News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Principal leaving John Stanford Int'l School

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Kelly Aramaki, who has been principal at John Stanford International School for four years, will leave the Wallingford elementary school to become principal at Beacon Hill International School, JSIS parents read today in a letter from Aramaki.

In the letter, titled “A New Chapter for the Great John Stanford International School,” Aramaki wrote in part:

As you all know, international education is expanding in Seattle. Despite budget cuts and the different challenges facing our district, this is a program that remains in high demand across the city with families of all different backgrounds. It’s exciting to witness and be a part of. What Karen Kodama, the founding principal, started here at JSIS in 2000 with a dedicated group of pioneering teachers and families and what JSIS has become over the next 11 years with the addition of many new and outstanding staff members and families is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s with this utmost admiration and confidence I have in this school community that I have decided that the timing was right for me to leave the school at the end of this year in order to help our district continue to grow and strengthen international education….

Although I won’t be leaving until after this school year is over, there is much to do and think about now regarding the transition of leadership at JSIS. Our NW Executive Director, Bree Dusseault, and our Interim Superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield, are committed to ensuring that JSIS continues with a strong and innovative principal who is passionate and dedicated to international education. Our school’s Building Leadership Team (BLT) will work with me and with district leaders to make sure the transition is smooth….

In the end, I want you to know that in making this decision, the one and only regret and source of great emotion for me is the thought of leaving such an extraordinary, extraordinary school community. We have the most positive, innovative and hard-working staff, the most supportive, positive and social justice-minded group of families, and the most incredible, compassionate and hard-working students. I absolutely love this place, and I have loved serving all of you over the past four years. As much as I will miss this community, I look forward to continuing with all of you to deliver on John Stanford’s dream of providing an education for students of all backgrounds that will prepare them for global citizenship and the fostering of friendship across cultures and languages.

Thank you all for your kindness and support of me all these years. I have appreciated that support more than you can imagine. And thank you all for your continued commitment and dedication to our school, staff and students. It’s because of you and the staff that I know the school will continue to be the very best of the best.

Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Teresa Wippel told us that the search for a new JSIS principal will begin shortly and will involve the school community. Wippel acknowledged that the JSIS community would find Aramaki’s departure “distressing.” “He’s a rock star,” she said.

Aramaki won the prestigious Milken Educator Award, the “Oscar of teaching,” in October 2010. See video of the surprise award here.

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