.

Today I learned that Friday Harbor High School junior Thea Seitz will be this year’s Friday Harbor Lab’s “young investigator.” She will be working in a paid internship with director Billie Swalla doing genetic research. FHHS junior Joseph Kaden will be working with Kwiaht Director Russel Barsh doing environmental research this summer. Clarissa Felix and Rachel Snow will be participating this summer in the Salish Sea Sciences program. In addition to STEM instruction, particularly in biology, ecology and marine science, Salish Sea Sciences is about career pathways for students who share a passion for science and want to connect with their peers from off island, across the country and around the world. The high school had 217 participants throughout the 14 sports activities that we offer.

• Fourteen teams were recognized by the WIAA for academic excellence.

• Three teams won league titles: boys basketball in the winter, baseball and fastpitch in the spring.

• Three teams won district titles: girls soccer in the fall, boys basketball in the winter, and fastpitch in the spring.

• Six teams participated at the state level for their sport: girls soccer and football in the fall; boys basketball in the winter; and fastpitch and boys and girls track in the spring.

Through the accomplishments, accolades and celebrations, I am most proud of moments. Moments like when I went to Friday Harbor Elementary school this week and students were excited about their STEM experiments. Another moment was in the middle school observing the Egypt Fair and the sixth-grade students were proud of their research and projects. Our literacy program in the elementary school has taken off, and all students are benefiting. A moment I treasure is stepping into the special education class at Friday Harbor High School.

The priceless moments are endless, but one I am most proud of was on April 26 when I found out the Educational Programs and Operations Levy passed. How wonderful to know that we will continue to offer programs to our students. To be a part of the process and work along such an outstanding board and hardworking staff has meant everything to me. One moment I am looking forward to is watching our seniors walk across the stage, graduating with not only a diploma, but with choices and opportunities. This community cares about education, and I will always care about San Juan Island. Thank you for the opportunity to serve; it’s been an absolute privilege.