MISD welcomes Robertson aboard as new director of special services

She will step into her new role on July 1.

Melissa Robertson will bring passion, energy and hope to her new role of Mercer Island School District (MISD) director of special services.

For the last three years, Robertson has served as director of special education for the Stanwood Camano School District and she was introduced to the Island school board at its May 9 meeting.

“I think first and foremost is my passion to see students with disabilities be very successful and to have every opportunity afforded to them and to have a real sense of access and belonging within their communities. Not only within their schools, but within the broader community when they leave the schools,” said Robertson, whose first day on the job will be July 1 as the successor to five-year director Dr. Sue Ann Bube.

The Bellevue native launched her career as a special education instructor after college and later moved into the administration realm where she will continue working on inclusive practices with MISD’s team and enhancing the stellar work they’re already engaged in, she said.

“Melissa brings to our district a rich background in serving students and leading adults. This coupled with the partnerships she forged with other organizations will ensure we continue the great work we are doing,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Fred Rundle.

She’s energized with the ever-evolving work that’s occurring in special education and is strongly focused on multi-tiered systems of supports along with access and belonging for preschool- through 12th-grade students with disabilities within their school communities.

Robertson has also developed strategic partnerships with the University of Washington Haring Center to support professional development for staff through the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Inclusionary Practices Project, and with the University of Minnesota’s TIES Center that advocates for inclusivity through time, instructional effectiveness, engagement and support.

“I found a lot of enjoyment and excitement in really working with students with significant learning disorders and figuring out how to help them to move their learning forward,” said Robertson, who grew up with two brothers with significant developmental disabilities. “So I suppose that I had a heart for this work long before I ever got into the work.”

One of the draws to the Island job was that she knew Dr. Rundle while she served as executive director of special services with the Issaquah School District for seven years. She’s excited to work with the superintendent and his colleagues, some of whom she’s familiar with as well.

Life intersects work for Robertson when it comes to the values that she embraces each day: A strong sense of joy and wholeheartedness, passion, and a deep sense of faith.

“What drives me really is that every single student within our schools would be valued. That every single student would succeed at the highest level possible,” she said. “I do also think it’s really important that we continue to think about how to build really meaningful and sustaining communities for every student.”