Committee’s decisions keep school running smoothly



Cleveland’s Building Leadership Team discuss an upcoming schedule change on Dec. 4. Members are Bryan Gordon, left, Catherine Brown, Teresa Scribner, Paige Wakamatsu Wilson, Napsiyah Sallee, Evin Shinn, Andrew Cornel and Jessica Truong. Not pictured are Logan Reichert and Megan Claus.

Molly House

It’s not a sandwich filled with bacon, lettuce and tomato. The Cleveland Building Leadership Team (BLT) is the behind-the-scenes team responsible for making the bulk of the important decisions that keep a school running smoothly.

This select group of teachers, staff members and students meet to make collaborative decisions regarding matters of Cleveland, while respecting Seattle School District Policies, rules, contractual obligations and procedures (according to the official by-laws of the Cleveland BLT). The team takes on issues concerning the budget, assemblies, and special schedules.  

Megan Claus, academic intervention specialist and principal intern, is a member of the BLT. 

“The Building Leadership Team has meetings twice a month, and we talk about decisions that need to be made for Cleveland,” Claus said. “They’re often things that make sense for a small group of staff members to talk about before they’re presented to the whole staff.” 

The BLT handles any event that may disrupt the regular school schedule. Representation and diversity are important factors in a school BLT, because the committee is responsible for representing the entirety of the school in its decisions. 

“I think that our BLT includes a really good representation of teachers and staff members, and we also have students this year, so I think that’s been really powerful,” Claus said. “The BLT does a really good job asking questions and trying to include the voice of all of the people they represent in the decisions that are made.” 

Seniors Andrew Cornel and Jessica Truong serve as the student representatives. They were chosen because of their involvement in student government, having exemplified leadership skills. Truong hopes she can give the BLT a real student perspective.

“I feel like it’s really good that we are in the BLT … if we weren’t, then we wouldn’t get to see what they were doing, and how the students could be more involved,” Truong said. “For me, I personally like being in the meetings, because I get to talk … since I’m a student, I already know what goes on at Cleveland, and I can put myself in the students’ shoes.” 

Napsiyah Sallee, SoED counselor for 10th, 11th and 12th grades, is new to BLT. She describes the team as having a diverse mix of genders and races. She also thinks student voices are an important part of the team. Sallee believes that well-rounded representation is a vital part of the BLT.

As a counselor, Sallee hopes that she can shed light on social-emotional issues and scheduling topics as they come up in the meetings. For example, the BLT decided to have a school-wide play about anxiety and the effects it has on students. The play will be half an hour long and include a half hour Q&A session for students. 

“I’d hope it would normalize it, and say that, you know, students are going through modern types of issues,” Sallee said. “I think having students being more aware that anxiety is an issue.” 

The Cleveland BLT is going to a two-day conference early next year to learn strategies about decision-making, and how to be stronger as a team.