Berg takes helm at school district

Kirk BoxleitnerTerri Kaltenbach, left, speaks at the June 18 Marysville School District strategic leadership transitioning meeting also attended by incoming Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg, right.
Kirk Boxleitner
Terri Kaltenbach, left, speaks at the June 18 Marysville School District strategic leadership transitioning meeting also attended by incoming Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg, right.

Kirk Boxleitner, Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — Incoming Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg wound up being one of nine Marysville School District staff members to be introduced, or in some cases reintroduced, to the community during the Marysville School Board’s June 17 meeting, and she would continue to introduce herself to the community through the following evening, during the district’s third strategic leadership transitioning meeting on June 18.

Berg preferred to listen during the brainstorming sessions at the Tulalip Resort on June 18, which were complimented with a review of the two prior community engagement events on May 14 and 16, and spent most of her time during the June 17 Board meeting introducing her team, which includes a few familiar faces in new roles.

“It’s not just me who’s coming on board, but a number of new staff members,” said Berg, who’s retained Ray Houser, former executive director of teaching and learning, as her assistant superintendent. “I don’t have anywhere near the energy level of Ray,” she added, before introducing Cinco Delgado, former principal of Ridgecrest Elementary in the Shoreline School District, as the new executive director of teaching and learning in Houser’s stead.

Former Newport School District Superintendent Jason Thompson is stepping in as executive director of human resources for the Marysville School District, while Liberty Elementary Principal Scott Irwin is stepping up as the district’s categorical programs director.

“Donneta Spath has created CTE programs that have served multiple schools, so she’s a perfect fit for her new role,” Houser said of Spath, who moves from being executive director of the Northwest Career & Technical Academy to being the Marysville School District’s Career and Technical Education Director. “It’s been a brisk year for retirements,” he laughed.

Outgoing Assistant Superintendent Gail Miller and remaining Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Dr. Kyle Kinoshita noted that Sonja Machovina and Gloria Henderson are no newcomers to the Marysville School District, having both started out as teachers at Tulalip Elementary. Machovina will serve as the new assistant principal at Totem Middle School, while Henderson succeeds Irwin as the new principal of Liberty Elementary.

“I’ve been in Sonja’s classes, and her energy and innovation are amazing,” Miller said. “She relates to kids very calmly and effectively.”

“When we heard Gloria was available, we couldn’t resist bringing her back,” Kinoshita said. “And Lynn has got a solid background in instruction.”

Lynn Heimsoth, formerly a teacher in the South Kitsap School District, will serve as principal of Shoultes Elementary.

As of June 24, Berg still has a voicemail box at the Deer Park School District, but she’s already sought to engage with the Marysville community through events such at the June 17 and 18 meetings, not only to keep her previously stated pledge to “hit the ground running, listening and learning,” but also to ensure she’s up to speed when she officially starts her new job on July 1.

“I’m open to meeting with as many constituents and community groups as possible, so that I can learn as much as possible during those golden hours when I’m still new to the school district,” Berg said. “I have no agenda other than continuing the great work that’s already been done in the district, and understanding its future needs.”

During the June 17 Board meeting, Board President Chris Nation reiterated that Berg’s selection was the result of the district’s commitment to soliciting extensive community input, and offered a few final words of tribute to his friend, outgoing Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland.

“We heard all the voices,” Nation said. “That was what Dr. Nyland was all about, was a focus on student achievement, and everyone coming to the table to talk about it together. Our partnership with the Tulalip Tribes is an example of that.”

“I’m delighted with the work that’s been done, especially in partnership with the Tribes,” Nyland said. “Our staff throughout the district have done a great job.”