Capitol Hill Community Post | Denise Juneau, Seattle School Board sign superintendent contract

From Seattle Public Schools

Starting July 1, Denise Juneau will become the next superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. The seven-member school board voted tonight to approve the contract it negotiated with Ms. Juneau since announcing her as their preferred candidate on April 4.

“We are thrilled to welcome Denise Juneau to Seattle,” said Leslie Harris, school board president. “She impressed us above all others with her broad experience and commitment to improving student outcomes. She successfully brought together staff and the community to increase graduation rates, including students in great need. Seattle is ready for Ms. Juneau’s academic vision, steady leadership, emphasis on closing the opportunity gaps – especially for our students of color – and preparing our students for all the fast-changing opportunities ahead of them.”


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A lifelong Montana resident who headed the state’s Office of Public Instruction for eight years, Ms. Juneau is excited for the challenge of leading an urban school district.

“I am pleased and honored to be selected to serve the students, families and staff of Seattle Public Schools,” Ms. Juneau said. “I believe that public education is vital to healthy communities and our democracy. Seattle Public Schools is doing many things really well, and I look forward to building on that success. In my first few months, I plan to listen to and learn from many different voices as I work with the School Board to shape a vision for the district’s future.”

The contract with Ms. Juneau is for three years and includes the possibility of annual extensions, a performance bonus and a five-year retention bonus. Director Harris and other board members have frequently spoken about finding a superintendent who will commit to a long-term tenure with the district. Seattle’s current superintendent, Dr. Larry Nyland, came to the district in 2014 to help the district through a transition period.

“Extreme credit to Dr. Nyland for coming out of retirement to help the district when we needed it,” Director Harris said. “He provided stability at the district level, support for educators and school leaders and a belief that every student can succeed. Under his leadership, the district committed to aligning and focusing our goals, racial and educational equity, and as a result, we have seen a number of gains for our students.”

Dr. Nyland plans to work until June 30, and support Ms. Juneau as she transitions into the role.

“I am honored to pass the baton to Denise Juneau to continue this work,” said Dr. Nyland. “Ms. Juneau has a track record of working on behalf of all students with an emphasis on building supports for students historically underserved. I am confident the great work of our staff will continue and be amplified under Ms. Juneau’s leadership. Her success is dependent on each of us and our students are counting on us.”

While Ms. Juneau’s official start date is July 1, she plans several learning visits to Seattle before then to prepare for her new role.

Ms. Juneau will be the 22nd superintendent for Seattle Public Schools since the position was first selected in 1881. View a list of school board directors and superintendents here.

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