Hit the books: Schools open Wednesday

Wednesday marks the first day of classes for tens of thousands of students across Snohomish County.

For many, it will be a time of transition — a first step into middle school, an initial foray onto the big high school campus.

At Machias Elementary in the Snohomish School District, incoming principal Shawn Ryan* can relate to kindergartners joining the campus of 550 students.

“I’ll be able to tell them, ‘It’s your first day and my first day, too,’” he said.

The school year started in Lakewood, Northshore and Stanwood on Tuesday. The remaining districts — Arlington, Darrington, Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish and Sultan — begin Wednesday, but in some instances a certain grade levels won’t start until Thursday.

Ryan still gets excited about the first day of school. A new shirt and tie will be ironed for the big occasion.

It’ll be a homecoming of sorts. He attended Valley View Middle School before graduating from Snohomish High School in 1996. His mom, Joan Ryan, taught briefly at Machias Elementary before taking a post across the district at Seattle Hill Elementary. His dad, Tom Ryan, was a jack-of-all-trades teacher at Valley View, where he taught shop, industrial arts, drafting, math and physical education.

Sean Ryan, a father of three young children, has bumped into some of his former teachers at school district gatherings and is beginning to notice last names he believes might be former classmates with children of their own.

For Ryan, it feels good to return to the Snohomish School District after teaching and administrative stints in Mukilteo and Sultan.

“I always had hoped for this, but you never know in this business,” he said.

In many districts, students and parents will notice changes on the school grounds after summer construction and remodelling.

Congestion should be greatly reduced at Hilltop and Martha Lake elementary schools in the Edmonds School District after traffic-safety improvements were made to solve years of bottlenecks.

Everett has a revamped website at www.everettsd.org that should make it easier for parents to log in and will be better accessible by mobile phone.

The Marysville School District begins the year with a new superintendent, with Becky Berg taking the reins from Larry Nyland, who retired.

In Mukilteo, the news was no news, at least at the top. Every principal is returning this fall.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

Correction, Sept. 4, 2013: Shawn Ryan’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.

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