Schools briefs | Leadership change announced for IMS next year

Leadership change announced for IMS next year

Starting next school year, there could be a change in the administration structuring at Islander Middle School.

Mary Jo Budzius and Aaron Miller, who currently serve as principal and assistant principal, will become co-principals during the 2010-2011 school year if the proposal is approved by the School Board.

MISD Superintendent Gary Plano recommended the change at last Thursday’s School Board meeting.

“I view this as a very 21st century idea,” Plano told Board members. “It’s an opportunity for us to stay together as a team and grow as a team. It’s my pleasure to recommend the idea to the Board.”

Board members responded with positive support.

“I have heard so much positive feedback about you two. You’ve completely transformed the middle school,” Adair Dingle said, addressing Budzius and Miller.

If the Board approves of Miller’s promotion, he will become co-principal as of July 1, 2010.

Typically, an assistant principal works in a school for several years before becoming a principal, usually at another school. Under the new model, IMS would be able to retain both administrators.

Plano said that, despite the fact that this is a non-traditional move for the district, it is important to sometimes step outside the box to be effective.

Budzius expressed respect for Plano’s stance.

“I want to acknowledge Gary for the risk he’s going to take. Changing titles draws attention, and criticism can come from that,” she said, adding that she is confident the change will be successful. “Our particular leadership styles blend so well that we feel it is better for our school community if we share the principal role.”

For more information about IMS, visit

Debate team wins third consecutive state title

The Mercer Island High School debate team brought home its third straight state debating championship in March.

Sean Ghods and Stephanie Permut each took first place in the state championship combined 3A/4A debate tournament. Ghods also earned the first-place speaker award and Permut finished fourth in the speech competition. Also competing at state was the team of Patrick Fong and Elizza Picozzi, who finished third overall in the policy debate category. Steven Adler took fifth in the speak competition and was fourth in the Lincoln-Douglas 3A division debate contest. Zach Gordy and Aaron Poor finished third in the public forum debate competition.

Poor, Gordy, Fong and Picozzi each qualified to compete in the National League tournament in June in Kansas City based on their performance at state, while Permut, Ghods and Adler have been invited to attend the Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Ky., in May.

MIHS drill team finishes fourth in district competition

The Mercer Island High School drill team finished fourth overall in the 3A district competition during the middle of March at Sammamish High School. The team traveled to Yakima last weekend for the state competition.

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