Northshore Christian Academy Superintendent Holly Leach was among school staff who went to Washington, D.C., last week to accept a National Blue Ribbon School award. The middle school choir, on stage with Leach, performed during a celebration Wednesday. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Northshore Christian Academy Superintendent Holly Leach was among school staff who went to Washington, D.C., last week to accept a National Blue Ribbon School award. The middle school choir, on stage with Leach, performed during a celebration Wednesday. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Blue Ribbon award for Northshore Christian ‘a really big deal’

Everett academy is only West Coast private school to receive prestigious national recognition in ’19.

It wasn’t a Friday or the day before a holiday break, but at Northshore Christian Academy students were excited all the same. They had something to celebrate — an honor no other private school on the West Coast received this year.

Northshore Christian Academy, near Boeing in Everett, was named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019 by the federal Department of Education.

“That’s a really big deal,” said Nate Nehring, a Snohomish County Council member.

During the celebration at Northshore Wednesday, Nehring said he was a student there from preschool through middle school. Recalling “free-dress Fridays” and other good times, he described his years at the Christian school as “a great learning experience and a great blessing.”

“It really is a blessing from God,” said Nehring, who went on to Marysville Getchell High School and Western Washington University.

With nearly 1,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and an early-learning program, Northshore is one of 362 schools — 50 of them private — recognized this year by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. More than 9,000 schools have received the award since the federal program started in 1982. Awards are based on overall academic excellence or a school’s progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, noting that only a half of 1 percent of schools in the country receive the Blue Ribbon award, said the recognition of “this amazing school” also shines a light on “our entire city.”

“Rejoice, rejoice … Can you feel a brand new day?” sang a sixth-grade choir during the gathering of students, teachers and parents in the spacious sanctuary the school shares with Northshore Christian Church.

There were prayers too, and performances by Northshore’s jazz band.

“We know Northshore is stellar. It’s a school led by God,” said Diane Winningham, principal for the school’s kindergarten through second grades and its Early Learning Center director.

Holly Leach, Northshore superintendent, and Winningham were among staff members who accepted the award last week at a ceremony in Maryland, near Washington, D.C. They brought back a National Blue Ribbon School flag and a plaque. Both will be displayed on campus.

“Many people have asked me how and why we received this award,” Leach said. For a school to be nominated for the award by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), award criteria includes being in the top 15 percent of schools nationwide in reading and math.

For public schools, Blue Ribbon nominations come from members of the Council of Chief State School Officers overseeing education in states, for the Department of Defense, the Bureau of Indian Education and other jurisdictions.

Leach said Northshore stood out due to its faith, fine arts, STEM and school culture. Its Cultural Connection groups include parents who are African-American; Spanish-speaking; of Korean, Slavic and Filipino descent; and those with ties to other parts of the world.

A ministry of the church, the school started in a warehouse, Leach said, and has occupied its current complex since about 2003.

Tuition ranges from $3,170 for half-day pre-kindergarten to $8,525 for sixth through eighth grades, said Michelle Harryman, who handles marketing and Northshore’s website. There are discounts for multiple children in a family and referral rebates, along with tuition assistance, she said.

Three Washington public schools were among the 2019 honorees: Davenport High School, Hilton Elementary School in Zillah, and Bellevue’s International School.

“It was because of your teachers and your hard work,” Leach told students.

At the end of her talk, Franklin suggested that “somebody in this room is going to be the next mayor of Everett.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas is retiring at end of year, after -- years on the bench. The former Mariner High School student was its first ASB president, went to Harvard Law School, and as an undergrad majored in creative writing. Photographed at Snohomish County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Judge Eric Lucas, who broke barriers on bench, dies at 67

Lucas was the first Black judge elected to Snohomish County Superior Court.

Work related to improvements at the intersection of Highways 9 and 204 will close a road and reduce lanes in Lake Stevens through Oct. 1. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

Lane reductions and closures are part of the work to improve the intersection at Highways 9 and 204.

Police: Mill Creek man, 63, accidentally shot by son

Detectives believe the dad was mistaken as an intruder. The injuries are not life threatening.

In 2023, the Department of Transportation will widen a two-mile stretch of Highway 531 from 43rd Avenue NE to 67th Avenue NE. (WSDOT)
Smokey Point road improvements won’t be done before industrial center

Amazon, NorthPoint are coming but the state will not begin widening Highway 531 until 2023.

Mary Johnson (Davis) (FBI)
FBI offers $10,000 reward for info on missing Tulalip woman

Mary Johnson, then 39, was supposed to get a ride from Fire Trail Road to a house near Oso on Nov. 25.

Bufeng Gao, owner of Qin Xi'an Noodles, receives a check from the Edmonds Chamber Foundation's Wish Fund outside of her restaurant that was burned in a fire on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After arson burns Edmonds plaza, 14 businesses need help

Plum Tree Plaza — a cultural hub for Asian Americans — burned in a three-alarm fire early Sept. 11.

Rebecca Haskins (Everett Police Department) 20210913
Missing Everett teenager located

Rebecca Haskins had last been seen the morning of Sept. 4. Police reported her found Wednesday.

Sultan police looking for tips after rash of car prowls

On Sunday, the department responded to 20 reports at Sportsman Park and trailheads near Gold Bar.

Construction continues at the site of the former Kmart for 400 apartments. and is slated for completion in 2023. Photo on September 14, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Coming soon to Everett, 430 apartments at former Kmart site

DevCo, Inc. is building six-story apartments “for the workforce” on Evergreen Way, near Boeing Freeway.

Most Read