Minutes from Board of Trustees Meeting

January 16, 2019

Conference Call



Board Members Participating:  Greg Szabo, Lily Clifton, Dennis Mathews, Brent Stark, Keri Clark, Reg George, Berl Colley, and Nancy McDaniel.


Ex-Officio Members Participating:  Jim Eccles (Washington Federation of State Employees Local #1225), Joleen Ferguson (Washington Council of the Blind), and Marci Carpenter (National Federation of the Blind of Washington).


Ex-Officio Members Absent:  Krista Bulger (Parent Representative) and Jennifer Butcher (Teacher Representative).


WSSB Staff Members Participating:  Mr. Scott McCallum (Superintendent) and Janet Kurz (recording secretary).


January 16, 2019 – 7:30-8:10pm                                              

Nancy called the meeting to order at 7:30pm. 


Business Meeting:

Old Business:

*      Approve board meeting minutes of November 9, 2018. Brent moved to approve the minutes as submitted; Keri seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.


New Business:


Superintendent’s Report

Scott reviewed the following: 

o   Highlights from November: 

·         The student-related issue that was occurring in November was resolved and the student is residing back in their home community and getting the help they need.  Scott feels that the student may apply for enrollment and the administration will review the request when everyone is ready.  Nancy remarked that she felt that the situation was handled professionally and efficiently. 

·         Listening sessions were held in November.  A great amount of work has been put into open lines of communication with staff and there was a lot of positive feedback received during the listening sessions. 

·         The Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA) staff (lobbyist and representative) met with Scott to discuss the disparity in salary between WSSB teachers and Vancouver School District teachers.  The WPEA lobbyist is proposing legislation and has forwarded that draft to Rick Hauan, Director at the Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss (CDHL) and Scott.  Scott has since forwarded this to the policy staff in Olympia.

o   Highlights from December: 

·         In December, Scott revisited our plans to hold another Strategic Plan update process.  Scott contacted the person who had worked with the WSSB in prior years, however they were not signed up as a contractor through the Washington State bid system and has since decided that the process for getting approval through the state was too extensive.  There is a large list of vendors who can provide this service, so Scott is moving forward with the next steps in this process.    

·         In December the Governor’s proposed budget was released.  All of WSSB’s requests were included in that version of the budget with the exception of the new Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) transition center.  Scott was encouraged to seek funding for a pre-design of the building and the WSSB will do so during the supplemental budget process (summer 2019).    

o   Highlights from January:

·         On January 15, Scott attended the Governor’s annual “State of the State” address.  There have been rumors regarding Governor Inslee’s potential run for President and articles have been published regarding this.  The cabinet members were informed that the articles were false and that they would be notified if Governor Inslee is intending to run for President.

·         Also, on January 15, Scott, along with other education-related agencies, presented to the House Education Committee.  The committee was interested in learning more about the history of the WSSB. Before the presentations were heard by the committee, the Chair of the House Education committee publicly thanked the WSSB and CDHL for hosting them in September 2018 and remarked how wonderful our programs were.  In addition, Representative Stonier stated that the state schools contribute greatly to the diversity and vibrancy of our community in Clark County.  Representative Tomiko-Santos has expressed her concerns that the WSSB is a separate state agency that reports directly to the Governor and that all other educational entities reported to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). 

·         Berl stated that during the House Education Committee’s visit in September 2018, two Clark County representatives approached Berl on his way out of the auditorium and were very complimentary about the WSSB. 

·         Scott is enrolled in the Superintendent’s program through Washington State University, along with 50 other enrollees.  Scott offered the cohort to meet at the WSSB for one of their classes that is held in Vancouver.  Both Shauna Bilyeu, Superintendent at the CDHL and the WSSB will be hosting the session on March 15-16.  Scott will be given the opportunity to take the class on a tour and provide information regarding our school and services. WSU has agreed to do this annually. Brent feels this is great because a lot of people don’t know that the state schools exist, and it will help get the word out. 


Committee Reports:

*      Education Committee (Marci-Chair)

*      Buildings and Grounds Committee (Nancy-Chair)

o   Scott provided a brief update regarding the campus.  The WSSB hired a landscaping crew to assist with trimming the larger trees.  Rob Tracey, Facilities Manager, applied for a grant that would provide solar installation on the roof of the Irwin-education building. WSSB is continuing to work with the state to secure an emergency alert system. 

*      Management Committee (Nancy-Chair)

o   Nancy and Berl will be working on the superintendent’s evaluation which is due by June 2019. 

