Posts Tagged ‘school board’

Damian Greene

Damian Greene, the lone conservative voice on the South Whidbey School Board, is resigning after a decade of service.

In a letter to the Board of Directors, he indicated his resignation is effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Greene, whose family came to Island County in 1965, was elected to the school board three times.

His run included being part of the board when it earned Washington State’s Distinguished Board award in 2016.

Earlier this year, Greene threatened to take legal action against a South Whidbey youth activism organization after a Facebook post alleged he and his wife, Maureen, could be involved in the theft of a Black Lives Matter banner from South Whidbey High School.

Both Greenes denied any involvement.

While Damian Greene consulted with a lawyer, no libel suit has been filed.

The 2021 election cemented his position as the lone conservative voice on the board.

Three challengers — Dawn Tarantino, Farrah Manning-Davis, and Bree Kramer-Nelson — all of whom publicly identify as conservatives, ran as a united group, but lost their races.

Incumbents Andrea Downs, Marnie Jackson, and Ann Johnson each pulled in between 68.21 and 69.78% of the votes.


Greene’s resignation letter:


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Mary Milnes is the new Student Rep for the Coupeville School Board. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mary Milnes has another impressive achievement to add to her resume.

The Coupeville High School junior, already a top scholar and solid two-sport athlete (when COVID allows her to play) is the new Student Rep to the Coupeville School Board.

Her appointment was unanimously approved Monday, and she’ll start a year-long run in the position with the February meeting.

She replaces CHS senior Drake Borden, who served during a unique time, when the ongoing pandemic forced board meetings to go entirely on-line.

While he missed out on the in-person aspect of the school board experience, he was praised by Superintendent Steve King and board members for his input.

Milnes, who plays tennis and soccer for the Wolves, applied for the position because she “wants to represent the voice of the students.”

“That’s all the students – elementary, middle school, and high school,” she added.

She has two brothers also in Coupeville schools, and plans to speak to them, friends, and other students, to get feedback on any matters which come up in board meetings.

“I want to reach out to as many people as possible,” Milnes said.

With the pandemic shutting down a lot of interpersonal contact, she plans to stay in touch with people through email, while looking forward to when sports return and she can speak in person with her teammates.

Staying active and involved in the path the school district takes is important, Milnes said while fielding questions from board members.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to voice the student’s opinion,” she said. “I want to be involved in the school’s decisions.”

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

They’re going back inside.

At least that’s the hope, as the Coupeville School Board approved a plan Monday for local students to return to in-person education.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the plan presented by Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King.

Board members Kathleen Anderson, Christi Sears, Venessa Matros, and Glenda Merwine voted in favor, while Sherry Phay voted against the plan.

While the hope is to have all students back in classrooms by mid-March, much will be dictated by whether Coupeville and Island County can lower COVID-19 cases and hospitalization numbers.

Also huge is local schools being able to demonstrate an “ability to limit transmission in the school environment.”

Under the plan, in-person learning is targeted to start back up January 19 for students who were being served in-person before the last closure.

This includes special services students, kindergarteners, and others identified as “furthest from educational justice.”

The next level is targeted to begin Feb. 1, with a K-2 AM/PM hybrid being offered.

Families who choose to participate will send their students to school four days a week, Monday through Thursday.


The schedule:

8:45 to 9:00 — CES doors open to students for health screening and entry
9:00 to 11:30 — In-Person classes for Group A
11:30 to 12:45 — Teacher lunch and planning; room sanitization
12:45 to 1:00 — CES doors open to students for health screening and entry
1:00 to 3:30 — In-Person classes for Group B


If things are working as hoped, grades 3-5 would be added to the AM/PM hybrid Feb. 22.

Even if in-person education is restarted on those dates, elementary school students may choose to remain in remote learning.

At least one teacher at each grade level will be a remote learning teacher and will serve those students and families.

Targeted dates for a return to in-person learning at Coupeville Middle School (grades 6-8) and High School (9-12) are currently Mar. 8 and 15, respectively.

Other details are still being worked out on the district’s plans for its secondary schools.

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

As the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Coupeville plans to open the 2020-2021 school year with primarily online learning.

Superintendent Steve King released a letter to the community Thursday which said he and the school board are recommending the district start in Phase 2 of a 5-phase plan.

Called the “Remote and Connection Model,” it will incorporate “an improved remote learning model with additional in-person connections for at-school opportunities for specifically identified students.”

