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    School Leaders Recognized for Closing Opportunity Gaps
    Posted on 11/15/2018

    School Leaders Recognized for Closing Opportunity Gaps

    In collaboration with the Alliance for Education, Seattle Public Schools has announced three school leaders have received the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence. This prestigious award for Seattle Public Schools school leaders showcases individuals who have demonstrated significant achievements in closing opportunity gaps in their school communities.

    Thomas B. Foster was a prominent Seattle attorney who exemplified excellence in both his professional life and his role as a civic leader. To honor his legacy, his family and friends established the annual award in 2000 to recognize outstanding school principals in Seattle. The Foster Endowment Committee and district staff work together to select winners based on community nominations and school-related data.

    To celebrate and honor their accomplishments, principals received a surprise visit from representatives from the Alliance for Education, Seattle Public Schools administrators, their peers, families, and friends. The respective schools received a $25,000 grant in recognition of their school leaders’ achievements.

    Please join Seattle Public Schools in congratulating the following school leaders:

    Rena Deese holds the award check with look of surprise during assemblyPrincipal Rena Deese of Alki Elementary School

    Deese has spent the last 10 years working in Seattle Public Schools, beginning her career at the former T.T. Minor Elementary, then Leschi Elementary. The Alki school community works collaboratively to ensure that every student achieves academically, socially, and emotionally. For the second consecutive year, Alki has made the statewide list of “Schools of Distinction,” based on five years of improvement in math and English language arts.

    Anitra Pinch-Back Jones holds oversized check while smiling at awards assemblyPrincipal Anitra Pinch-Back Jones of Rainier View Elementary

    One of the most diverse schools in Washington state, Rainier View Elementary leads in school attendance and has placed in the top five percent in raising academic achievement in reading and math over the last five years. The school has excelled in college and career readiness under the leadership of Pinchback-Jones and the Rainier View staff. The Puget Sound Educational Service District awarded Rainier View with the “School of Distinction” award in 2016, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recognized the school with the “Washington Achievement Award.”

    Chris Carter smiles while placing his hand on the shoulder of a young man and standing next to a young boy while holding a big check from the award.Principal Chris Carter of Asa Mercer International Middle School

    Mercer Middle, a six-time “School of Distinction” winner, has overcome declining enrollment and low-test results under the leadership of Principal Carter since 2014. Mercer Middle’s school population is diverse, and many students have been impacted by poverty. Last year, Mercer students passed state tests at a higher rate than the district average and have had impressive year-over-year growth rates in student achievement over the last three years.

    Historically, the Foster Award, administered by the Alliance for Education, was offered only once a year to secondary-level principals in Seattle Public Schools. Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, the Award’s focus is on principals closing opportunity gaps in their school communities and has expanded to be available to K-12 school leaders. Four Foster Awards will be presented this year; Principal Chris Carter’s was the third, following an award to Principal Anitra Pinchback-Jones at Rainier View Elementary, and another to Principal Rena Deese at Alki Elementary.