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Updates from Leschi Elementary

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Leschi Elementary students began classes on September 4 following the remote learning model. In these challenging times, we are doing our best to welcome new families, foster connections between students and teachers and among families, and focus on the need for equitable education for all students. Our PTA continues to work with the school’s family support team to provide food, rent, and utility assistance for families in need as the covid-19 economic crisis continues. We welcome donations and would like to thank our community partners, including Bluwater Bistro, Meet the Moon, Leschi Community Council and Leschi Market, for their unwavering support.

We wish the very best to Principal Lisa Moland, who has been and will always remain an important part of our school community. A group of parents, staff and community members continues their advocacy to demand transparency and accountability from SPS following Ms. Moland’s dismissal last spring, especially in light of standing policies on racial equity and family engagement.

At the same time, we welcome the new members of our school’s leadership team, all of whom have been working very hard in these extraordinary times to connect with families and give every Leschi student access to a high-quality education.

Principal: Stephen Liu

I am excited to introduce myself as the new principal of Leschi Elementary and I am honored to join the work that Leschi is doing to support each and every student as they learn and grow. As a resident of the Central District, I am proud of our neighborhood and community members, and I am committed to working and collaborating with you to create a positive impact on students, families, and staff. Leschi Elementary has a rich school history and I know that, together, we will continue to build on the important work of the school and to make improvements to better serve our students, especially those furthest from educational justice.

I know that transitions and having changes in leadership has an impact on students and the community and I look forward to navigating this change with you. I am eager to listen and learn from our students, families, and staff while also learning about Leschi and the success the school has had and the ways that we can partner to improve the areas that need to be better. I will be sending out more information and details about this process for you to share your stories with me. Schools can’t do it alone and a strong partnership with the community is vital for the success of our students.

As an educator and leader, I am focused on the health, safety, and well-being of our students so they can learn, grow, and reach their highest potential. That starts with a positive school culture where students, staff, and families are happy and excited to be at school. During my career as an educator, I have focused on the positive culture needed in the classroom and school since we know that students, and adults, learn best when they feel positive and safe. I taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grades in the Seattle Public Schools and the Northshore School District and I also served as an assistant principal at Fernwood Elementary in the Northshore School District for three years. For the past three years, I have been the principal at Wedgwood Elementary in the Seattle Public Schools, and I have learned a great deal through experiences, mistakes, and successes. During my time at Wedgwood, I worked with the staff and community to align the teaching and services for supporting students who were struggling, academically, socially, and emotionally.

My spouse, Rainy, and I have two children, Alakai (age 7) and Ira (age 4) and we enjoy playing games, spending time at the park, and connecting with friends and neighbors. Alakai is a 2nd grader at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, which is our neighborhood school, and Ira attends a local pre-school. As a parent, I know the joys and challenges of parenting and that every parent wants what is best for their child(ren). As a community member, I will work diligently on issues of equity and social justice that impact our students, families, staff, and community.

Head Teacher: Letta Mason

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!” I am Letta (Steward) Mason, I truly believe that it takes a village with a social justice foundation to raise a child holistically in today’s world. I am a wife, a mother of four and grandmother of 6 beautiful human beings. I have been involved in the private and public education sector for over 27 years in many facets. Eight years of my career was spent as the Head Resource Teacher in a K-8 School.

I completed my undergraduate and graduate work at Pacific Oaks Northwest College, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Developmental Education and Human Development, Teacher’s Certification with endorsements in ELL, Elementary Education, ELA, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Visual Arts, and Mathematics. A MA in Human Development with Emphasis in Bi-Cultural Studies. As a believer in lifelong learning I returned to the institution of higher learning and received a M.Ed. and certifications in Instructional Leader and Program Management from City University of Bellevue.

I received the Jocelyn Myers Child Advocate Award in 2000, Phillip Swain Teacher of the Year Award in 2010 and Kent Elementary Teacher of the Year Award in 2017. As a coach through the Kennedy Center I implemented and coached teachers on integrated culturally centered curriculum with the arts as the foundation. I am happy to be returning to the District I consider home, Seattle School District! It is an honor to be a part of a rich, diverse community who values equity, trusting relationships and education for all.

Assistant Principal: Barbara Dixon

I am very excited to be joining the team at Leschi. My husband and I have raised 5 children here in Seattle and now we have 5 beautiful grandchildren.

I have been employed in the district for 20 years. I attended Seattle Central Community college, receiving my AA in Early Childhood education. I worked on the Black Child Development campaign collecting data in the 80’s and began working at Happy Medium, which is now Giddens. While there I attended some classes at Pacific Oaks college. I volunteered at MLK elementary school as a tutor, then became a Sped IA and worked until 2004 when I received my bachelor’s degree and teaching certification from Antioch University. I received my master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

In my journey at SPS I have worked at Martin Luther King Elementary, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, African American Academy, Lawton Elementary, and currently at North Beach in addition to Leschi. I look forward to meeting you!

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~Benson Wilder


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