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Message from the Superintendent: Leadership Update

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

I’d like to share some reflections with you about some changes happening to our organizational structure and key leadership positions. These aren’t new positions, but I wanted to share some information about retirements and the repositioning of some roles in order to increase our ability to deliver upon The Bellingham Promise.

  • Jay Jordan will be coming back to Bellingham to serve as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, filling Rob McElroy’s position.
  • Kristi Dominguez and her position of Director of Teaching and Learning for Early Childhood Education will be elevated to Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.
  • Jackie Brawley will move from interim to ongoing Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations.

This is Rob McElroy’s last year, after nearly 40 years serving this district, most recently as the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.

In replacing the position held by Rob McElroy, I’m excited to announce that Jay Jordan (soon to be Dr. Jay Jordan) will be coming back to Bellingham as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning.  Jay was a phenomenal principal at Shuksan Middle School, leading that school into some exciting times of increased success.  Jay took a leave three years ago to go back to school at Harvard University.  After two years of study, he has been serving in a leadership residency at Cambridge Public Schools and will be graduating with his doctorate in education this May.  Jay brings incredible experience and knowledge that will benefit all of our students, staff and community.

One of the ways we close the opportunity gap for students is by our investment in Early Childhood Education, a Key Strategy of The Promise.  Our work has included such bold initiatives as offering full-day kindergarten for all students; investing in Promise K for our students who do not have access to a high quality preschool program; expanding our GRADS program, which supports our teenage parents and their children, to three of our high schools; increasing more equitable parent education opportunities; and transforming our elementary schools to PreK through fifth grade schools.

Kristi Dominguez has been the outstanding leader of this work, both locally and at the state level.  Kristi has incredible passion for serving all kids and is skilled at developing and implementing programs that are the hallmark of another of the Key Strategies of The Promise – Innovation and Flexibility.  Kristi has also demonstrated great skill in working with community partners.  The Promise states it takes a community to achieve all we want for our kids and Kristi works tirelessly to bring in partners, find where our missions align and build capacity through the synergy that can come from multiple organizations working together.

Given how important both early childhood education and community partnerships are to our work, we will be repositioning the Early Childhood Director position with Kristi at the lead to the Executive Team level. This will bring early childhood to the table on par with the rest of our K-12 system.  Kristi will serve as Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, working with other key leaders to support our entire instructional program, adding an even stronger focus on early childhood and community partnerships.

The last announcement I’d like to share is with regards to our Communications Department. The loss of Tanya Rowe was a huge tragedy to our district.  It dropped the district office really to our knees.  But thanks to the support of so many, we have rebounded, and we are making improvements each day.  I’m excited to announce that I have asked Jackie Brawley to move from Interim to ongoing Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations.  For those of you who have worked with Jackie, you know that she is the perfect answer to our leadership question. Having been hired, trained and developed by Tanya, I know Jackie is ready for this next career challenge.  She is outstanding at communications, she cares about kids and we are thrilled to have such talent within our organization.

Thanks to each of you for taking the time to read this. My goal is to be as transparent as I can in these important decisions.  If you have wonders, questions or thoughts, let me know.

Please join me in offering congratulations to those new to these positions!


Greg Baker