School Board hires new superintendent


Denise Juneau is the city’s first Native American superintendent.

From Staff Reports

In the wake of Larry Nyland’s contract ending in June, the Seattle School Board unanimously voted to hire the first Native American superintendent in the city’s history. Denise Juneau was selected from a pool of 63 candidates that was narrowed down to just three finalists.

The decision is an important one as the new leader of Washington’s largest school district will be responsible for closing the opportunity gap among students of color and managing the budget for Seattle Public Schools. Under Nyland, there was some improvement, but there is more work to be done.

Juneau said she is up for the challenge.

“I am ready to work with the school board to help them achieve their goals of educational equity in outcomes, closing the opportunity gaps, robust engagement with community and parents, and providing a quality education for all students,” Juneau said in a statement released via SPS.

This is the district’s third superintendent in just six years and its eighth in the last 20 years. Science teacher Peter Henry, who is an active member of the Seattle Education Association (SEA), the district’s teacher union, said he hopes the new leader is committed to staying for an extended period of time.

“I hope that she stays for more than three years and becomes our permanent superintendent because in my whole teaching career, no superintendent lasted more than three years, and we need stability,” Henry said.

Juneau is Seattle Native American superintendent; she is also openly gay. Henry sees this as a plus.

“I like that she comes from a background with students that haven’t been served well. She could have ideas that can help students with non-traditional background.”

Juneau’s contract goes into effect on July 1.

Staff reporter Maria Nguyen contributed to this story.