Berg sworn in as superintendent

Kirk BoxleitnerDr. Becky Berg is sworn in as superintendent of the Marysville School District by Marysville School Board President Chris Nation on July 8
Kirk Boxleitner
Dr. Becky Berg is sworn in as superintendent of the Marysville School District by Marysville School Board President Chris Nation on July 8

Kirk Boxleitner, Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — Dr. Becky Berg was sworn in and presided over her first Marysville School Board meeting as superintendent of the school district on Monday, July 8, and as she took the seat of her new role, she was acutely conscious of the legacy that she has to live up to.

“From where the Board and superintendent sit in the Board room, we face a wall with the names of former Board members and superintendents dating back to the early 1960s,” Berg said. “I’ve read those names, and I’m struck by those who have gone before, who have dedicated their lives and careers to public service, and more importantly to the children of the Marysville and Tulalip communities. I am humbled and challenged to take the symbolic baton from those in our past, and to help lead our fine district into the future.”

Although Berg has already interacted with members of those communities on several occasions, including the Marysville School District’s strategic leadership transitioning meeting on June 18, she remains reticent to draw more than general conclusions.

“At this point, I’ve officially been on the job just a few weeks,” Berg said. “In this short amount of time in the position, I would be remiss to make profound judgements about the community that I now call home. I will say, however, that those whom I have met have a deep commitment to children and their futures. They also have a deep local pride and great optimism about the future of Marysville and Tulalip.”

Berg shares that sense of optimism, and echoed Marysville School Board President Chris Nation’s frequent refrain that the community needs to know the district’s success stories.

“Marysville and Tulalip have so much to be proud of, and are second to none in relation to other communities and school districts,” Berg said. “We do have far to go, however, until we reach our mission of each child, every day, as well as 100 percent graduation, but there is simply no reason we cannot reach our goals. I so look forward to coming together to envision the next few years for our school district.”

Berg repeated the quote attributed to Chief Sitting Bull, “Let us put our heads to together and see what life we will make for our children.”

To that end, Berg explained that she and the Board are committed to listening to the community members, families and employees of the district, to understand its history and complexities, while still managing its day-to-day operations and preparing for the reopening of school in September. In the long term, the district is approaching the end of the Board’s four-year goals, as well as the sunsetting of the current maintenance and operations levy.

“[That levy] is vital funding for school districts such as ours,” Berg said. “We will follow the lead of our Board of Directors, as we discuss initiating the next stage of strategic planning, and consideration of renewal of our maintenance and operations levy, which our community has supported for years.”

On Monday, July 15, Berg began a week-long vacation, but far from relaxing on a beach, she’ll be working in Washington, D.C., with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, a nonprofit group with 140,000 members worldwide that’s concerned with issues of learning, teaching and leading. Berg currently volunteers as the president of ASCD.

“I find this kind of working vacation so exhilarating, because when we come together from across the globe, to learn from each other and to advance the mission of success for each and every child, there is no stopping us,” Berg said. “An additional bonus from this kind of volunteer work is that I come home with new ideas and solutions that directly benefit the students of Marysville and Tulalip. I am so energized and thrilled to be a part of the Marysville School District. If anyone has ideas, or would like to meet and discuss the future of our students, just give me a call.”

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.”

Berg aims to ‘hit the ground running’ as Marysville schools’ new superintendent

By Kirk Boxleitner, The Marysville Globe

Courtesy photo.Dr. Becky Berg officially starts as the new superintendent of the Marysville School District on July 1.
Courtesy photo.
Dr. Becky Berg officially starts as the new superintendent of the Marysville School District on July 1.

MARYSVILLE — Dr. Becky Berg is still mapping out her transition between the Deer Park School District, where she currently serves as superintendent, and the Marysville School District, for which she was selected as the new superintendent on March 28, but between now and when she officially starts her new job on July 1, Berg aims to get up to speed in short order.

“I intend to hit the ground running, listening and learning,” said Berg, whose career in education opened with stints as a classroom teacher in the Renton and Enumclaw school districts from 1986-91, after earning her B.A. in education from Eastern Washington University in 1984. “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. I have no agenda other than continuing the great work that’s already been done in the district, and understanding its future needs.”

