“There is something about this community. We have many diverse perspectives on the world, yet everyone comes together for a cause. I have never heard so many people ask, “What can we do to help?”Dr. Becky Meyer
In July this year, Dr. Becky Meyer returned “home” as superintendent of Lake Pend Oreille School District. As a member of PAFE’s Board of Directors, we welcome her deep experience, enthusiasm, and innovative ideas and wanted to take this opportunity to let you get to know her, her short- and long-term plans for our school district, and what her outside perspective brings to this community.
First, a quick look at her experience in education: Dr. Meyer served LPOSD beginning in 1994 as a K-12 counselor throughout the district through 2001, then as principal of Lake Pend Oreille High School until 2006 when she was hired as the Sandpoint High School principal until 2014.
Meyer was assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for LPOSD from 2014 to 2016 and is returning to Sandpoint after working as superintendent of the Lakeland Joint School District the last six years. (You can learn more in the Sandpoint Reader.)
When we asked Dr. Meyer about her priorities, here is what she shared with us:
Tom Albertson and his predecessors, including Shawn Woodward, Dick Cvitanich, and their leadership teams, have left LPOSD in a strong position, both financially and academically, with an incredibly dedicated faculty and staff. What’s more, they have the good fortune to be operating with the stability of an indefinite levy.
The levy is something many school districts don’t have, and it means Dr. Meyer and her leadership team aren’t distracted every two years, having to go out to the voters to campaign. It also means they can plan for the future. (Before, it was difficult to plan when uncertain if the levy would pass.)
With this strong financial position as a foundation, Dr. Meyer is looking ahead, and while her idea list is long, here are a few things they are focusing on:
The Short-Term: School Safety and Culture and Increased Communication
Nationally, school safety is a big concern, and here in Bonner County, we share that concern. Feedback from parents and staff confirms safety is a high priority. The challenge is how to balance the need for safety and independence. How do we avoid a situation where people feel locked down? Rather than metal detectors and fences, the District Safety Task Force is implementing Controlled Access technology that limits points of entry with badges and scanning technology.
As part of Dr. Meyer’s Superintendent Transition Plan, comprehensive and collaborative communication was identified as a top priority for the year. Dr. Meyer has the added support of Kristin Hawkins, Community Relations Liaison, a role that is funded by PAFE.
Long-Term: Career and Technical Education Campus
Becky’s second strategic priority is a small immediate step toward a bigger, longer-term vision: a Career and Technical Education (CTE) campus that starts now by enhancing the existing CTE program at Sandpoint High School.
“The demand for CTE programs is increasing, and we’ve seen that in many ways, one of which is the huge reception and enthusiasm for Construction Combine last year,” Becky told us. If we can prepare these students in our high school CTE programs, they can graduate industry- and work-ready, which helps them and our local tradespeople who are all short on labor. We can quickly see how this vision benefits the entire community. Especially if you’ve tried to have any work performed in your home lately.
We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Meyer and helping the school district achieve this vision. We believe in Big Ideas (it’s how PAFE started), and we’ve adopted the CTE program as our Big Idea for this year.
As an aside, we appreciated hearing her perspective on the support PAFE provides to the school district it felt noteworthy to share with you.
“I’m the Region One superintendent president,” said Becky,” so I’m on a weekly call with the six regions in our state – their superintendents and region presidents. When I tell people there is a foundation here that operates from a $5 million endowment and funds teacher grants, strategic initiatives, and big ideas, they are blown away.
I have seen organizations older than PAFE awarding $2000 in grants, and that’s great; I don’t mean to diminish that, but simply put, what PAFE is doing is unrivaled throughout the entire state.
Having an organization like PAFE is something I hope this community doesn’t take for granted.”
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Becky Meyer on her new role. We’re excited about what the future holds.