Dozens of school officials, community leaders and parents welcomed new superintendent Jose Banda to Seattle last night at a reception hosted by El Centro de la Raza.
Some 300 people attended the free event, which included speeches and food from around the world.
But the main attraction was Banda, who starts in Seattle this week after four years leading the Anaheim (Calif.) City School District.
“I feel like I’ve been here in Seattle for a long time already,” said Banda, who arrived about 36 hours earlier. “I look forward to being here for many years, working hard on your behalf, on your children’s behalf.”
We asked event attendees what Banda needs to know about Seattle:
Lina Brown, president of Rainier Beach High School PTA: “Parents are begging for change…I would like for Superintendent Banda to come in and bring an ability to think outside the box — everything is possible here.”
Phyllis Campano, vice president of Seattle teachers union: “Welcome to Seattle…it rains a lot.”
Jacque Coe, Seattle parent and spokeswoman for Bellevue School District: “Being a superintendent in Seattle is an intensely difficult job. He needs to understand that we’re a welcoming community.”
Michael DeBell, president of Seattle School Board: “Stay focused on the kids, and get to know the community.”
Terri Johnston, parent volunteer at Seattle World School: “Listen to the schools that don’t have a voice, that don’t have the strongest parent engagement.”
Mike McGinn, mayor of Seattle: “Welcome to Seattle. We want to have a collaborative relationship…It’s very important to listen carefully to everybody.”
Sara Morris, CEO of Alliance for Education: “High expectations, drive hard.”
Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza: “I want him to get out in the community and meet people, meet organizations, meet parents, because they’re the ones that are going to help him.”
Robin Swanhuyser, recent Seattle University graduate: “Listen to the community’s needs…Remember your history.”