Student Profile: Dr. Traci Pierce

The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) board of directors voted unanimously to hire Dr. Traci Pierce as the district’s new superintendent, beginning July 1.

Pierce is currently serving as the deputy superintendent for the district and has been very involved in their grade reconfiguration and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math ) choice school.

This past fall, the board decided they were going to focus on internal candidates only so the transition could be smooth and initiatives like the STEM choice school could be continued without a hitch. In December 2011 the LWSD board unanimously voted for Pierce as their preferred candidate. This positioned her to later become the candidate of choice for superintendent.

Dr. Pierce is known in the district for putting students first and leading through inclusion and collaboration. CityU is thrilled to have her as one of our alumni members!

Dr. Pierce earned her Graduate Principal Certificate and her Master of Education in Educational Leadership from CityU.

To find out more about her success and passion around education, we asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say…

City University of Seattle (CU): How long have you been an educator?

Dr. Traci Pierce (TP): I began my educational career as a teacher in 1994.

CU: Why did you become an educator or when did you know education was the field for you?

TP: When I was in second grade I remember wanting to become a teacher because I loved school and I loved my teachers. Once I seriously began to pursue studies in education, I knew that it was the right field for me. I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity. Understanding how people learn, and how to best support learning, continues to interest me as a learner and leader.

CU: As a teacher you taught language arts to junior high school students. Do you think your experience as a junior high teacher will inform how you govern as Superintendent? If so, how?

TP: Absolutely! My teaching experience informs my practice daily. As a teacher I believed in the importance of collaborative collegial relationships, listening to students and using data to inform my practice, and in establishing positive partnerships with parents. These same aspects – collegial relationships, use of data, positive community and parent partnerships- continue to be important and inform my approach to the superintendency.

CU: Soon after being a teacher you filled the role of assistant principal, then principal, then chief of schools. What led you into K-12 leadership?

TP: When I began to take on some building-level leadership roles, it helped me to think more globally about the school beyond my own classroom, and I began to learn about the system of education that can support effective classroom practice. This interest led me to continue to pursue my studies and explore new roles in K-12 education.

CU: You earned your principal certification and a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership from City University of Seattle. How has this education been useful for you in your career?

TP: My experience at City U was an integral part of my educational and professional pursuits. I continue to use the knowledge I gained at City U in my daily practice.

CU: Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for educators out there who would like to move into a leadership role and/or switch to a more administrative role within their district?

TP: The field of education continues to need strong instructional leaders in administrative leadership positions. I would encourage educators with strong instructional skills, a passion for equity and excellence in education for all students, and a willingness to continually learn and grow professionally to pursue their interest and consider all the leadership possibilities that continued education can bring.