Kent School District October 2022
As we begin the month of October, I want to offer my vision for our shared future in the Kent School District (KSD). This school year marks the beginning of a new chapter in KSD. New chapters bring new ideas, new ways of being in community, and new ways to build bridges for every student, every voice, every day. 
I invite you to think back to when you were a student. It is an experience we all share and full of defining moments with lasting impacts. I remember my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Rosenow, who taught me more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. She let me nap in the back of the classroom because she knew as the son of a migrant working family, I worked late into the night in the sugar beet fields. My relationship with her became a defining moment in my life and influenced my decision to dedicate my life’s work to education. I learned from her and other school staff the importance of building relationships and cultivating potential in others. These are qualities I endeavor to employ in every aspect of my work. 

This is officially my first year as your superintendent and it is an honor to serve in this role. As a young boy, I did not realize the role I would have one day in this community, which I have called home for 22 years. Because teachers such as Mrs. Rosenow and others saw my potential and encouraged me to dream, I was able to make an almost unbelievable dream into reality. 

I value and respect each and every one of our staff and I am grateful for the work accomplished every day to support our students. For over ten years, I was a classroom teacher and I recognize there are new challenges to face every day. I commend our teachers and support staff for their resilience in the face of tremendous challenges and difficulties over the last several years. Now is the time to come together and continue our important work of educating students. I am devoted to learning from you and alongside you to build bridges to success fortified by our commitment to students and their families.  

Educational transformation continues to be a challenge across our nation and in Washington State due to its underfunding and inadequate resource supports for student needs. One of our priorities is appropriate school funding for the long term. Adequate funding that provides a landscape for increased and targeted investments in the education system to support the whole child. Advocating for investments in public education, especially mental health supports, continues to be an area of focus for me. 

While this is just the beginning, I believe we can build relationships and trust by keeping students at the center of every decision and remembering we are all human. I invite us to come together and continue our important work of educating students. Together, we make a difference in the lives of our students. Together, we experience our students’ successes and opportunities. Together, we have a powerful impact on students and the pursuit of their educational goals and dreams. It is critical we come together and provide the best education for EVERY student in our care. 

As a person of color and first-generation high school and college graduate, my leadership will be tested throughout my service as your superintendent, by the system, individuals, and institutions. I want to say thank you to those who have supported me, held me up, and believed in me through it all; and a future thank you to those who are willing to come alongside me and continue this work. We will accomplish our mission of successfully preparing all students for their futures if we work together to build bridges: every student, every voice, every day. 


Israel Vela 
School Visits
Left to right: Director Farah, Director Margel, Superintendent Vela, Jeanne Suleiman-King County Metro

On Friday, September 23, Superintendent Vela, Director Meghin Margel, and Director Awale Farah visited five schools – Meridian Middle School, Springbrook Elementary, Kentlake High School, Covington Elementary, and Meridian Elementary.  

At Kentlake High School, they observed students receiving their Free Youth Transit Passes (ORCA card), and thanked Nutrition Services staff. At Covington Elementary, they celebrated a principal's birthday.
During the week of October 10-14, National School Lunch Week, we recognize our Nutrition Services staff for their work in supporting student success. Studies show eating a nutritious lunch can lead to better cognitive function. It could also improve students' ability to conceptualize and solve problems.

We appreciate our Nutrition Services Staff for the difference they make in the lives of students every day.
Left to right: Superintendent Vela, Kentlake Nutrition Services Staff Devona and Lauren Hinch
We were able to participate in celebrating Principal Ryan Preis' birthday during our visit to Covington Elementary School. October is National Principal's Month and I express my sincere thanks for our principals' dedication to supporting students, guiding staff, and administering schools.
Photo right: Principal Ryan Preis,
Covington Elementary School
Students reading in Ms. Horton's class at Kent Laboratory Academy
I also visited Kent Laboratory Academy last week where I observed Ms. Lisa Horton’s wonderful idea to teach reading through a Reading Café and Book Tasting. Students were intent on their reading and learning. This is our focus and our vision, building bridges to learning, every student, every voice, every day.
School Bus Safety
As we begin our second month of school, it is important to learn and be reminded of school bus safety tips. October 17-21 is School Bus Safety Week and we thank our Transportation Team for their service in transporting students to and from schools every day. Please watch this short video and share it with your children and students.