Ahoy! Welcome to Twin Lakes Elementary School, Home of the Mariners.
I am honored and humbled to serve as Principal of Twin Lakes Elementary School. I come to Twin Lakes with twenty years experience in education, which has been shaped by deep commitments to social justice and equity and a passion for preparing each child regardless of race, class, ethnicity, language background, or disability, for a life of endless possibilities.
As a first generation college graduate from Detroit where I studied history, Spanish, and education in the context of extreme poverty, hopelessness, and despair, I know the difference that education can make. Without it, children are sentenced to lives of poverty. My Detroit experience filled me with desire to be amerchant of hope, drawing me to teach and lead in diverse communities at all grade levels with a focus on academic acceleration. I have worked in Detroit, Mexico, on the reservation of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, and in cities like Tacoma, where I live.
My P-12 experience includes serving as teacher, administrator, planner, grant writer, family resource specialist, parent educator, early childhood program director, instructional coach, and technical assistance provider for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Coalition of Essential Schools NW. My higher education experience includes teaching graduate classes in Seattle’s University of Washington’s Teacher Education Program and serving as Lead Teaching Assistant. My non-profit experience includes developing education & evaluation programs for the NW Leadership Foundation, United Way, and First Five Fundamentals. In each context, Dewey’s words make sense, “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy.”
Although I’ve done a lot in the field of education, I can tell you that nothing compares to the amazing experience of serving as the Principal of Twin Lakes Elementary! I simply love the work I do every day with every Twin Lakes child, parent, and staff member! Since becoming a Mariner, I have fully invested my head, heart, and hands to build on Twin Lakes’ accomplishments. The 2013-14 school year brought forth 16 new staff members, a new set of academic standards, a new district assessment system, a new electronic grade book, a new set of school-wide behavior expectations, and a new teacher-principal evaluation system.
In addition to forming relationships with new faculty members, much of our efforts this year have focused on implementation of three major initiatives—PBIS, CCSS, and TPEP (see explanations below)—with thevision that every Twin child receives a world class education in a safe, engaging, and culturally responsive school. Though much has changed this year at Twin, one thing remains the same—students, faculty, and parents love the Twin Lakes Elementary community!
Working together, Twin Lakes families and staff, make it possible to anchor standards and teach children to yearn for the vast and endless sea of learning.
In service and looking forward,
Cherlyn Pijanowski, Ph.D.
Principal, Twin Lakes Elementary School