Reflections for the school superintendent

By Danna Diaz

School Superintendent

As I reflect on the past month, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve a generous and vibrant community. Last month, the San Juan Public Schools Foundation held its annual phone-a-thon. It was an honor to volunteer and call community members. The wonderful thing about the experience was watching students, parents, teachers, staff and principals make phone calls and celebrate with a hand clapper or noise maker with the excitement of the pledged donations. I would like to thank the SJPSF Board for their dedication to our students and teachers.

Collaboration is alive in the San Juan Island community. It is evident with our service organizations ( Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor, The Kiwanis Club, United Way, Rotary, the Lions club, etc.), our non-profits, San Juan County, the Town of Friday Harbor, EMS, San Juan Fire District, Island Rec, local businesses, faith organizations and institutions of higher learning. I have met with several members of our community and will continue to meet with you during the future months. I plan to have a community meeting to share our strategic plan and give you an update on where we are with our goals. It is important to keep you informed on the work that we are doing in the district.

Hence, I would like to share a story with you. Last year, I was consulting with Maddie Ovenell regarding the services Island Rec provides for our middle school youth. She explained how they are looking for more programming for our youth. I informed her of a grant I submitted to OSPI for Safe School Routes. The grant provided funding for bicycles, training and helmets. Once I was notified that the grant was approved, I was so excited. I consulted with our principals, as well as Kristen Rezebek of the San Juan Health and Community Services, and all were on board. I consulted with our local Trails Committee and most importantly, I consulted with Maddie and she was on board. Our middle school teachers, as well as Island Rec’s Lowell Jons, were trained on the program. Last month, Lowell and parent volunteers trained our students on bicycle safety. This past week, I met with Maddie and Lowell. We consulted about the bicycle program and how we can collaborate to offer our middle school students a cycling program after school and during the summer. This is what collaboration is about. Consultation, taking action and seeing the outcomes come alive! Thank you Island Rec! Did I tell you that we purchased the bicycles from our local bicycle shop? Yes, we did! Thank you to Paul Ahart and everyone engaged in making this initiative come alive.

November is a month to be thankful and I must say that I am full of gratitude to be able to serve each and every one of you. I wish for you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you have any questions regarding our district, you may contact me at 370-7905 or email