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News Releases
Staff Achievement grant recipients named - 06/18/21

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools has named its 2020-2021 Staff Achievement Grant recipients. The program started in 1988 to recognize teachers and support staff for superior performance, innovation, exemplary leadership and exceptional service.  Staff Achievement Grant recipients, who are nominated and chosen by their peers, receive a $1,500 stipend and five days of paid release time for professional growth activities.

2020-2021 Staff Achievement Recipients

Juan Faba (Bilingual Para-Educator – Green Park Elementary)
- Nominators: Amy Reed, Annie Boyd and Corey Hobbs

Conor Fish (English Language Arts and Social Studies – Garrison Middle School)
- Nominators: Jill Meliah, Bianca Vieyra and Beth Clearman

Lisa Cox (Registrar – Walla Walla High School)
- Nominators: Stephanie Gomsrud and Shari Widmer

Brad Hobbs (3rd grade Dual Language – Green Park Elementary)
- Nominators: Amy Hartford, Alejandra Tiscareno and Leslie Rodriguez

Grace Ogoshi (Teacher – Walla Walla Online)
- Nominators: Peder Fretheim, Stacy McPherson and Keith Gradwohl

Free youth sports camps - 06/15/21

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla High School announces a series of FREE summer youth sports camps. 

• Location: Garrison Middle School
• Days: June 22, 23, 29, 30
• Times: (3rd to 5th grade) 11 a.m.-12 p.m., (6th to 8th grade) 12-1 p.m.

Girls Soccer
• Location: Reser Field
• Days: Aug 2,3, 4
• Time: 5-6:30 p.m.

• Location: Berney Elementary
• Days: June 28 to July 2
• Times: TBD

• Location: WaHi Football Field
• Days July 19 to 23
• Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Track & Field
• Location: WaHi Track
• Days: June 21- 23
• Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

Register on Family ID:

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: June 15, 2021 - 06/11/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997

Knight receives 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award - 06/10/21

WALLA WALLA - Local financial advisor Lawson Knight received the 2021 Southeast Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership award on behalf of Walla Walla Public Schools at the Washington Association of School Administrators Southeast region annual meeting in Richland June 9.  

Knight has been an active volunteer with Walla Walla Public Schools for years serving on the Bond Oversight Committee, as a Finance Department Retreat facilitator, Lincoln High School Facilities Planning Task Force member, High School Facilities Task Force member, Green Park PTA member and Strategic Planning Committee participant. He also served as the Replacement Levy chair for Walla Walla Citizens for Schools during the successful 2020 Levy approved by voters with a 72 percent yes vote.

“Our future depends on equipping our children with the skills, critical thinking and love for learning to sustain our community and society,” said Knight. “I want to be part of helping produce an educational experience that makes this possible for all children, not just mine.”

Knight was born in McMinnville, OR but was raised in Seward, Nebraska. He graduated from Central High School, Monmouth-Independence, OR in 1990 before attending Oregon State University and University of Lyon, France.

Knight is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Walla Walla. He has also served as Executive Director of Blue Mountain Community Foundation during his time in Walla Walla. His professional resume also includes serving as Development Office and Campaign Manager for the Oregon State University Foundation.

Knight earned the Philanthropy Northwest Mary Helen Moore Volunteer-of-the-Year award in 2012. He was also honored by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce with its Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year 2012 for his work leading the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.

“Walla Walla Public Schools is fortunate to have Lawson Knight as one of its strongest supporters,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Lawson’s leadership and involvement helps the district realize its vision of Developing Washington’s Most-Sought After Graduates.”

Lawson and his wife, Cyndy, have three daughters; Madelyn (20), Wa-Hi graduate and sophomore at EWU, Molly (18) Wa-Hi student and Chloe (15) Wa-Hi student. He enjoys track and field, soccer, hiking, travel, cooking and volunteering.

Photo L-R: Lawson Knight receives Community Leadership award from Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith.


Superintendent Smith receives state student leadership award - 06/10/21

WALLA WALLA- The Washington Association of School Administrators awarded Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith with the Student Achievement Leadership award for the Southeast region during its annual meeting in Richland June 9. 

This award is presented to WASA members who have provided leadership for the implementation of an innovation that has resulted in measurable growth in student achievement. The innovation serves as a tool for modeling new programs.  

Dr. Smith spearheaded the development of an inclusive and comprehensive strategic planning process when he arrived in 2016. Built on a foundation of stakeholder voice and equity, the plan incorporated a “We All Belong Here” vision that prioritized quality instruction, aligned systems, student supports and community partnerships. Under his leadership, graduation rates have soared to all-time highs, from 80.4% to 91.7%. Additionally, the district has virtually eliminated the graduation gap between student populations. With an unwavering commitment toward equity and access, the Hispanic/Latino graduation rate has increased nearly 20% under Smith’s leadership to 88%, 10% above the state average.

“We are focused on engaging our students and bringing their voice to the table,” said Dr. Smith. “We have developed a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council this school year and it has really changed the way we make decisions. It allows for students to make choices for students.”