Indeed, Berg cited what she deemed the healthy relationships between district leaders, staff members, students, families and surrounding community members as one of the traits that drew her to the Marysville School District in the first place.

“I was impressed,” said Berg, whose stints as acting, associate, assistant and full principals in the Bainbridge Island and Mead school districts, the latter in Spokane, ran from 1991 through 2010, when she began her current job as superintendent of the Deer Park School District. “Innovations such as the Small Learning Communities are the kinds of bold measures that it will take to keep up with the needs of the 21st century. This district’s diversity was also a huge draw for me, since I’m looking forward to working with the Tulalip Tribes, the growing Hispanic community and other partners.”

Berg eagerly anticipates familiarizing herself with Marysville as a resident, a process that she referred to as “knitting in” rather than “fitting in.”

“This really isn’t about me, though,” Berg said. “It’s about the Marysville community and its students. This district demonstrates that dynamic, effective education is possible, and I’m incredibly excited to be part of it.”


Marysville starts search for next superintendent

Christopher Andersson, North County Outlook,

The Marysville school board has begun the process of finding a new superintendent by contracting with Northwest Leadership Associates to help conduct the selection process.

After nine years of serving as Marysville’s superintendent, Dr. Larry Nyland announced on Jan. 3 he will retire at the end of this school year.

The school board said they appreciated the weight of the decision and that this process isn’t being taken lightly.

“We know this is a major assignment for the school board. It is the one thing we do that matters the most,” said school board member Cindy Erickson.

The board wants to find a replacement who will be as successful for the district as Nyland was during his nine years.

“I hope we only have to make this decision every nine or ten years,” said school board member Tom Albright.

The school board hired Northwest Leadership Associates during its Jan. 7 meeting.

Northwest Leadership Associates is a consulting firm that has specialized in screening and selecting superintendents and other school system leaders since 1999.

“We’re certain that Northwest Leadership Associates is going to deliver on their promise to not only find a great new leader to follow Dr. Nyland but also to involve the community,” said school board member Pete Lundberg.

The school board is anxious for input from the Marysville community about what they want from a superintendent and hired Northwest Leadership Associates in part because of their experience in gathering community opinions.

Lundberg hopes that a full cross-section of the community comes out to express their desire and looks forward to hearing opinions “from people of all walks of life.”

The board has wanted to reach out to the community for more than just the superintendent issue and hopes that this public process will help jumpstart that.

Nyland said he is encouraged that this will help get community members motivated to engage with the school district and hopefully, he said, this will be just the first round of community engagement.

Community relations are important because the superintendent not only runs a school district, but has to maintain and build its relationships with the community, said school board president Chris Nation.

Which is why, Erickson said, the new superintendent needs to be “somebody we believe in that can move the district forward. Someone who can continue to build relationships both within the community, within our school and within our partnerships.”

The school district has been improving steadily over the last decade, said board members, and they want to find someone who can continue that progress.

“We have a lot of things that seem to be headed in the right direction. We have a very motivated staff and it’s important we continue in that direction,” Lundberg noted.

Board members expressed that Nyland will be remembered and that whoever replaces him will have a tough act to follow.

“Larry, I wanted to say, you will be missed. You’ve proven yourself, not just in education, but also in who you are and how you’ve taken things that have not always been easy to take,” said Erickson.

“[Nyland]’s here in the morning. He’s here in the evening. He’s always sending me e-mails about new educational programs he’s found on the Internet. It’s 24/7 to him, and it truly pushes me to do more,” said Nation.

Nyland’s retirement announcement and personal message to the community are available at

Northwest Leadership Associates will be conducting surveys and public meetings to collect community opinions over the coming months.


Upcoming meetings:

The Marysville School District will hold two meetings for district parents, Marysville and Tulalip community members and district partners learn about, and provide input, for the new superintendent search process.

Meetings will be held at the Marysville School District Service Center Board Room, located at 4220 80th Street NE, Marysville, 98270, on Tuesday, 1/29/13 at 7:00 PM and Thursday, 1/31/13 at 6:00 PM. Both meetings are open to the public.

An electronic survey is available on the district website at
For more information on the search process, contact Jodi Runyon at or (360) 653-0800.