The school year is slated to begin September 14.

King’s letter:


Over the course of the summer we have been working on multiple options for trying to reopen schools this fall.

As we think about in-person school models, we are following the guidance provided by OSPI, the Governor, and the Department of Health that was provided in June.

This week we received updated K-12 Fall Guidance for opening schools and a K-12 Decision Tree that provides metrics for districts to make decisions about reopening.

The guidance documents include social distancing, face coverings, daily health screenings, and protocols for incidents of COVID exposure that could result in student and/or staff quarantines.

The K-12 Decision Tree puts Island County School Districts in the “Moderate Risk” category for reopening schools.

In addition to all of this guidance, we have surveyed our staff and families in both June and late July and we have reviewed the data from these surveys in order to best serve all of our stakeholders.

We also have been working closely with our local Island County Health Department, OSPI, district administration, union groups, and other school districts in the region to get as much input as possible in order to make this difficult decision.

We are also mindful of the current public health environment in our state and community.

Unfortunately, the rate of COVID infection and the concerns surrounding it have been on the rise over the summer.

We know we do our best work and serve our students, families, and community most effectively when we are able to teach children in our schools 100% of the time, however, it has become clear that we are just not able to fully reopen our schools to in-person instruction this fall.

Given all of these considerations, it is the consensus of our school board and administrative team that our schools open the 20-21 school year in Stage 2, which we are referring to as Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model.

Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model means opening schools on September 14 with an improved remote learning model and additional in-person connections for “at-school” opportunities for specifically identified students.

This would provide targeted students some opportunities for face-to-face instruction with staff, while minimizing person-to-person contact.

The additional Connection services would support students with special needs, English language learners, kindergartners, and other students “furthest from educational justice.”

We will also have a strong focus on supporting our students and families with social emotional health this fall which may lead to additional in-person work with students along with remote support.

Throughout this school year we will constantly review our plans, local health outcomes, and the K-12 Decision Tree in order to make school model changes.

Please see our current plans and stages for our phased approach to reopening on our website:


The rationale for this plan is as follows:

The public health environment and concern in regards to public health in our state and local community are not improving.

Opening with any in-person school model this fall will likely lead to staff and student cohorts quarantined due to exposures. It may also lead to extended school closures.

This would create significant disruptions and no predictable teaching/learning model.

Students and staff perform most effectively with a stable, consistent instructional plan where expectations for engagement and learning are clear and implemented.

Deciding on this approach now allows us to continue to focus on improving our remote model based upon the successes and lessons learned from our spring experience.

With more time for training and implementation we are very confident we will deliver a better distance learning model this fall.

Making this decision now allows staff to focus on opportunities for specifically identified students with unique needs such as kindergarteners and preschoolers, English language learners (ELL), students with special needs, and other students “furthest from educational justice” to have some level of in-person interaction with staff.

These will be tightly managed small group or individual experiences, adhering to all OSPI, Department of Health, and Governor’s Office guidance.

The current 58 pages of guidelines for reopening schools for in-person instruction would likely have a significant negative impact on the learning environment in our schools and classrooms.

At the next school board meeting, August 24, the board will be asked to approve this plan.

Sadly, this pandemic has challenged all of us in many ways. We recognize any change to our regular school model creates complications.

We make this decision with the strong belief that it is the safest option for our community as a whole.

I am so thankful for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Please continue to show compassion and grace for others in our great community of Coupeville.

I am saddened by the negative impacts that this decision has on so many people, but I am passionate and continue to be optimistic that we will eventually refill our classrooms and hallways with our amazing students when it is safe to do so.

I am certain everyone has many questions regarding the above plan; please keep an eye out for more information in the days ahead.

Please stay safe, healthy and take care,

Steve King


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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King. (Photo property Coupeville School District)

He’s been re-upped.

School Board directors approved a new three-year contract Monday for Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King.

The new deal runs from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.

King, who has held the superintendent position in Coupeville since 2018, will be paid $168,636 for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

In a unique move, however, he will not be getting an immediate pay raise.

With the school district facing uncertain financial times as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, King volunteered to accept the same salary for 2020-2021 as he received in 2019-2020.

This move was hailed by school board members, who voted unanimously to approve his new contract.

A former Principal at Mount Baker High School, King was an Assistant Superintendent in Oak Harbor prior to accepting the Coupeville job after Dr. Jim Shank departed.

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