Sunnyside school directors afforded ‘Board of Distinction’ honors


Dylan Gardner

For the fifth consecutive year, the Sunnyside School Board was selected for a Board of Distinction Award by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA).

Sunnyside’s was one of 17 school boards statewide to garner the board of distinction honor. Other school boards in Yakima County receiving the honor were Union Gap and West Valley.

The annual boards of distinction program honors school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. The standards, developed and adopted by WSSDA in 2009, promote research-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement, and help close the opportunity gap.


Sandra Linde

Award applicants submit an essay and supporting evidence to demonstrate how they are putting the standards into practice.

This year, applicants addressed criteria ranging from setting and communicating high expectations for student learning to engaging the local community.

“It is really an honor and privilege for each of our board members to represent our community in governing a school district that has had such an incredible story of success,” said Rocky Simmons, Sunnyside School Board president.


Michelle Emery Perry

“This award is a recognition of the high-quality teaching and learning occurring throughout all of the schools in our district. The positive outcomes we have experienced do not happen without having a committed staff, engaged students and involved parents.

“We will accept this honor on behalf of our entire community,” said Simmons.

Besides its fifth consecutive board of distinction honor, the Sunnyside School Board was selected as WSSDA’s school board of the year in 2008 and 2013.


Rocky Simmons

“It comes as no surprise to me that this board is once again being recognized for their leadership of our school district,” said Dr. Rick Cole, superintendent of schools for Sunnyside.

“The work of a school board is not easy, but our board has been committed to a unified vision of success for all students that is at the forefront of all of our decision-making processes. Our incredible staff has rallied around that vision and we are seeing unprecedented levels of success throughout the district,” Cole said.


Steve Winfree

The 17 boards will be honored this week during the 2014 WSSDA annual conference in Spokane. At that time, the association will also announce the three 2014 boards of the year winners.

The Sunnyside School Board will also receive a special merit award for earning board of distinction recognition for five consecutive years.


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