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Danforth & L4L Program Updates


Washington Achievement Awards have been announced and this year’s recipients include two current L4L students. Principals Ailene Baxter (L4L, Cohort 4) of Ferrucci Junior High School and Kenny Renner-Singer (L4L, Cohort 4) of Icicle River Middle School will be accepting the awards on behalf of their school. Ferrucci Junior High School is being honored for Special Recognition in Closing the Achievement Gap and Icicle River Middle School is accepting the award for the second year in a row for “Overall Excellence.” The State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions’ rigorous selection process awards schools whose overall two-year average puts them in the top five percent Washington’s Achievement Index.

A number of Danforth and Leadership for Learning alumni lead schools that were also represented in this year’s Achievement Awards, including:

Overall Excellence


Clyde Hill* (Bellevue).  Principal: Jen Benson, Danforth 19 alum
Concord International (Seattle).  Principal: Norma Zavala, Danforth 14 & L4L 1 alum
Frantz Coe (Seattle). Principal: Tate Loftin, Danforth 21 alum
Fidalgo* (Anacortes). Principal: Tara Dowd, Danforth 8 & L4L 2 alum
Mead  (Lake Washington). Principal: Sandy Klein, Danforth 22 alum
Parkwood+ (Shoreline). Principal: Laura Ploudre, Danforth 10 alum
Schmitz Park+ (Seattle). Principal: Gerrit Kischner, Danforth 16 alum
Spiritridge (Bellevue). Principal Kellea Taylor, Dnforth 9 alum
Vinland (North Kitsap). Principal Charles McCabe, Danforth 10 alum
Wellington+ (Northshore). Principal Marsha Moore, Danforth 17 alum
Woodridge (Bellevue). Principal Laura Tollefson, Danforth 16 alum


Gateway MS (Everett).  Principal Peter Scott, current L4L3 student.
Highland MS (Bellevue). Principal Anissa Bereano, Danforth 16 alum


Bellevue (Bellevue)*+. Principal David Wellington, Danforth 14 alum & current L4L3 student.
Juanita (Lk Wash)+. Principal Paul Luczak, Danforth 2 alum.
Newport (Bellevue). Principal Bethany Spinler, Danforth 17 alum.


Medina Elementary* (Bellevue). Principal Cheri Bortleson, Danforth 16 alum
Mirror Lake Elementary* (Federal Way). Principal Maggie O’Sullivan, Danforth 16 alum
Stevenson Elementary* (Bellevue). Principal Christy Lindquist, Danforth 19 alum


Schmitz Park Elem.+ (Seattle). Principal: Gerrit Kischner, Danforth 16 alum
International School+ (Bellevue). Principal: Jen Rose, Danforth 15 alum & current L4L4 student.


International School+ (Bellevue). Principal: Jen Rose, Danforth 15 alum & current L4L4 student.


Bellevue HS*+ (Bellevue). Principal David Wellington, Danforth 14 alum & current L4L3 student.
Juanita HS+ (Lk Wash). Principal Paul Luczak, Danforth 2 alum.
Newport HS (Bellevue). Principal Bethany Spinler, Danforth 17 alum.

Closing Achievement Gaps

Chase Lake Elem (Edmonds). Principal Karen Nilson, Danforth 12 alum.
Juanita Elem+ (Lk Wash). Principal Paul Luczak, Danforth 2 alum.
Maywood Hills Elem (Northshore). Principal David Hoffman, Danforth 15 alum.
Olympic View Elem (Oak Harbor). Principal Martha Adams, Danforth 6 alum.
Parkwood+ (Shoreline). Principal: Laura Ploudre, Danforth 10 alum
Woodin Elem (Northshore). Principal Jill Crivello, Danforth 13 alum.

*Indicates a 2009 & 2010 award recipient
+Received recognition in multiple categories

In addition to those listed above, many of our graduates serve in recognized schools in other leadership roles, including assistant principals, instructional coaches, and more. Our apologies for any omissions or errors.

Golden Apple Award winners

This year’s Golden Apple Award winners recognize three Danforth and Leadership for Learning alumni. Dubbed as the “Academy Awards” for educators, the Golden Apple Awards honors successful teaching models and programs among Washington state educators. Since 1992, awards recipients are featured in a TV special that will air on public television stations across the state. About the recipients:

  • Steven Gering (L4L, Cohort 2), North Central High School, Spokane, Washington. In central Spokane, principal Steven Gering has transformed the culture at a high school that was once content with believing some of its students were just not cut out for college. Over the past five years, the school has seen almost a 20 percent increase in the number of students pursuing a two- or four-year college education, one of the biggest improvements in the state.
  • Laurel Anderson (Danforth, Cohort 14) Sultan Elementary School, Sultan, Washington. Laurel secured funding for and designed the Elementary Math Lesson Study Project, a year-long professional development training for elementary teachers, focused on mathematics.  Thanks to Laurel’s leadership, mathematics instruction has improved across the Sultan School District, and teachers are already asking when their next learning opportunity will be.
  • State Street High School - Job Corps Sedro-Woolley, Washington, under the direction of Doug Walker (Danforth, Cohort 7). Principal Doug Walker oversees a nontraditional high school education program at Sedro-Woolley's State Street High School. His students are 16 to 24 years old, have dropped out of high school and are now taking part in a federal job training program. Many would be content to attain a G.E.D. and basic skills through Job Corps, but a growing number are encouraged by Doug and his staff to earn their high school diploma -- and a brighter future.

Meredith Honig, L4L core faculty and associate professor in EDLPS, was honored as a “thought leader” by the American Association of School Administrators. Thought leaders are “exemplary speakers brought to the National Conference on Education to discuss critical issues that affect students, leaders, communities and school systems. In her Thought Leader session at the AASA National Conference on Education, Honig co-presented a session in February entitled: “Central Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning Improvement.”

The Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools announced that Jeff Clark (Cohort 12), principal of Denny International Middle School, is this year’s recipient of the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence for his outstanding leadership at the school.

The award is given to an exceptional secondary school principal and includes a $50,000 grant to support student success at the principal’s school. Read more here! Clark, in his sixth year at Denny Middle, led the effort to bring an international program to his school, which includes classes in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Spanish. Under his leadership, Denny’s test scores are going up. Last year, Clark said, Denny improved more than any other middle school or K-8 in the district. Clark said he plans to use the $50,000 prize to buy one book for every student to recognize their hard work, to purchase musical instruments, and to start an endowment fund that can be used to help pay field-trip or other fees.  Read Seattle Times Article

Although still early in the hiring season, Danforth Cohort 23 students are already making a strong showing! To date, seven students have been named into new leadership roles for the 2011-2012 academic year. Many local districts have not yet made hiring decisions for the upcoming year.  We expect more great news in the upcoming weeks and months! Cohort 23 students will complete the Danforth Program in June.

New Principals include:

  • Karen Barker, Emily Dickinson Elementary (Lake Washington School District)
  • Beth Hamilton, Medina Elementary (Bellevue School District)
  • Brian Teppner, Somerset Elementary (Bellevue School District)
  • Janie O’Brien, Hilltop Elementary (Edmonds School District)

New Assistant Principals include:

  • Tim Krieger, Tillicum Middle School (Bellevue School District)
  • Sean Martin, Liberty High School (Issaquah School District)

Other new leadership positions include:

  • Bruce Kelly, district level leadership (Kent School District)

cathy thompsonLeadership for Learning alum Dr. Cathy Thompson was named as Seattle Public Schools’ new Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.  She most recently served as Executive Director of Instructional Services in Seattle, preceded by numerous years as an elementary principal in Seattle.


In July, L4L core faculty member Margery Ginsberg, will be releasing her new book Transformative Professional Learning: A System to Enhance Teacher and Student Motivation.In July, L4L core faculty member Margery Ginsberg, will be releasing her new book Transformative Professional Learning: A System to Enhance Teacher and Student Motivation. The book emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation and respect for cultural diversity for a transformative approach to school improvement. She proposes a professional learning experience in which teachers experience the same motivational conditions that they can use to inspire their students. Professional development program’s processes that are described in the book include: shadowing students, home visits, teacher collaborative lesson design, and collaborative data analysis that include students, families and community members.



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