BISD selects new officers

Change and joy were the themes at the first Bainbridge Island School Board meeting of the year held Jan. 12.

The board elected new officers, received an update on the Wilkes Elementary renaming process, and announced kindergarten registration information nights. After serving three years as board president, Christine Hulet passed the gavel to Mark Emerson, who was elected president with Sanjay Pal the new vice president. In recognition of School Board Appreciation Month, superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen gifted the board members with jigsaw puzzles.

Bang-Knudsen said this year’s theme is about bringing back joy. He said he saw a lot of it before the holiday when Spirit Week was widely embraced.

The superintendent shared the district’s efforts to prepare for emergencies and highlighted a training day facilitated by the city’s Emergency Management coordinator, Anne LaSage, who discussed hazards ranging from wildfires to earthquakes.

“She really gave some great examples of how that could impact our schools and our students. But, now we’re going to work through interagency cooperation to ensure safety and continuity of our schools,” Bang-Knudsen said, adding the city has connections with local FBI agents who spoke with the district about human hazards. “The lesson that I’ve learned out of that was that many of the tools that we’re using are really focusing on social-emotional help and making sure that there’s an adult to connect with kids.”

Wilkes renaming

Amii Thompson, executive director of Elementary Teaching & Learning, gave an update on the renaming of Wilkes Elementary School.

Thompson shared the roster of the 27 community members on the renaming committee that include teachers, current and former students, parents, and district employees and administrators. “We have a very large representative committee by design, in order to get a large amount of input from a variety of stakeholders with their voices,” Thompson said.

She said the community is gathering criteria to select an appropriate name. The process will be concluded Jan. 27, and the team is expected to bring forth up to five names that have been vetted on Feb. 16. The committee will contact the families associated with the names to get permission to use them, and to work with the Suquamish Tribe to make sure that a name is not offensive.

More than 50 suggestions have been submitted. “We’re looking at them in batches to make sure we see each one,” said Thompson, who mentioned that one suggestion is “Frog Rock.”

Kindergarten registration

Parents are invited to attend the first Kindergarten Information Night Feb. 9 via Zoom at The event will cover the registration process and highlight all the kindergarten programs, including Choice, Mosaic, Odyssey and El Velero.