*      Legislative Committee (Berl-Chair)

o   Berl stated that Scott covered potential legislative issues.  Scott said he will keep folks up to date and will reach out to the legislative committee if there are any issues. 



*      Lily Clifton introduced herself and said she was excited to join the Board.  Lily is excited to learn more about everyone’s role.  She currently lives and works in Seattle and uses she/her pronouns.  Lily has had personal engagements with both the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and the WSSB in a variety of capacities.  Lily attended the Seattle Public Schools and post high school, moved to Boston for four years.  Jim said he noted that Lily was a hockey fan and looks forward to talking to her about that.  Reg congratulated Lily on her appointment to the board.  Marci looks forward to working with Lily.

*      Jim Eccles said that the Lions Swim Meet was going to be held on January 24 from 6:30-8pm. 

*      Janet reminded the Board that the next meeting will be held on March 15 at the WSSB campus and the start time would be 9am. 


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:10pm.  The next Board meeting will be held on March 15 at 9am (please note change in time for meeting) at the WSSB campus.




Nancy McDaniel, Chair                                                                 Scott McCallum, Superintendent



Superintendent’s Report – January 2019


Each month I will provide, in bulleted format, a list of the more significant activities of the Superintendent’s office.  For each month, I will describe a highlight or two in more detail. If at any point you would like more information or have questions, please do not hesitate to call, email, or schedule a time to meet in person.  I want to make sure that you have the information that you need to advise and guide what we do to meet the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired (BVI) throughout Washington State.



November 13:           Tour with Lions Low Vision Clinic interns

November 15:           Listening Sessions with staff

November 16-17:     Washington State University (WSU) Field Based Superintendent’s Certification Program (Spokane)

November 19:           Conference Call with Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB), Executive Director

November 20:           Meeting with Human Resources Manager to discuss Tuition Reimbursement/ Professional Development Policies/Procedures

November 27:           Meeting with Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA) Representatives regarding possible legislation

November 27:           Pacific Foundation for Blind Children (PFBC) – Board meeting

November 28:           Conference call with Rick Hauan, Center for Deafness and Hearing Loss (CDHL) and Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

November 29:           Tour with Guide Dogs for the Blind – student interns

November 29:           Conference Call – Access for All

November 30:           Meeting with Plant Manager and Business Office Manager – Alertus



Each year I have conducted “Listening Sessions” to provide staff an opportunity to share what is on their minds. I noticed that I included listening sessions in my update for you last year at this time, so this may sound familiar. The sessions have proven to be a valuable tool for communication and for building or strengthening my relationship with staff who I do not interact with on a daily basis. In light of the recent campus safety threats, I was anxious to hear from staff. Staff provided feedback, both constructive and complimentary.  I have shared feedback themes with the appropriate administrators, while maintaining anonymity, in order to seek improvement and change.


Additionally, I met with a representative from the union that represents our teachers, WPEA, and a lobbyist from WPEA to discuss a potential legislative fix to the continued teacher salary shortfall at the state schools. I have also been in contact with Washington State Human Resources and our agency assigned policy and budget analyst on this very same matter. At this point, the WPEA Lobbyist has shared a draft option with leadership from both WSSB and the CDHL, State HR, Agency-assigned budget and policy analysts.



December 4:         Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) Meeting – Olympia

December 6:         Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) – Board meeting (conference call)

December 7:         Meeting with Janet Kurz and Amanda Pizzo, Procurement regarding bids for Strategic Plan facilitator

December 7:         OCB – Board meeting

December 11:      Executive Cabinet/Small Agency Cabinet Meeting – Olympia

December 13:      ESD 112 Legislative Forum

December 13:      Tour with View Plus representative

December 14:      Clark County Superintendent’s meeting

December 14:      Executive Cabinet Holiday Reception – Governor’s Mansion

December 17:      Conference call with Board Chair – agenda set

December 18:      Administrative Review - Child Nutrition Program

December 20:      PFBC – Board meeting

December 20:      Soup/Supper event – winter holiday program

December 21:      Student assembly with Sean McCormick and Jennifer Langley



As you may recall from last year, we are planning to update the strategic plan currently in place for the agency.  The current plan is not actually out of date, as it was a 10-year plan created by Dr. Stenehjem with stakeholder input back in 2015. Our goal is to create a shorter-term plan, three to five years, with significant input from a variety of stakeholders. Initially, we had sought the services of the same facilitator who had worked with Dr. Stenehjem and the agency in the past, including on the most recent strategic plan. However, the process was put on hold due to time/budget constraints and our hope that our initial facilitator would have time to apply and be identified as a state-approved contractor. We have recently learned that this contractor has decided not to pursue with the paperwork required to become a state-approved contractor.  This news is unfortunate and we are currently reviewing options. There are many options on the state approved contractor list for strategic planning.  Once we have our plan set to move forward with updating our strategic plan, I will connect the Board of Trustees and Ex-Officio members for feedback and input.


