Mercer Island schools announce Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund | School Briefs

Scholarship to honor president’s mother announced

The board of directors for the Mercer Island School District approved the creation of a new trust for the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund.

Dunham, who graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1960, was the mother of President Barack Obama. The scholarship will be given to women who have a passion and commitment to intercultural communication, the eradication of poverty and oppression, and the improvement in the economic and social status of women worldwide.

The scholarship will be worth $5,000 and will likely be awarded for the first time this spring.

“It’s not only a credit to her, but a credit to the teachers and the school,” said Lowell Ericsson, a member of the fund’s board of directors.

Members of the MISD board said they felt the scholarship was a wonderful opportunity for students.

“It’s a great thing, and it is much appreciated,” said board president Adair Dingle. “It’s a great way to have a positive impact on so many lives.”

Dunham, who attended Eckstein Junior High in Seattle before MIHS, later went on to attend the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii. She died of ovarian cancer in 1995 at the age of 53.

For more information on the fund and when applications will be available for this spring, visit

MISD to host brown bag lunch about China visit

The Mercer Island School Board will host a brown bag lunch talk on March 4 to share members’ experiences from last December’s trip to China.

Superintendent Gary Plano, board president Adair Dingle and board member Lisa Strauch Eggers will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m. to share their thoughts, photos and answer questions about the trip. The event will be held at the Community Center in room 103.

School Board meeting Thursday

The Mercer Island School Board will hold its second regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25, starting with a study session at 5:30 p.m.

The study session is for the board to discuss topics left over from its retreat at the end of January. The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

On tomorrow night’s agenda, the board will be reviewing the Bridges program at Mercer Island High School and discussing the advance math learners program for grades 5-8.

All MISD board meetings are held in the board room of the administrative building.

New head of school for Eastside Catholic

Eastside Catholic High School has announced that Sister Mary E. Tracy will become the new head of school this June. She will replace Jim Kubacki, who recruited Tracy to the job.

A native of Washington state, Tracy was the principal of Holy Names Academy in Seattle for 15 years and spent another decade and a half at the National Catholic Educators Association in Washington, D.C.

For Tracy, following God’s will has been the theme of her life for many years, from when as a young woman she was first drawn to the community of Catholic Sisters in Seattle in the early 1970s.

“I was really drawn to the field of Catholic education,” she said. “And at that time, the sisters were very focused on education. It was a very turbulent time, in 1971. We’d just experienced Vatican II [the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, in 1962]; the Vietnam War was going on. It was a period of tremendous activism, and I was interested in making a difference in my community and in the world.”

In the decades between then and now, Tracy became one of the preeminent figures in Catholic education in America.

In 1993, she received one of six national NCEA awards for “Extraordinary Success in School Leadership.” In 1995, she was honored with the Mary G. Taylor Outstanding Educator Award.

Civic involvement and volunteering are an integral part of Tracy’s personal mission, and in 2005 she traveled to Lesotho, South Africa, to continue the Holy Names program of work there, building schools and health clinics, and developing educational opportunities for young children.

She is focused now on the financial state and academic ideals of her new school.

These are tough times for schools, public and private. And though Eastside Catholic is not subject to the whims of government funding that are threatening the Issaquah and Lake Washington School Districts at present, fundraising is an issue for private schools nonetheless.

“We have a beautiful campus here, a really beautiful facility,” Tracy said. “But there is some financial attention that needs to be paid, in terms of philanthropy and fundraising.”

For more information, go to

New headmaster named for French American School

The French American School of Puget Sound has named a new head for the 2010-2011 school year.

Eric Thuau, the current head of school at the Austin International School in Austin, Texas, will replace Head Andre McGiffin. He starts this August.

“The French American School of Puget Sound is fortunate to welcome such a qualified, dynamic and experienced head of school,” said Bonnie Steele, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, via a press release from the school. “Eric comes to us with 11 years of experience in international education and an impressive record of growth at his previous schools.”

During his time in Austin, Thuau doubled enrollment, obtained full accreditation, achieved fiscal and academic stability and strengthened the community outreach program, according to information from the French American School of Puget Sound.

Thuau has also held top positions at international schools in Turkey and Cape Verde.

“The French American School of Puget Sound has an excellent faculty, a supportive group of parents and a strong board of trustees,” said Thuau. “The school is well-positioned with a full preschool through middle school, and shows great promise for the future; I am pleased to be able to build on the excellent work of the current leadership.”

During his first year as head for the French American School, Thuau will see the addition of grade eight in September 2010.

For more information, visit the school’s Web site at

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