Retiring at the end of this month from Mercer Island School District is a triumvirate of women who have made a difference for literally thousands of Island students and their families. The women — Kathy Morrison, Joy Dunne and Pat Turner — have spent decades teaching and caring for students here through a combination of smarts, practical experience and love.
Morrison is a musician, a teacher, a principal and now district administrator who has long mentored both students and teachers. Turner is a licensed psychologist and school administrator who has been the director of special education services, helping families and students of all abilities to be able to get the kind of schooling that will work for them. Finally, Dunne, a registered nurse, has worked with special education students in preschool to stressed-out high school students and beyond. Her focus on student health extends from the needs of the physical to the emotional. Dunne, who successfully pushed for defibrillators to be placed throughout the community, puts safety as well as privacy of students first.
Between them, they have managed dozens of staff, whole schools of elementary kids, soothed parents and handed out tough love when necessary. They have applied leading-edge educational theory and personal commitment to their roles. They are problem-solvers, collaborators and professionals. They do it all with an eye on the prize — that of facilitating top-notch teaching and learning for all.
Each knows implicitly that there is nothing more effective in the world of education than recognizing and harnessing the individuality of students. The road toward education comes finding out and facilitating how best to reach students.
And always, despite having little time left over, they will stop and take aside an individual — a parent or a child or a teacher — who is sick or lost or upset. They will listen.
Finally, these are women who live here. They sent their own children through Island schools. They are truly guardians of our community.
Will we see their kind again?