by Sara 

Blaine’s outgoing principal says “thank you” to Magnolia


A letter of gratitude to the community from Heather Swanson:

It was early August six years ago and I had literally stepped off a plane, only hours before, to find myself in a non descript room hidden behind the Land Of Cubicles known as the District office, we were interviewing for a new principal at Blaine.  As I tried to stay awake through what seemed to be endless conversation I began to wonder, “Why can’t I take this on?”  Fast forward six years, I am embarking on a new adventure, one that is allowing me the space to make some life choices. There is no doubt that I would not be able to take this risk without everything that I have learned from all of you along the way.

I have learned the power of commitment. A shared commitment to a common goal…. Educating OUR children.  As a collective we have become one of the top performing schools in the state.  That comes from surrounding ourselves with people who love math, idolize authors, work tirelessly to save the environment, and dream of far off lands. It is joy in music and inspiration in art, it is a physical body nurtured.  It is mutual trust and respect.

I have learned bravery in standing tall for our beliefs and what is important. In these times of change, both locally and globally, we stand tall on the belief that a strong community supports the fragile, and that a stellar educational program  will always level the playing field. We do in fact want all our students to have equal access to the world.

I have learned the audacity to dream different and dream big. Our students are amazing and have the unbelievable capacity to dream.  I will carry with me stories of triumph, hard work, sadness and great joy.  I count myself lucky to have been able to watch students grow from Kindergarten to sixth grade, from Middle School students into High School students.   The small moments that I have had represent an immense amount of respect and caring.

I have learned the intellectual capacity to challenge and change.  As we worked to build a community school, I was pushed and confronted with difficulties in many ways.  I discovered that change while sometimes scary only opens up new opportunities.  My thinking and who I am very different now than it was when I first started. I owe this to all of you.

As I move out into the world, I travel with the gifts of strength, courage, confidence and friendship. I can’t thank you enough for your support of me, and your belief in this amazing school that is Catharine Blaine K-8.



If you would like to follow my travels:

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  1. That was a horribly written letter that made little sense.

    I wish her well on her endeavors, which I hope do not include public correspondence.

    1. I have posted often on my opinion of Seattle schools.  My son is in his late twenties, with a fine new job and now considering family and a home purchase…and having us do childcare at the outset.  I cannot in good conscience suggest he buy in Magnolia.  We can do infantcare for him, but once it comes to real schooling there is no choice but to go to the Eastside.  The schools here and the people who teach in them are fine human beings, but poorly educated themselves.  I’ll suggest my grandchildren come here for baseball.

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