Nyland named superintendent of the year
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:46 AM
MARYSVILLE Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland was named the 2007 Washington State Superintendent of the Year by his peers last week.
The Olympia-based Washington Association of School Administrators cited Nylands work in revitalizing the 11,000-student district torn apart by record 49-day long teachers strike in 2003 and for breathing life into relationships between all community stakeholders.
Nyland has a knack for getting others on board with his ideas, according to a former colleague at the Highline School District, who said Nylands emphasis on reading improvement has stuck with students and staff long after he left that district.
Larry does a great job of creating staff ownership, wrote Max Silverman in nominating Nyland. Nyland was chief academic officer and human resources director at Highline.
He also served as an interim superintendent at the Shoreline School District, following in the footsteps of Joan Watt, who he pulled out of retirement to serve as an interim principal of Liberty Elementary School in Marysville. She liked it so much she signed on for another full year.
We are thrilled because we think it is a fine tribute, Watt said after the announcement, stressing that the honor reflects not just on Nylands tenure at Marysville schools but in his many other assignments.
During his short time in the Marysville system Nyland was able to identify needs and offered support for the professional development of his teachers, she said.
Hes always available, he listens, he asks great questions; I think Marysville is very fortunate to have him, Watt said.
The head of the districts teachers union seconded her comments. Arden Watson is president of the Marysville Education Association and, like Nyland, came in after former superintendent Linda Whitehead was forced out by one school board, after getting a contract extension from a previously elected panel.
I think people are proud or happy about it, Watson said.
She echoed Watts comments about Nylands willingness to listen and noted that she and other union leaders talk with him several times each month. Nyland attends a monthly labor and management meeting and Watson noted that she has face-time with him at least twice a month as well.
We definitely have had opportunities to collaborate, Watson said.
Improving communications with the certificated staff was the biggest improvement Nyland has made; whether teachers like the direction that has been taken or not, they always appreciate being in the loop. Nyland accepts input and has strengthened the professional training and development regimen, she added.
Hes been clear about where hes trying to lead the district with literacy, Watson said, who is also in her third year in her position.
Nyland was quick to spread the credit among the many staff and administrators, and said he was humbled and slightly embarrassed by the award, which was announced Nov. 17 at the associations Spokane convention.
It was a lifetime achievement. Its one of those things you dont go looking for, Nyland said. Its definitely a milestone and at the same time humbling.
He cited improved community support for approving a $118 million construction bond and a $79 million operating levy, and improvements in district test scores as possible reasons for the award.