LAKEWOOD — Newly appointed Superintendent Scott Peacock is bringing nearly 20 years of administrative experience to the Lakewood School District.
But he’s more focused on building relationships than advancing any personal agenda.
“(In Snohomish), if people needed to build a barn, they got together and built a barn,” Peacock said. “People come together around kids and schools here in Lakewood. That was something that really got my attention.”
The former Snohomish School District deputy superintendent was selected with a unanimous vote from the school board in June to replace outgoing Superintendent Michael Mack.
Peacock, who started July 1, said he wants to make sure the district is an inclusive place for its families.
“Whenever you’re at the apex of the organization, the biggest change is you,” he said. “Every time you go to a new place with new people, those dynamics are different. Everyone needs a place to be who they need to be. My commitment to this community is to provide places for people to have that opportunity.”
So far, he added, the transition has been smooth.
“I felt like there’s been no question I couldn’t ask,” Peacock said. “And there’s been no time where I feel like anybody hasn’t given me the straight answer. And that’s all I can ask.”
Peacock started working for the Snohomish School District in 1993. He taught English and history before becoming a middle school principal and eventually serving as an assistant superintendent.
Now, he’s at the helm of a smaller district with about 7,000 fewer students than Snohomish. Lakewood has nearly 2,500 students, a number that has remained fairly steady over the past five years.
Maintaining a budget is a challenge that comes with that, he said.
“Right now, I’m wrestling with how in the long term we, as a small district, do what we want to do in a way that’s sustainable given the fact the state isn’t fully funding education, despite all the rhetoric that’s out there,” he said.
Another focus is taking advantage of the district’s brand new high school, which was funded from a $66.8 million bond measure passed in 2014.
“If there’s certain kinds of experiences we want kids to have, how can we leverage this building to maximize those experiences,” he said.
In the classroom, Peacock said, it’s important to show students how to build meaningful relationships.
“People are talking about the social, emotional learning of kids being foundational to student learning,” he said. “It’s not always about a test or a quiz on Friday.”
Outside of the district, he’s a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington. His dissertation is on how Snohomish used New Deal policies to pull the community out of the Great Depression.
“When I look at translating that work, there’s a lot of lessons to be found,” he said.
Bringing in diverse voices and meeting with groups big and small, he added, are keys to realizing those lessons.
“That’s where the magic happens,” Peacock said.