Arlington superintendent to lead Edmonds School District

Arlington superintendent to lead Edmonds School District

LYNNWOOD ­— Kris McDuffy, superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, has been selected as the new Edmonds superintendent.

The Edmonds School Board voted unanimously Friday morning to appoint McDuffy. She was selected from among 18 people who applied. McDuffy is scheduled to begin her duties at the Edmonds district on July 1.

“I’m very excited to be able to join a wonderful community and a wonderful school district,” McDuffy said. “I look forward to listening and learning and engaging staff, students, parents and the greater community to set our course of action over the coming months.”

Susan Phillips, school board president, said in a statement that McDuffy brings a strong history of educational and financial leadership to the district, which is based in Lynnwood. That’s balanced with “a keen sense of the importance of building sincere and honest relationships with all in the community,” it adds.

McDuffy will lead a school district with 20,683 students, the largest in Snohomish County. The Arlington School District has an enrollment of 5,300 students.

One of her most immediate challenges is the need to trim $3.5 million from the 2016-17 school year’s budget of $248 million.

The Edmonds School district is becoming more culturally diverse. Half its students are white. Its largest minority are Hispanic/Latino students, who comprise nearly 20 percent of the student body.

The district has heard from some parents who say that not enough is being done to close achievement gaps among low-income and minority students.

“It’s a high moral imperative that we roll up our sleeves and do everything we can to meet the needs of all children,” McDuffy said Friday.

Staff who teach the same grade level need to work together and clearly understand what the achievement standards are for students and review information on a student’s progress “so we can make adjustments to meet every child’s needs,” she said.

“What we want to do is ensure all boats rise and all students are getting the very best effort we can put forth,” McDuffy said.

The Arlington School District began work this year with a dual language program to work with students who are learning English as their second language. The district is now reviewing how effective it is in meeting student needs, she said.

McDuffy, 57, is a graduate of Everett High School. She met Rob McDuffy, who would become her future husband, while both were attending what was then called South Junior High School in Everett.

She said that becoming a parent had a profound impact on her life. Having a child provides perspective for what parents go through and what they need, she said, as well as “a sense of urgency for making sure that every hour of every day we’re doing our very best work.”

McDuffy said she is leaving a caring community and special place to take on her new job.

Her appointment means Arlington will have to start a superintendent search of its own. On Friday, there were no plans or timeline for starting the search, said Julie Davis, senior executive assistant to the superintendent. The Arlington School Board is scheduled to meet on April 25 but may call a special meeting sooner to talk about finding a superintendent, she said.

McDuffy is the Edmond school district’s second female superintendent. Susan Torrens served as the Edmonds School District superintendent from 1997 to 1999.

Superintendent Nick Brossoit announced in December that he would leave the district at the end of the school year.

The Edmonds School District includes the communities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and portions of unincorporated south Snohomish County.

Herald reporter Kari Bray contributed to this report.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

Kris McDuffy biography

Age: 57

Background: She has been Arlington’s superintendent since 2008. She previously was a principal and superintendent in the Lakewood School District.

Education: Everett High School graduate. She earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees at Western Washington University and a doctorate at Seattle University.

Family: She and her husband Rob McDuffy have been married 38 years. They have one son, Ryan McDuffy, who is 30.

Edmonds School District’s 20,683 students

American Indian or Alaskan Native: 0.4 percent

Asian: 12.8 percent

African American: 6.3 percent

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0.7 percent

White: 50 percent

Hispanic/Latino of any race: 19.5 percent

Two or more races: 10.3 percent

Source: Edmonds School District

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