Superintendent Smith said the award is a reflection of the success of the entire school district and thanked staff, students, parents and district leaders for making this award possible. 


Attached Media Files: Wade_Smith.jpg
Walla Walla Public Schools names 2021 Graduates of Distinction - 06/08/21

WALLA WALLA - Following a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walla Walla Public Schools resumed its prestigious Graduates of Distinction program with an in-person ceremony at the Marcus Whitman Hotel Monday, June 7.

This year's honorees are:

- Elizabeth “Libby” Frazier, Class of 1973 (A retail business real estate expert who dedicates her time to serving the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Linda Thorne, Libby’s high school sociology teacher, is her inspirational staff member.  Libby says “She was a great role model for me in the 70’s - a professional woman juggling a job and family, and excelling at everything.”

- Judith Ann Huntington, Class of 1964 (A healthcare leader who empowers nurses to better serve their communities)  
Inspirational Staff Member: Johnny Dennis, Judy’s physics and geometry teacher at Wa-Hi, is her most inspirational staff member. She remembers that “he taught his students important critical thinking and study skills that are invaluable to this day.”

- Garth Lindsey, Class of 1962 (A certified public accountant specializing in television industry financial operations)
Inspirational Staff Member: Garth chose George White, his music/choir teacher at Wa-Hi, as his most inspirational staff member. Garth says he so appreciated Mr. White’s “dedication to teaching music and his interest in his students. He instilled in me a love of music.”

- Mike Monahan; Class of 1960 (National irrigation sales leader who champions health and fitness in the community)  
Inspirational Staff Member: Wa-Hi’s famous football coach, Felix Fletcher, was Mike’s most inspirational staff member.   He says he remembers him with fondness as both coach and mentor.

- Allison Bingham, PhD; Class of 1977 (A global leader focusing on improving health to move humanity forward)
Inspirational Staff Member: Allison chose Diane Briggs, her junior high volleyball and basketball coach, as her inspirational staff member.  She has stayed in contact with her for 45 years as a friend and mentor and says Diane’s dedication and support has never wavered.

- Kathy Covey; Class of 1973 (A pioneer in social services programs who broke down barriers for women in the community)
Inspirational Staff Member: Kathy’s inspirational staff member is Tom Barbour, her high school psychology teacher who inspired her to go into the field of social work. She said, “It was as much about how and what he taught as it was about how he taught and dealt with challenging students.  He was an incredible teacher and human being,”

This is the highest honor bestowed by the school district. These individuals have distinguished themselves in their communities and careers, and they continue to bring honor to the district.

"This is the 23rd year of our Graduates of Distinction Program, established to recognize and honor the distinguished achievements of our high school graduates," said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "In addition, we take time to pay tribute to school staff members who provided positive school experiences, and were inspirational in the lives of these graduates. Congratulations to the 2021 Graduates of Distinction."


Fireworks Show to conclude Wa-Hi Commencement Ceremony - 06/07/21

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla High School is concluding Friday’s Commencement program at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds with a fireworks show. The fireworks show is expected to begin at approximately 9 p.m. and continue for about 20 minutes. 

Walla Walla High School Commencement & Fireworks Show
•    Friday, June 11
•    7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
•    Fireworks show at conclusion of the ceremony – approximately 9 p.m.
•    Walla Walla County Fairgrounds Grandstands
•    Families/Students – Communicate with school officials regarding tickets to the ceremony
•    Use Tietan St. entrance and parking lot
•    LIVE STREAM LINK - http://bdnw.live/wahi
•    Principal Ron Higgins – rhiggins@wwps.org


Walla Walla Public Schools Bond Oversight Committee Meeting: June 8, 2021 - 06/04/21

In accordance with their duties to review the 2018 Bond program, a meeting of the WWPS Bond Oversight Committee will be held on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 5:45 p.m. at the Pioneer Middle School Library.


Members of the public who wish to listen to the meeting via telephone may do so.  An access code is required and may be obtained ahead of time by contacting Susie Golden at 509-526-6715 or sgolden@wwps.org.


Details are available via the following link:  http://www.wwps.org/bond/bond-oversight-committee

Blue Devil Strength and Development program sets summer dates for in-person sessions - 06/02/21

WALLA WALLA – The 2021 summer Blue Devil Strength and Conditioning program for boys and girls grades 6-12 begins Monday, June 21 and continues through July 30. There will be two in-person sessions offered this summer at no cost for participants.

Session One
•    7 to 8:15 a.m.
•    Monday-Thursday
•    June 21 to July 30
•    Wa-Hi Track & Field area and Track Shed

Session Two
•    10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
•    Monday-Thursday
•    June 21 to July 30
•    Wa-Hi Track & Field area and Track Shed

Register on Family ID: 
•    https://www.familyid.com/organizations/walla-walla-high-school

Head Football Coach Greg Lupfer and PE teacher Marqui Shields will lead the program this year and are excited to resume in-person strength and development sessions to enhance athletic skills and success. 

For more information, contact:
Coach Greg Lupfer – glupfer@wwps.org


Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: June 1, 2021 - 05/27/21

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/997