School Board Recognized for Excellence

School Board Recognized for Excellence

Ferndale School Board recognized by WSSDA as a Board of Distinction (Pictured l to r: Board Members Candice Wilson, Andrew McLaurin, Lee Anne Riddle and Dr. Kevin Erickson; Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn; and Board members Ellie Baader and Mason Waller; not pictured is Board Member Hugh Foulke)

For the fifth time since 2012, Ferndale School Board was recognized as a Board of Distinction. Ferndale is the only school board in Whatcom County to receive this year's special distinction.

Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) annually recognizes boards for using Washington School Board Standards to promote research-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement to help close the opportunity gap.

Applications for the award include two essays, one regarding the board’s efforts to close the Opportunity Gap and a second which describes the application of one of the WSSDA Standards for school boards. The board chose to respond to Standard 5, Benchmark C: Engage local community and represent the values and expectations they hold for their schools by ensuring district information and decisions are communicated community-wide. These essays must provide a clear relationship between the board’s use of data, the ways it informs decisions, and the ways those decisions have resulted in positive outcomes for students. 

Ferndale School Board supports gap-closing strategies that entail enrichment experiences, alternative routes and a welcoming culture. Examples include: 1) providing enrichment experiences in a six-week summer program called Jump Start for five-year olds who don't demonstrate kindergarten readiness skills, 2) offering alternative routes to graduation including IMPACT (a youth re-engagement project with Bellingham Technical College) and SOAR (a program unique to Ferndale for students who would previously have been dropouts), and 3) honoring and celebrating our 600+ Native students by offering Lummi language, leadership classes and clubs.

Our board is committed to ensuring our district information and decisions are communicated community-wide in a variety of ways including: 1) maintaining two-way communication with stakeholders through our "Listening Post" portal, 2) meeting monthly with a Communications Advisory Committee, and 3) ensuring our District Improvement Plan is jargon free and disseminated widely.

The WSSDA standards contain two sections, one to guide the actions of school boards operating as a team and one to guide the action of individual school board directors. They identify elements of good governance and effective leadership as drawn from best practices and current research. They also validate and affirm the importance of the school board’s role in ensuring student success.  WSSDA helps boards align their work with the standards by providing training and consultation throughout the year.

For more information:
Superintendent Linda Quinn, 360.383.9207,
Director of Communications Tammy Bengen, 360.383.9207,