News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Need plants? JSIS plant sale is Saturday

May 13th, 2011 by master

If you didn’t get enough starts at last weekend’s Seattle Tilth Edible Plant sale, don’t despair — you can get your garden growing for another good cause! Tomorrow, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., students at John Stanford International School (4057 5th Ave. NE) will sell plants to raise funds for its sister school, Juan de la Barrera in Puerto Vallarta.

From JSIS:

All of our seeds this year came from the Seed Savers Exchange which is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to conserving and promoting heirloom vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Supporting our sale this year will not only help our sister school, but will also promote plant diversity.

Our plants are mostly organic and we have varieties chosen to do well in our climate.

We’ll have LOTS of tomatoes and basil, cucumbers, beans, and other veggies, flowers and houseplants.

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John Stanford Int'l School gets new principal

May 11th, 2011 by master

John Stanford International School has a new principal to replace outgoing Kelly Aramaki: current Hamilton International Middle School assistant principal Jesely Alvarez. Interim Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield yesterday sent mail to JSIS parents announcing Alvarez’s appointment:

Today I am excited to announce a leadership change at John Stanford International School with the appointment of Jesely Alvarez as the new Principal, starting in the 2011-2012 school year. She replaces your current principal, Kelly Aramaki, who will serve as principal of Beacon Hill International School next year.

Since 2006, Ms. Alvarez has served as Assistant Principal at Hamilton International Middle School, where she led the development of the school’s Spanish and Japanese immersion program, collaborated on the district’s K-12 international school pathway and developed a school-wide service learning model with a global focus.

In addition, while at Hamilton Ms. Alvarez partnered with international, national and local organizations to provide grants for school improvement efforts in areas that included math, literacy, world languages, instructional approaches and strategies for closing the achievement gap.

Principal Alvarez started her career as a Spanish teacher, and also taught Language Arts and Social Studies at Madrona K-8 in the Edmonds School District. In 2002, she spent a year in Chiapas, Mexico as a Fulbright teacher.

She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington, her Master’s in Education from Antioch University and her Principal Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership Program.

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Principal leaving John Stanford Int'l School

March 16th, 2011 by master

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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Hey Principal Aramaki, you just won $25,000!

October 28th, 2010 by master

It’s tough to keep a secret from the principal. But during an assembly this morning at John Stanford International School, Principal Kelly Aramaki got what may be the surprise of his life. In front of the entire school he was awarded with what’s been called the Oscar of teaching, the Milken Educator Award.

The award for excellence in education is given by the Milken Family Foundation, a leader in education and medical research. In addition to the recognition, Aramaki also received $25,000. As you will see in the video below, he was truly stunned to win the award.

For those of you who don’t know, Wallingford’s very own John Stanford International School offers a dual language immersion program to its K-5 students in Spanish and Japanese. There are also some students from foreign countries who learn English. During today’s assembly, third grade students performed Jai Ho, the Bollywood dance made famous in the movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” while other students performed songs.

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