The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

Miner: The unanimous choice to remain at the ESD helm

©HAWKEYE image credit: Emmalee Harmon
Speaking to community members, students and staff at an open public forum in the Terraceum, Rebecca Miner addresses questions posed by audience members

On Feb. 8, 2023, Interim Superintendent Rebecca Miner, Ed.D was voted unanimously by the ESD Board to become the new permanent superintendent, edging out finalist Concepcion (Concie) Pedroza, Ed.D. The decision follows a months-long search which started on Oct. 11 and was led by consulting firm GR Recruiting.

Miner began her position as interim superintendent on July 1, 2022 as replacement for Gustavo Balderas who moved to become the superintendent of Beaverton School District in Oregon. Previously, Miner served as the superintendent for the Shoreline School District for seven years.

Miner has worked in education for 30 years, having experience in several roles including as an English and special education teacher, assistant principal and assistant superintendent. In 2016, she received a doctorate in educational leadership from Washington State University Vancouver.

On Feb. 7, a public forum was held in the Terraceum for the district community to pose questions and provide feedback to the Board on finalists Miner and Pedroza. The event was moderated by Rob MacGregor, an associate with GR Recruiting. The public forum was formatted so Miner would first introduce herself and field questions provided by attendees and filtered by MacGregor, then Miner would be switched with Pedroza who would introduce herself and answer similar questions.

The topics raised included how they would ensure school safety; promote equity, especially on increasing the number of POC staff; provide support for paraeducators, special education, early learning, specialist classes and mental health; and adjust to changes in the classroom post-COVID.

Miner introduced herself by speaking about her experience as a teacher and stating that she felt schools didn’t provide enough for her to overcome barriers in the classroom. She stated that seeing the barriers in the classroom propelled her to earn a special education credential to serve as a special ed teacher.

“It’s the obligation of a system to serve teachers, and paraeducators, and administrators, and not all on me,” Miner said.

Miner also spoke on her experience working as the superintendent of the rural White Pass School District in East Lewis County, Washington before she worked at Shoreline.

“My greatest growth came when I became the superintendent of a district with 400 students,” Miner stated. “Being the superintendent of a district with 400 students teaches you the system from A to Z.”

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On approaching specific issues, Miner promoted listening to the community via research, focus groups and other opportunities for the community to provide input. As interim superintendent, she conducted a review of the special education program with the American Institutes for Research, and received applause upon pointing out the survey had a wide reception.

“I don’t have in my head or in my heart right now a plan,” Miner said on improving special education. “Like, I don’t have a road map until we see the outcome of that. I’m not going to disregard the survey results of 1,300 people and the time and the energy they’ve taken to contribute to that. What I will commit to doing is that I believe the next step in the work needs to be shepherded by whoever’s in the superintendent seat… I think that needs to be collaborative work.”

Pedroza in some ways had opposite experiences to Miner. She worked as associate superintendent at the Seattle School District with a body of over 50,000 students. She spoke on the power of education and how she was the first in her family to receive a degree.

“I think about the two values my mother taught me growing up: the love of your community is the most powerful thing, and nobody can take your education away from you,” Pedroza said. “So those are the two values that I have that I think about all the time when I think about my work and how I support students in the classroom.”

Addressing the elephant in the room, Pedroza stated she was interested in the position of superintendent at Edmonds School District because of her familiarity and appreciation for the community.

“I actually have been part of your community, Edmonds School District, all over for many many years. I have family who lives here so I’ve celebrated here… I’ve been here and I know that the people here are the center of the community… I’ve looked at your strategic plan and everything you believe in is in line with my vision and my values.”

On policy, she stated the district should support all students through setting goals, listening to students and families and providing support.

Public forum attendees, English teacher Jennifer Widrig-Hodges and college and career specialist Tribecca Brazil, both stated they felt Miner did a better job, though they were still left dissatisfied.

“I would like to see [Pedroza] do a little more research in our district… it didn’t seem like they knew what we already had in place,” Brazil said.

Widrig-Hodges noted that it seemed Miner “knew what’s up” with her experience as interim superintendent but that neither really understood the issues with teacher retention.

“‘Listen to our staff of color.’ We often assume we know what that is and it’s not necessarily the case,” Brazil said

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About the Contributors
Jakob Nacanaynay
Jakob Nacanaynay, Hawkeye Staff
Jakob Nacanaynay initially joined HSM to be more involved in the MTHS community and express his opinions. As a member of HSM, he most enjoys learning about different perspectives that stray from the mainstream. Jakob is also an officer of the TSA club, participating in events from video game design to debate. He also enjoys competing in cybersecurity competitions with friends. While he has a wide range of interests, he finds the communication and organization skills learned in journalism transfer well. After high school, he plans on attending a major university to study cybersecurity.
Emmalee Harmon
Emmalee Harmon, Tempo Manager
Emmalee Harmon joined HSM to make friends and because she enjoys photography and wanted to have more experience. In her role as photo editor, she strives to teach others how to use a camera and to use settings, editing, and angles to achieve interesting photos. Emmalee is also a setter in volleyball and plays the violin and cello.
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