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Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Larry Nyland

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December 31, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Some education news to watch for in the upcoming year

As the final days of 2014 tick by, here are five of the education stories we plan to keep an eye on in 2015:

From left, Kelsey McCleary, 20, mother and plaintiff Stephanie McCleary, and son Carter McCleary, 15. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

From left, Kelsey McCleary, 20, mother and plaintiff Stephanie McCleary, and son Carter McCleary, 15. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

1. More money for schools

Lawmakers in Olympia will wrestle this session with how to meet a court order to give more state dollars to public schools and pay for a sweeping class size initiative that voters approved in the November election. Some lawmakers say they’re ready to send Initiative 1351 back to voters with a price tag and a proposal for how to pay for it.

But lawmakers will have a tough time dodging the state Supreme Court’s unanimous September decision to hold the Legislature in contempt for failing to ramp up public school spending quickly enough, which the court ordered back in 2012. The court gave lawmakers until the day after the session to come up with a plan to increase school spending to the required levels or convince justices they shouldn’t issue sanctions.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: 2015, Initiative 1351, Larry Nyland

December 12, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: What should top Nyland’s to-do list for Seattle schools?

Larry Nyland

Larry Nyland

If there’s one thing Larry Nyland has, it’s experience.

The new leader of Seattle Public Schools, offered the permanent job on Wednesday, started his first superintendency in 1982, in Pasco. He’s also held administrative positions in Alaska, Shoreline and Highline, before becoming Marysville superintendent in 2004.

Seattle School Board member Sharon Peaslee said Nyland’s ability to lead districts through tough times is one of the key reasons she recommended the board extend his contract through June 2017. The motion was approved with a 5-2 vote on Wednesday.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools, your voices

December 10, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Larry Nyland approved as new leader of Seattle Public Schools

Principal Aida Fraser-Hammer, left, and interim Seattle schools Superintendent Larry Nyland talk with Delfino Muno, of Proyecto Saber, a Latino education and cultural support program, at Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle last week. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

Larry Nyland, right, speaks with administrators at Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle last week. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

Editor’s note: Go here for an updated version of this story.

Larry Nyland became the latest schools chief to take the reins of Seattle’s school district Wednesday, following a 5-2 vote of the Seattle School Board at a special meeting.

Nyland, a Seattle native who ran school districts in Marysville and Pasco before retiring in 2013, has led the district since August as an interim replacement for former Superintendent José Banda. Banda left Seattle to take a job with the Sacramento Unified School District.

The Seattle School Board initially thought it would do a national search for a new leader, but changed course in late November. The day before Thanksgiving, Board President Sharon Peaslee placed a motion on the board’s agenda for the following week that recommended hiring Nyland permanently.

Peaslee and other board members have said they think Nyland’s background of righting districts in turmoil makes him a good fit for Seattle.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools

December 10, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Seattle’s special education leader resigns after months of leave

Seattle Public Schools’ executive director for special education, who has been on paid leave since early August, has resigned for personal reasons, district officials announced Wednesday.

Zakiyyah McWilliams was placed on administrative leave in August amid a district investigation into the hiring of a special education consultant this past spring. Though a spokeswoman at the time said the review would take a few weeks, the district granted McWilliams medical leave on Sept. 10, effectively extending her absence. Spokeswoman Stacy Howard said Wednesday the district’s investigation into the consultant process is now complete, but the district has yet to provide any details.

Wyeth Jessee, who has been heading the district’s special education division in McWilliams’ absence, will take over the department full-time, the district said in a letter to parents. He will become the ninth person to hold the district’s top special education job in 10 years.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools, special education

December 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Seattle School Board to consider one-year extension for schools chief

Two Seattle School Board members today announced that they would like to extend interim Superintendent Larry Nyland’s contract by one year instead of two.

Board President Sharon Peaslee previously suggested forgoing a search to replace former Superintendent Jose Banda, and simply extend Nyland’s contract at least through June 2017. That idea has been criticized by some parents and activists who objected to the fact that Peaslee’s proposal, made public the day before Thanksgiving, didn’t give the public enough time to weigh in.

Peaslee first proposed a vote for Wednesday’s board meeting, but then delayed it for a week — until Dec. 10 — to allow more public comment.

Now the board will discuss that proposal, as well as an amendment filed Wednesday by board members Sue Peters and Betty Patu. Even with the delay, they said Peaslee’s proposal does not fulfill the intent of the board’s policies on community engagement, which call for meaningful family involvement and transparent communication. They say their amendment is a compromise that would give the district stable leadership as well as a chance for more public input.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools, Superintendent

December 1, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Seattle School Board delays superintendent vote

Larry Nyland The Seattle School Board announced Monday that it will delay a vote on whether to appoint interim schools chief Larry Nyland as full superintendent, saying it wants to allow the public time to weigh in. The board’s president, Sharon Peaslee, had previously scheduled a vote for Wednesday on whether to give Nyland the job,…

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November 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

In 100 days, hopes for better communication in Seattle schools

In both of his state-of-the-district addresses last week — one hosted by the Alliance for Education and an encore speech at Seattle Public Schools headquarters — interim Superintendent Larry Nyland mostly talked in general terms about the problems and progress in the city’s public schools.

But he mentioned one new, specific initiative – a 100-day plan for improving communication between the district and parents, as well as between central office employees and the teachers, principals and others staff who work in schools.

We caught up with Nyland a few days later to ask him what the 100-day plan will include.

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Comments | Topics: communication, Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools