Thanks for checking out Puget Sound Community School!
Like everyone else, this past eighteen months has required stretching our thesaurus pretty thin in order to find the many ways of saying all the big things: Roller-coaster (dramatic, ever-shifting, crazy), unprecedented (unparalleled, extraordinary, unusual), pivot (swivel, revolve, trunnel), flexible (pliable, supple, resilient)...
...and, well, we’ve said it all. There just aren’t any more words!
Just kidding. At PSCS, that simply can’t be the end of the story. Although we have exhausted many useful adjectives and verbs in clarifying what we want to say this past year, we are resolute in our mission to continue BEING all we say we are.
This may be most apparent in the recent shift in PSCS' fundamental structure. Last April, in an effort to build upon the collaborative and equitable vision of the school, PSCS parents, staff, and Board agreed it was time to invest in non-hierarchical administration and collaborative leadership, rather than in a traditional Head of School or Executive Director. This decision included the formation of an Administrative Team, composed of our three Administrative Directors, Tim Ichien, PSCS Director of Program (5 years at PSCS), Sieglinde Levery-Nicholas, Director of Community Engagement (10 years), and Samuel Mitchell, Director of School Operations & Registrar (8 years). Collectively, our Admin Team holds ~23 years of experience at Puget Sound Community School.
The Admin Team functions in close cooperation with the PSCS Teaching Staff, and most decisions are made as a full staff or by committees therein. Our Teaching Staff is comprised of passionate and creative educators, each of whom are Advisors, student advocates, and exceptional collaborators.
We recognize we are not inventing the wheel here. We have spent the last several months culling through resources from those who’ve been in this work for a while, including Young Women Empowered, The Whidbey Institute, Community-Centric Fundraising, Kapka Cooperative School, and nonprofitAF. Each of us are ready to DO independent education differently. These collaborative shifts are an extension of our efforts to create a more equitable world and send PSCS graduates into adulthood more prepared to advocate for themselves and for others. As Tim said recently, “This IS the equity work.”
Over the years, the philosophy of PSCS has ensured students 1. have a say in their classes, activities, and pathways to adulthood, 2. can be active, non-competitive, participants in their own education, and 3. are consistently engaged in coming to a deeper understanding of privilege, equity, civics, and where we all fit in a global context. Now, as collaborators, and especially during Covid times, we will continue meeting students where they are, intentionally centering the mental health and well-being of our entire community, and graduating young people who know themselves and are fired up to take part in the world—at whatever level they are meant to.
As we begin to write this next chapter in PSCS history, we want to appreciate all those who’ve brought us here. The path we’re on has been sighted by many past leaders, including Andy Smallman and Melinda Shaw, PSCS co-founders, and our most recent Head of School. We must also appreciate past and current board and committee members, staff members, and parents. We are humbled that we have been entrusted to carry PSCS into it’s next iteration.
Tim, Sieglinde, & Sam
PSCS Admin Team________________
Tim Ichien | Director of Program
Sieglinde Levery-Nicholas | Director of Community Engagement
Samuel Mitchell | Director of School Operations & Registrar