Emotions were high Tuesday night as Edmonds School District students, staff and officials said said farewell to Edmonds School Board President Diana White, who is retiring from the board at the end of November.
For eight years, White held the board’s Position 5 seat and has served as board president since 2014. During her tenure, White has been an active volunteer, serving in various capacities within the community. She and her husband are the parents of four children; one current student and three graduates of the Edmonds School District.
In February, White announced that she would not seek re-election for as the board president. Instead, she campaigned for Position 6 on the Edmonds City Council, but lost to opponent Susan Paine, also a former Edmonds School Board member.
At the school board’s Nov. 26 business meeting, Superintendent Kris McDuffy joined district staff in speaking to White’s time serving on the board.
“It’s such an honor for us to recognize such an incredible community leader for selfless service over the past eight-plus years,” McDuffy said. “Let alone all that she has contributed to this community for decades.”
White has been an active participant in the Edmonds School District and community, serving as a member of Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling’s Advisory Group, participating on the Civic Park Planning Committee and chairing the Hazel Miller Foundation Board. She was also a founding member of the Edmonds Diversity Commission and created the Teachers of Color Foundation, which is dedicated to increasing the diversity of educators in the Edmonds School District.
During her time as Diversity Commission chair, White helped advocate for an Indigenous Peoples Day in Edmonds. As an enrolled member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians, she has advocated for issues and initiatives related to indigenous peoples.
During the meeting’s public comments, Lynnwood High School senior Samiah Brown read a poem she wrote titled “Whitewashed,” which she dedicated to White for her work to make the school district more diverse.
A visibly moved White said serving on the school board changed her life and that her work championing underrepresented students would continue.
“Thank you for being part of my journey and for showing me where I need to focus,” she said. “And you can bet I’ll keep moving on.”
In other business, two Edmonds Elementary School fifth-grade students presented what they learned about engineering design through the district’s recently adopted Amplify science curriculum. During the presentation, E.J. Manning and Sophia McAuley explained how they took on the role of scientists with hands-on learning exercises to make model gondolas. The lesson was based on students in Cambodia who use a zipline to get to school. After creating the model ziplines, students used eggs to test how effective their ziplines were at transportation.
“We can use this engineering design process again and again to solve new ideas,” Manning said. “When we practice this thinking now, we are preparing to be scientists of the future.”
Prior to the meeting, the board announced that it would be removing the second reading for the proposed Units of Study in reading curriculum. At its Nov. 12 business meeting, the board heard feedback from teachers, parents and students, including those who said they opposed adopting the curriculum because it did not meet the needs of all the district’s students.
During the meeting, the board requested district staff revisit the concerns from teachers who piloted the curriculum in their classes at the start of the year. The board will discuss the proposed curriculum at a January work session.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton