WWD receives AAA bond rating

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) has assigned a rating of AAA to the Woodinville Water District (WWD).  S&P were impressed with the District’s strong financial metrics, its excellent management team and its good and extensive financial management policies, including maintaining a balanced budget, maintaining a minimum 5 year capital plan, a 60-day minimum operating reserve and exceeding legal rate covenants.

AAA is S&P’s highest rating and is a strong indicator of the financial health and strength of the District.  This rating will assure that the District receives the lowest possible borrowing rates available.

Northshore welcomes two new principals

  • Written by Deborah Stone
There will be a number of new faces at Northshore’s schools this fall.

Among the nearly 80 recently hired staff members are two principals: Brenda Naish at Moorlands Elementary and Cathi Hackett at Kokanee Elementary.

Brenda Naish. Courtesy photo.
Naish hails from the Burlington-Edison School District where she served as principal of Edison K-8 School for the past four years. Prior to that, she headed up Enatai, Stevenson and Spiritridge elementary schools in the Bellevue School District. The local woman, who grew up in Kirkland, has been in education for 26 years. Prior to beginning her administrative career, Naish taught middle school reading, as well as health and P.E. She also was a peer educator, supporting new teachers and assisting with professional development.

Educators who have worked with Naish in the past note that she is a natural participatory leader, as well as a voracious learner.

They comment that she possesses a genuine, thoughtful approach to working with others and is kind and patient, yet relentlessly dogged in her support of student learning and achievement.

Naish opted to come to Northshore for several reasons: “I knew people in this district,” she explains, “and I had heard about what they were doing. Whenever I would talk to them, they were just so excited about their work.” She adds, “I thought it would be a good opportunity to get back to working with some of these people and to be a part of a really great district that was doing some really interesting and innovative things. And it was also an opportunity to be closer to my family, who all live around here.”

Naish comments that Moorlands and Edison are similar in some respects, particularly with regards to demographics. Additionally, both schools have strong and supportive parent communities that are strong fundraisers and committed volunteers.

Naish describes herself as a hands-on leader, who seeks to build positive relationships with her staff.

She says, “I try and lead by example. If I ask you to do something, it’s something I already do or would be willing to do. I always stress that it’s the ‘we’ when it comes to decision-making, as collaboration is essential.”

Naish is very excited about her teachers and she notes that they are “super positive” individuals, who are motivated to continue to do exemplary work.

She adds, “I am amazed by their willingness to dig in and look at how they can keep getting better.”

For Naish, the job of principal is incredibly fulfilling, as she loves being around people and working with kids.

She remarks, “It’s very rewarding to me when I know that I have helped to make a difference at the end of the day, whether it’s with the kids, parents or staff members. I also enjoy the ability to be a learner along with my teachers.”

When Naish takes off her principal hat in the off hours, she is a consummate reader. She also likes being outdoors and is an avid skier and hiker.

Cathi Hackett Kokanee
Cathi Hackett. Courtesy pphoto.
Cathi Hackett began her career in education in 2001 and has been living in the Northwest since 2003 when she moved here both for the area and to complete her M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies at UW. She subsequently earned her administrative credential in the Danforth Educational Leadership Program, also at UW. This will be her first full year as an elementary principal. Most recently, she was on staff in the Bellevue School District as an instructional coach. The Northshore School District’s mission and its leadership attracted Hackett. She says, “Northshore’s mission is tightly aligned with my own core values and beliefs about education. The district is focused on collaboration and instructional alignment to support the learning needs of all students.” She adds, “Northshore School District has exceptional leadership, administrators, teachers and support personnel, who demonstrate a high level of commitment to positive educational outcomes for every child. I believe I have the strengths and experiences to offer to the team and a chance to work in concert with educators who share a common vision.”

Hackett notes that while educational work is extremely complex and challenging, it is also one of the few professions that offer such an immense opportunity for impact on individuals, community and the larger society.

As principal of Kokanee, she looks forward to positively impacting the lives of her students, supporting the efforts of the school’s teaching staff and partnering with the school community to do what is best for the children.

“I came into this work because I believe that education opens doors, just as has in my own life,” remarks Hackett. “To be in the business of opening doors for others is a true gift and an honor to be afforded that opportunity on a daily basis.”

In regards to challenges, she emphasizes that each year presents new sets of issues for educators as they endeavor to meet the needs of every student.

She adds, “We can never be certain of the complexities we will face, but I am convinced that our staff, with a common vision and commitment to our students’ success, can support learning and growth for every child.”

Hackett describes herself as a team player, a partner and an advocate, who is tenacious in her commitment to students.

She strongly believes in collaboration and notes that educators do their best work when they work together, engage in critical thinking and support each other to learn and grow in their instructional practice.

Hackett comments that she feels honored to be joining such an exceptional group of educators at Kokanee, as well as a supportive community of parents and neighbors. In her free time, the new principal loves traveling, cooking and being physically active.

“Any day that includes a new place, a new recipe or a good workout is a good day for me,” comments Hackett.

LWIT team cooks up win at nat’l competition

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Culinary Team
Courtesy Photo National champions of the Culinary Knowledge Bowl include: Rich Hill, Meg Venema, Randall Poole and Sarah Ridges.
Hats off to Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s (LWIT) Culinary Knowledge Bowl team! Students Rich Hill, Meg Venema, Randall Poole and Sarah Ridges took home gold at the recent American Culinary Federation Baron H. Galand Culinary Knowledge Bowl national competition in Orlando, Fla.

They beat out three other regional winners to claim the title in this Jeopardy-style contest, testing fundamental cooking skills and culinary knowledge.

“We are thrilled to bring this championship home to LWIT,” says Chef Janet Shaffer, LWIT culinary faculty member and co-mentor of the team along with Chef Matt DiMeo. “A big thank you goes out to the Lake Washington College Foundation, our faculty and our students for helping support this incredible achievement.”

Though teams from the college have competed in this competition at the regional level before, they have never medaled or won.

“It’s a first for us,” adds Shaffer, “and it’s such a wonderful accomplishment for the students. I am so very proud of them.”

Shaffer explains that the students, all who volunteered to be on the team, are in the final stages of completing their two-year associate of applied science degree in culinary arts.

They began studying for the competition nine months ago, using a series of four books focusing on culinary, baking, food safety sanitation and costing knowledge. After winning regionals in Reno last winter, the team continued to push itself to prepare for nationals.

“It’s a tough competition,” comments Shaffer. “The questions are very challenging, as the students can be tested on very detailed and specific information so they have to know lots of little facts.” She adds, “It’s a Jeopardy style format, so you have to be really quick with the buzzer. Most of the time, the question isn’t read completely before a buzzer is sounded. The students just know what is going to be asked after hearing just the first part. They’re amazing!”

Shaffer sees the win as recognition for the students and the program on a national stage. But, she emphasizes that it’s really all about the experience, not the win that is the reason students participate.

“It’s an opportunity for them to challenge themselves, hone their skills and enrich their education, “she adds. “And it’s also a great way for them to meet others in the field, network and build relationships. It’s an invaluable experience for those who participate.”

Council does some business

  • Written by Don Mann
It took two group voting attempts to get it done, but the Woodinville City Council passed first reading of Ordinance No. 527 to amend Traffic Impact Fees (TIF) at its meeting last Tuesday.

Along the way, the council selected some policy options on the item: It selected the higher of two proposed fees, adopted a five year phase-in payment schedule for new development, and determined there would be no deferral of payment — as was hoped by some in the business community.

Woodinville Public Works Director Tom Hansen began the discussion with some background: The council had been considering the matter for a year.

On June 19, council held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance and closed it, asking staff to prepare options for a reduced fee, a phased-in fee, and a deferred payment of the fee.The initial fee was proposed at $440 per Average Daily Trip (ADT) — a convoluted calculation understood most by public works directors.

According to Hansen, the figure is based upon the $78 million of capital improvements needed to accommodate increased traffic generated by new development in Woodinville over the next 10 years.

An alternative amount of $310 per ADT was also proposed, though TIF revenues with that number, as Hansen pointed out, would be nearly a million dollars less in city coffers over a five year period.

The five year phase-in would provide adequate notice to any potential developer, adequate time — according to Hansen — “for the economy to recover,” and keep the city’s fees more competitive than neighboring cities.

At its June 19 meeting the issue was raised whether or not to allow a deferral of payment until a home/development was actually occupied or sold.

Some said that mandatory initial payment was stifling to the purchasers, whoever they might be.

According to Hansen, allowing deferrals creates additional city administrative costs. He recommended strongly that deferrals not be allowed.

And thus they were not.

Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders asked staff point blank how many TIFs were paid in the last year.

City Manager Richard Leahy, perhaps sparing Hansen, responded.

“Not that many,” and he said it with an ironic chuckle.“There hasn’t been a whole lot of development in town.”

Interjected Hansen: “Somewhere between 10 and 20.”

Then Mayor Bernie Talmas called for a vote, and the administrator broke it down into three parts: the fee, the phase-in and the deferral.

First round of votes on the fee produced no plurality — meaning not four concurred.

Then they did it again. Four agreed to the $440 charge.

Summarily the council agreed to the phase-in and no deferrals to produce the ordinance, by a 4-2 vote, with Councilmembers Les Rubstello and Scott Hageman opposed.

Said Rubstello: “I’m going to vote against it. The fee for restaurants will triple, and the fee for small retail will quadruple ... Restaurants and retail ... that’s what we want … It doesn’t roll much of a welcome mat out.”

There was a disconnection and the mayor took a different tack. “This ordinance will actually encourage small retail and restaurants because we’re eliminating any fees for them … They’re exempt if they move into an existing structure which is what development generally does.”

Later, Woodinville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dave Witt, who had gone to the council podium a time or two to speak on his constituents’ behalf and was indeed in the audience — was asked what it meant to him and members of the Chamber.

“It seems to us more reasonable to have gone with the lower range of increase … in this economy. To go the way they went … it just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.”

It was suggested that this ordinance was aimed at developers. In fact, Councilmember Paulette Bauman said development should be paid by developers.

“Perhaps, though, that may be an oversimplification,” Witt said. “There’s a lotta local businesses considering expansion and this is a major factor for them … Small developments are vulnerable to the fees.”

He continued.“It’s disappointing that in this economy they’re talking about raising fees, but it is what it is.”

Back to school soon, believe it or not

  • Written by Don Mann

School Veggies

Staff Photo/Don Mann

The Northshore School District hosted a back-to-school bash at Maywood Elementary in Bothell last Thursday. Hundreds of parents and kids attended the barbeque, which featured these fruits and vegetables. The message: Eat healthy and get ready.