By Katie Kresly, Gem of the Sound Reporter.
On July 1, 2022, Dr. Ivan Duran, started his new position as the new Highline School District Superintendent, so we invited him to meet with us for an interview. He was not able to meet in person, so he replied by email instead. We look forward to following up with him in the future as he settles into his new position in the Highline District. Please see his answers below.
If you would like to meet Dr. Duran by Zoom for a “Meet and Greet”, Normandy Park has a scheduled Education Committee Meeting for August 10th, 5 pm-6 pm.
1. Please introduce yourself, and share your particular interest in the Highline community. How did you decide to become the new Highline Schools Superintendent?
I wanted to come to Highline because the Highline Promise really resonates with me. I want to build on that promise that every student be known by name, strength, and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose. I also want to build upon Highline’s strategic plan and the good work Highline has been doing over the past ten years.
2. In your estimation, what are Highline School District’s top three issues that need attention? And how do you propose they be addressed?
I am going to spend my first few months in Highline listening to our students, families, staff and community so I can learn from them about the issues facing our schools. I also want to learn how they believe the issues ought to be addressed. It is important that I listen deeply to the people who have been living and working in our community to truly understand what we need to prioritize and get their insights about what steps we should take next. I anticipate that we will need to address issues related to COVID, lower enrollment which will impact our budget, and supporting our students and staff who have been through so much over the last two years.
3. What are Highline’s best assets and what are its weaknesses?
Highline has a very strong strategic plan that is grounded in equity and bold goals for students.This is a solid foundation for us to build on as we move forward.
Another asset is our students and families. Our families bring such varied life experiences, from those who have lived all their lives in Highline to those who have come here from all over the world. Our families all bring their rich cultures, multiple languages and different perspectives. I value all of those assets and know there is so much we can learn from one another.
I don’t know the community well enough yet to name weaknesses, but as I meet and hear from our community over the coming months, I’ll be listening to learn where we have opportunities for improvement.
4. What are some constructive ideas that you believe need to be implemented to support Highline’s students, parents, teachers and staff in the coming school year?
First, we have been through two very difficult years with the pandemic, and while we may be through the worst of it, it is likely we will continue to deal with the impacts of COVID in the coming year. We know this has taken a toll on the mental health of children as well as those who work in our schools. We need to ensure we have support in place for students and staff who are emotionally impacted by the ongoing pandemic.