Two remain in running to lead ASD

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ARLINGTON Christine Burgess has withdrawn her application for superintendent of the Arlington School District, but the ASD Board will continue the selection process with Warren Hopkins and Kristine McDuffy.
While the board is disappointed that Ms. Burgess has withdrawn, we have two excellent, highly qualified candidates to choose from and are proceeding with confidence, said Kay Duskin, ASD Board president.
Burgess community question-and-answer forum Feb. 13 has been cancelled, but Hopkins Feb. 12 forum and McDuffys Feb. 14 forum remain as previously scheduled, from 4:45-6 p.m. in the Haller Middle School library.
In the meantime, Hopkins and McDuffy were eager to share their views of Arlingtons schools and community, as well as the roles theyd like to have in both.
Thirteen years ago, I came to Arlington to apply for the job of principal at the high school, Hopkins said. I talked with a friend who had worked in Arlington at one point, and even though Id only had an interview at that point, he told me, If they offer you the job, take it, because its the best place there is. thirteen years later, thats still true.
Hopkins characterized Arlington as a city thats retained the qualities of a small town, even as its population has grown and evolved.
Academically, were very good, but theres room for improvement, Hopkins said. Its wonderful how this community supports its schools and its neighbors.
Hopkins characterized increased diversity and tolerance as among the positive changes made by the schools and surrounding community alike, and credited much of this to the students Respect summits and teams.
These kids have worked so hard and done so much to show how open and caring a community Arlington has become, Hopkins said. At the same time, we need to continue helping kids succeed. Our test scores are not horrible, but theyre not great. Weve improved steadily, but were still not where we want to be in areas like math, not unlike other districts.
Hopkins sees it as a priority to prepare students as many students as possible to go on to higher education after high school, and he identified the first step as providing support for the districts teachers.
We need to give them all the materials and supplies they need to do a good job, Hopkins said. We need a good curriculum for them to follow, and we need the right staff development programs to help them as instructors.
While Hopkins described McDuffy as a fine candidate, he touted his own years of experience with the district.
I dont need time to get in step with the district, Hopkins said. Im ready to start from the get-go, because Ive already been working here for years.
Kristine McDuffy was quick to tout her own 14 years of experience in the neighboring Lakewood School District, first as principal of the Lakewood middle and high schools, then as superintendent of the district.
Those years overlapped with my work in local service clubs, McDuffy said. I was involved in a lot of projects in this area and it got into my blood. I have a lot of roots in this part of Snohomish County.
McDuffy complimented the quality of the Arlington School District, the ASD Board, its staff and its community.
This district is one of the best in the state, if not the nation, McDuffy said. The commitment of community support its received has been critical to its success. Like most districts, Arlington is faced with the challenge of meeting an increasing amount of requirements with a decreasing amount of resources, but our core mission must be the success of every child.
McDuffy pledged to build on the quality work already being done in the district, while collaborating with staff, parents and students to draw up a shared vision for the next decade.
Our assets far outweigh the obstacles, McDuffy said. I will bring caring, competence and commitment to the role of superintendent. I have 14 years of experience in training school leaders, and a breadth of exposure to different teaching systems across the state.
McDuffy praised Arlington for being both diverse and tight-knit, and expressed her desire to help take it into the future.
After interviews, site visits and group forums, the ASD Board intends to announce their decision by March 1.

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