The Governor’s budget has been announced.  WSSB asked for additional support beyond our basic appropriation for a full-time licensed clinical social worker or mental health therapist, state-required data-migration to the state owned cloud-servers, and increased allocation for the mandatory salary adjustment for teachers and subsequent compression-related increase for administrators.  Each of these requests were included in the Governor’s proposed budget. Additionally, on the capital side of our budget, we asked for the Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) Independence Center project to be funded at the Feasibility Study recommended $8.5 million dollar level.  This request was not supported in the Governor’s proposed budget and the agency was encouraged to seek funding for the pre-design and design during the upcoming supplemental request after the conclusion of this legislative session. Oftentimes, the Governor’s proposed budget can be seen as a high-water mark.  We will monitor budget proposals and potential fiscal impacts of bills introduced during the upcoming legislative session and keep you informed on any potential impacts to WSSB.



January 3:               CPR recertification class

January 3:               Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) – Board meeting (conference call)

January 4-5:          Washington State University (WSU) Field Based Superintendent’s Certification Program (Olympia)

January 8:               Washington State Educational Equity Summit for State-Level Policymakers and Leaders (Tumwater)

January 10:            Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) Meeting – Renton

January 11:            Clark County Superintendent’s Meeting

January 14:            Legislative meeting – sub cabinet – Education

January 15:            State of the State Address – Olympia

January 16:            Meeting with Facilities Manager and Business Manager regarding Facilities Manager transition plan



Happy New Year! January 14 marks the beginning of the 2019 Legislative session. We experience the long session (105 day) on odd numbered years.  The long session is important in that our biennial budget is determined and set.  I have been asked to present to the House Education Committee on Tuesday, January 15 in the afternoon following the Governor’s “State of the State” address earlier that day. The Committee Chair requested a short, five-minute, presentation about the functions, general duties and reporting requirements of WSSB, when and how WSSB was created, and where our authority originates as an agency.  The Chair also indicated that they have many new members since their visit to the school earlier this fall.  You may recall, the House Education Committee spent the afternoon at WSSB learning about our programs and services earlier this fall (September 20, 2018).  Leadership from CDHL has been asked to provide a similar presentation that same time and day.


In case you may be wondering where our authority originates, please check out Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 72.40 “State Schools for the Blind, Deaf, Sensory Handicapped”.  RCW 72.40 are the enabling laws for WSSB and CDHL.  Their roots lie in an 1886 Act of the Legislature of the Territory of Washington (Washington was not yet a State) that established a “school for deaf, mute, blind, and feeble-minded youth of Washington Territory”.  Students considered to be “feeble-minded” moved to another location around 1901. 1913 marked the official split and creation of WSSB and the Washington State School for the Deaf, later called the CDHL. The actual enabling laws (RCW 72.40) weren’t officially established until 1959.  Our enabling laws have further evolved and if you are ever interested in learning more about the wonderful history of WSSB, I would be happy to share what I know and share some of the amazing resources I have located and reviewed in preparation for my presentation to the legislative committee.



Meetings with department managers and administration team

PFBC meetings

Executive Cabinet meetings

Goal Council meetings

Clark County and Regional Superintendent meetings

NWABA Board meetings

UEB committee meetings

Oregon Commission for the Blind Board meetings

Washington DeafBlind Advisory Council meetings



As many of you know, I am currently actively enrolled in an Educational Leadership doctoral program that includes a Superintendent-specific training program.  I have just completed my first nine credits and have truly enjoyed the coursework, its application to my work on a regular basis, and the comradery with my classmates.  Sean McCormick, WSSB Director of On-Campus Programs, is also enrolled in the doctoral program.  This program, offered through Washington State University, is considered one of the premier training programs for Superintendents in Washington State.  Shauna Bilyeu, Superintendent from the Washington School for the Deaf, is also enrolled in this program. Shauna and I have offered to host this program at WSD and WSSB each year when they routinely have their class in Vancouver. WSU program leadership have agreed to have the March classes at WSSB/WSD this year and beyond.  Both Shauna and I will be provided an opportunity to provide a tour of our campuses and share about our programs to nearly 50 school leaders and potential Superintendents each year.  I am so excited to take advantage of this opportunity to share WSSB with educational leaders from across the state.