A message from Superintendent Merlino

On February 11, 1969 the bill creating Washington’s Educational Service Districts was signed, and though our 50th birthday party in Olympia was postponed due to weather, I want to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

50 years is a long time, and since I have been here at ESD 112 for 33 of them, I have had the great fortune to have worked with so many great people. Our leadership has also been outstanding. I worked for both Bill Fromhold and Twyla Barnes and could not have been trained by better and more dynamic people. Their legacy (and that of our first Superintendent Leo Blodgett) continues today in the strength and heart of our organization. This group of people working here now mean a lot to me. Over the last 4+ years that I’ve been superintendent, I have seen our programs grow and expand and have witnessed the expertise and capabilities of our staff.  I believe that collectively we can work together to do big things for our districts and education in Washington as a whole.

An example of one of the “big” things we’re tackling is a plan to provide additional student behavioral supports for our districts.  I have been meeting with both our districts’ leadership and those in our Special Education ESA over the past few months, and I have been told consistently that districts continue to struggle with student behavior – a crisis impacting even younger and younger students. We are facing this challenge head-on and working with our cabinet to develop a series of tiered interventions that will help modify these behaviors. We hope that through staff training and focusing resources on this issue we can move the needle. We will be rolling this initiative out over the next several months and will be sharing more information on our tiered intervention model soon.