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Haddock takes helm at Lakewood School District
LAKEWOOD — For Dennis Haddock, education has been a lifelong love.
“My grandma was a math teacher,” said Haddock, who officially became superintendent of the Lakewood School District July 1. “I had wonderful experiences with education growing up and fond memories of the positive relationships that my teachers developed with their students. That’s instrumental when you’re at a young age and it makes education a worthwhile profession.”
Haddock served as assistant superintendent to Larry Francois for three years before being promoted by the Lakewood School District Board of Directors, and has accumulated 28 years of experience in public education. After having worked in the Lake Stevens, Mukilteo, Anacortes and Olympia school districts, Haddock concluded that a community like Lakewood would be an ideal fit for him.
“One of my favorite things about it is the tremendous pride exhibited within the school district and by the community,” Haddock said. “They’re all invested in the work they do. I’ve been blown away by the sheer friendliness, not just between the schools and the community, but also with the cities of Arlington and Marysville. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration, and the community supports us in a lot of ways, which creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm throughout the area.”
Haddock appreciates the ways in which the Lakewood School District’s smaller size allows its staff to be better connected to student needs, as well as the opportunities for professional development that it’s afforded him. He noted the number of district employees who have “spent the majority of their careers here and raised their children here,” while also praising newer employees for bringing new energy to the district and continuing the commitment of fellow staff.
Haddock sees it as a priority that all students receive equitable programs, facilities and educational opportunities, as well as that the district and community expect ongoing quality improvement in service. To do this, he’s emphasized the need for training, materials and equipment to support the instruction and related services that district staff provide, as well as employee selection and retention.
“These broad domains all channel down to our primary role of promoting student development and achievement,” Haddock said. “We’re investing in our students’ success because they’re a precious commodity. They’re our future. We need to allow these kids to develop a sense of self-image and self-confidence, so that they can learn to take risks as independent learners.”