New Lakewood schools leader is all about transparency

LAKEWOOD – With its new high school, the Lakewood School District is better off than most locally. “Nothing in Lakewood needs to be fixed,” new superintendent Scott Peacock said recently with a smile.

He’s only halfway kidding. It is in really good shape, for now.

But growth is coming, and Peacock is concerned about that.

“Middle school is busting at the seams,” he said, adding in the first week of the school year they have a few more students districtwide than expected, but not enough to add a teacher or portable.

Peacock realizes that at Lakewood particularly schools are the center of the community. That is why he is inviting everyone to his first Lakewood Community Cafe Oct. 9 at 6:30 at the LHS commons.

He plans to ask participants:

•What makes Lakewood a unique place to live and learn?

•What opportunities and challenges define our community’s future?

•How can Lakewood schools shape this future with students and with the community?

Snacks and beverages will be provided; RSVP at 360-652-4500.

Peacock wants the input because the district plans to try to pass a levy this winter and also for its strategic plan.

He said transparency is important.

“They want to know what’s going on,” he said of the community, “but they need to be a part of it.”

Peacock said he wants to create opportunities for public input because school board meetings may not be the best place for that.

“You can’t really dig in and talk to one another,” he said. “When it comes to ideas, concerns or questions I’m all ears.”

Along with the cafe, Peacock is having weekly meetings in the morning Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 at the local I-Hop, and Monday evenings from 5-6 at the Paddle Pub Restaurant at Lake Goodwin. “I want to be accessible,” he said, adding he grew up in upstate New York where “people talk to people.”

As for programs already started, Peacock said he’s excited about the two new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math labs being built at the middle school.

“We’re preparing kids for a world that doesn’t exist yet,” he said.

One thing he wants to work on is a facilities plan for the community to use the upscale LHS fields.

“The facilities belong to the community,” he said, adding the detailed plan must “work for you and work for us.”

Some type of maintenance fee probably would be needed to make sure the fields are kept up. But they can’t be too high or else the community wouldn’t be able to afford to use them.

“We have to wrestle with this. We want to be good stewards of our resources,” he said.

The district had a design for a new administration building. Those plans have already been cut back, but Peacock has no problem with that decision.

“The board wanted the money to stay closest to kids in the classroom,” he said.

But the current set up won’t work in the long term, he said, because district leaders can’t collaborate under one roof. “It’s not efficient,” he said.

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