Port Townsend School Board fills District 2 position

Appointee will serve through end of year

Simon Little is the new Port Townsend School Board Director for District 2. The board on June 1 selected Little to fill the position after Jeffrey Taylor resigned in March. (Port Townsend School District)

Simon Little is the new Port Townsend School Board Director for District 2. The board on June 1 selected Little to fill the position after Jeffrey Taylor resigned in March. (Port Townsend School District)

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend School Board has appointed Simon Little to fill out the remainder of Jeffrey Taylor’s term as District 2 board member through the end of 2023.

Little, the owner of the design firm StudioSTL, will be sworn in at the board’s June 22 meeting.

At its Thursday meeting, the board interviewed three applicants for the position, which will be an open seat in the fall election. They were Simon, Annie Bartos and Toby Paterson.

Simon and Bartos had already filed with Jefferson County to become candidates for the District 2 spot.

“The board is filling the seat, but the public will ultimately choose the next member,” said Nathanael O’Hara, who has filed for re-election for one of two at-large director positions.

Taylor submitted his resignation to the board March 28.

Blue Heron Middle School Principal Victoria Kalscheue presented to the board the recommendation from the Instructional Materials Material Committee that the district adopt the Inquiry by Design’s reading and writing instruction materials for sixth- to eighth-graders.

Kalscheue said the committee liked the flexibility of Inquiry by Design, the level of support is provided to teachers and the richness of the reading material.

“Students write every day and there’s a focus on critical thinking and comprehension,” Kalscheue said. “The instructional resources can be customized, so it’s applicable to special education and different grades and reading levels.”

The cost over six years would be $87,000, Kalscheue said.

Superintendent Linda Rosenbury said other districts in the state, including Federal Way and Renton, had adopted Inquiry by Design.

“I feel confident in supporting the recommendation of the materials review committee,” Rosenbury said. “Others have had good things to say about it.”

Rosenbury said the community and families would have an opportunity to weigh in on the Inquiry by Design curriculum before the board voted on adopting it.

The board learned of the findings of a Washington Association of School Administrators management and operational review, which Rosenbury had requested to assist the district in financial and staffing decision making in light of decreased state and federal funding.

Consultants Larry Nyland and Lance Gibbon interviewed staff, examined district documents and compared Port Townsend to seven similarly sized districts in the state to identify its strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations.

“We did not find any glaring issues,” Gibbon said.

Among the areas the consultants identified as needing improvement were supporting staff who often felt overwhelmed with work and tackling urgent facility needs by addressing short-term demands. Developing a long-term plan for building replacement was also critical.

Among their recommendations were to develop a plan for leadership and staff succession that would better prepare employees for turnover and lessen any negative impact on students.

“The challenges are doable and it’s a good way to move forward,” Nyland said.

Other news from the meeting:

• The school district is seeking individuals interested in helping determine the future of the vacant Lincoln Building on the high school campus. The committee will start meeting in October with the goal of presenting to the board in spring 2024 options and recommendations for its repurposing.

Tasks will include leading focus groups, hosting community forums and studying adaptive reuse of old school buildings.

Those interested in serving on the committee should contact LaTrecia Arthur at larthur@ptschools.org or 360-379-4501.

• Port Townsend High School student Sabina Funaro’s black-and-white photograph “Someday” was the regional winner in the recent Olympic Educational Service District 114 Annual Regional High School Art Show.

Funaro took the photograph of the bridge by the Devil’s Punchbowl at Lake Crescent while on a camping trip.

Aaron Leavell, superintendent of OESD Service District 114, presented Funaro with the award.

OESD encompasses school districts in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap and North Mason counties.

Funaro’s photograph can be found at tinyurl.com/er2hrjtn.


Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@soundpublishing.com.

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