New North Beach School Superintendent Deborah Holcomb was sworn in during the first School Board meeting of the 2016-17 year, and then later addressed the Ocean Shores City Council on Monday.
Holcomb, a 37-year veteran educator most recently of the Highline School District, was hired last May to replace the retiring team of Supt. Stan Pinnick and Assistant Supt. Dave Wayman, who had been operating on one-year contracts for 16 years since being brought in to oversee what was then a struggling district.
“As I work to launch my vision for North Beach, it is to create a high quality, standards-based learning environment where all kids have the opportunity for acceleration as well as intervention,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb did her undergraduate work at Washington State University (graduating in 1979), then earned a masters degree in economics education at the University of Delaware. She also taught for 19 years in the Bainbridge Island School District, and received her certificates to be a principal and superintendent at Seattle University.
Holcomb wrote an opening statement for the school year that said she was “truly honored to be your new superintendent and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to support the staff and students of North Beach.”
“It’s become clear to me very quickly that this community is committed to our students and will do everything in their power to ensure that all students have every opportunity to be successful in school,” she said in her online remarks to students, parents and staff.
Quoting the soccer player, Pelè, Holcomb said: “Success is no accident; it is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all loving what you are doing.”
“As I begin my 38th year as an educator, my ultimate goal is to inspire excellence, increase achievement levels for all students, and instill a love of learning in all of our students, just like my teachers instilled in me,” she said.
Holcomb was Highline’s executive director of Inclusive Education, and one of her first acts at last week’s North Beach board meeting was to hear reports from both elementary schools as well as the junior and senior high school on how teachers this year are working with students of poverty, using a book called “High Poverty Schools, High Performing Schools.” She addressed the Ocean Shores City Council Monday night and said a district-wide goal is to have teachers and staff work more closely with the students who need more help, both academically as well as socially or personally.
“If you study the research right now in education, really knowing kids by name, strength and need is a very powerful model to help them all become successful in school,” Holcomb said.
School Board changes
The School Board filled one vacancy on Sept. 20 with the addition of Rachel Carl to fill the District 3 director seat previously held by her mother, Leanne Carl. Rob Paylor has submitted his resignation from the District 1 position, which covers the Pacific Beach area, including Seabrook and Moclips.