Opinion

A new chapter in Marysville’s story | GUEST OPINION

I came to Marysville nearly nine years ago filled with hopes and dreams as well as fears and apprehensions. I prayed for a home in Marysville, a good leadership team, and thousands of pray-ERs that would support our schools and our community. God delivered even more than I hoped for. Our leadership team works well together. Principals and teachers are making good things happen in our schools. And I love my five-minute commute. I have also discovered that God had people at work praying for Marysville long before I came.  I am so appreciative of the Marysville churches and community and staff for the way in which they embrace our schools and our students.

Together we have written a new story for Marysville. We were once known for board conflict; we now have a dedicated, hard-working board that works together as a team for student achievement. They were recently recognized by the state school board association as “Board of the Year.”

We were once known for labor strife; we now meet with each labor union monthly to resolve issues. We partner with the National Education Association (NEA) and the Marysville Education Association (MEA) in our school improvement and school turnaround work. The U.S. Department of Education has showcased our partnership at a national conference.

We were once known for going 16 years without passing a bond issue; we have now completed all of our 2006 bond issue projects on time and under budget. Grove Elementary and the Marysville Getchell High School campuses are serving our students well. Both the Marysville Getchell and Marysville Tulalip campuses continue to win state and national acclaim for the way they support student learning.

We once had a graduation rate of 50 percent; we now have eight theme-based high schools of 1,200 students or less. We know students well, appeal to their interests and passions, and have increased our graduation rate by 20 percent.

In addition, we enjoy dozens of community and professional partnerships. Tulalip Tribes has partnered with us to improve learning for Tulalip students and students district-wide. MEA has partnered with us to implement a new performance based teacher evaluation. Teachers and principals are working together to create teacher teams using student data to improve learning. The U.S. Department of Education has visited our district twice to learn what we are doing. Our teachers at Quil Ceda and Tulalip were recognized this summer as No. 2 in the nation for their teamwork and use of data to improve student learning.

It has been my joy to be a part of Marysville for the past nine years. There is certainly more to do, but I could not be more pleased with the dedication and hard work of our staff and students. Together we have accomplished much and look forward to continued success.

Much as I desire to be a part of the next chapter in Marysville’s history, we have come to a natural transition point. Many of the plans outlined above are well launched. New work lies ahead — work that will require years to plan and implement: new national standards and new national exams; new elections for technology, the replacement of Cascade Elementary and our four year operations levy; and new leadership in many district positions.  These efforts will require renewed vigor, passion and enthusiasm from school leadership, from school staff and from our community.

While part of me is eager to participate in the continued growth and success in Marysville, another part of me says that it is time to seek more balance in my life.  For nearly 45 years, my wife Kathy has honored my 24/7 passion to make a difference in student learning.  Now it is time to make a bit more time for family and for life. I do so, knowing that our great staff together with our students and our community partners will write the next successful chapter in Marysville’s story.

I plan to retire at the end of this school year. I would once again ask God for thousands of pray-ERs to join in the support of the selection of the new superintendent. It is time to open a new chapter, a new book, in Marysville’s story. Much good work lies ahead.

Larry Nyland is the Superintendent of the Marysville School District and can be reached at 360-653-0800 or via email at larry_nyland@msvl.k12.wa.us.

 

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