Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - April 29, 2016

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No Week in Review today (WSPRA training)

I just returned from my state conference, so there will not be a Week in Review today. I want to thank the school board and district leadership team for supporting my participation in the Washington Public Relations Association annual state conference in Leavenworth. This is an excellent professional development opportunity. These training sessions help me become a better communicator and leader in the district.

It is a privilege to support our students, parents, teachers, support staff, school board, leadership team and community. I’m excited to apply what I learned to our communications efforts.

During the WSPRA conference, we heard from John Draper from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) about the crucial conversations required to build community support for public schools. OSPI’s communications team briefed us on the 2016 legislative action and other state updates. Retired Pierce County Sheriff Officer Jesus Villahermosa trained the group on crisis communications and emergency planning and our NSPRA president talked about trends to look for in the next five years.

There was much more covered, but this provides a glance at what we experienced during the two-day event. The district’s Communications Department was also fortunate to receive statewide awards. I will share more information on these honors in a few weeks once the certificates and feedback sheets are mailed to the office.

Also, I wanted to thank Sharpstein Elementary Principal Matt Bona for his years of service in the district. He was recently hired by ESD 123 to become its new director for Early Learning. Matt will finish out the school year in Walla Walla, before transitioning to his new role in July. Matt is a terrific educator, wonderful father and husband and all around good guy. We will truly miss him in our district. A search has been started to find a new principal at Sharpstein. (more details on Bona’s hiring below)

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thanks again for your support and involvement over the years.

Mark Higgins, Director of Communications and Community Relations


A NEW DIRECTOR FOR EARLY LEARNING AT ESD 123

News Release from ESD 123
PASCO, WA -- Mr. Matthew Bona has been named as the new Director of Early Learning at Educational Service District (ESD) 123, effective July 1, 2016. The ESD Board of Directors approved Mr. Bona's appointment at their regular meeting on Thursday, April 28. 

Over the past five years, the ESD's Early Learning Department has grown exponentially, from small, targeted services, to what is now a comprehensive menu of services impacting hundreds of families across the region. ESD Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, JoAnn Henderson, was part of the selection committee who identified Bona as an outstanding candidate to meet the needs of the department. 

"Our vision is to create and support world class services designed to help all children, their families, school districts and the early learning community," Henderson says. "Matt brings the leadership skills, early learning and K-12 experience and, most importantly, the passion to help us achieve that goal." 

Bona currently serves as principal of Sharpstein Elementary School in Walla Walla, where he has worked since 2010. Prior to that, his experience included assistant principal, high school teacher, adjunct professor, and lecturer in schools and colleges across the Pacific Northwest. 

"High quality learning opportunities are critical in the early stages of a child's educational career," states Bona. "The work that we do as an Early Learning Department at ESD 123 will set children up for success as they continue on in their learning for years to come. I am honored that I will have this opportunity to have a positive influence in moving Early Learning forward in the region that ESD 123 serves." 

Bona will begin work in his new director role at the ESD on July 1. For more information, contact Communication & Graphics Coordinator, Molly Curtiss, at 509.544.5787 or mcurtiss@esd123.org

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