Dear Superintendent Juneau:
On behalf of the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition (APDC), thank you again for coming to our meeting this past April. The members appreciated meeting you, the sharing of your vision for education in Seattle Schools, and the District’s strategic plan to achieve excellence for all students, especially our students of color.
During this meeting, we asked about Asian and Pacific Islander (API) representation on your leadership team, specifically on your cabinet. You told us that although there was no API representation on your cabinet, Kyle Kinoshita served in a leadership capacity as an executive director. We expressed our strong concern that your leadership team, especially your cabinet, should reflect the demography of the diverse students and families served by the District.
We just learned that Kyle is retiring this summer and we truly thank him for his years of service. His API community ties are deep and wide and we have felt fortunate that, in many ways, he represented our community in District leadership. With his departure, however, we understand there will be just one API remaining at the District leadership level. We are alarmed by this, especially in the context of learning that many administrators of color have left the District, feeling marginalized, tokenized, or excluded. We also understand that although new positions and promotions are taking place, it appears from the outside that Seattle Public Schools is not an environment that retains, develops, or advances leaders of color. Asian students make up approximately 13% of the student population, and Pacific Islanders .04%, possibly higher for both of these groups if we include multiracial students. As the third largest racial group and for Pacific Islanders greatly disadvantaged by systemic racism, authentic and community connected leadership is important.
We sincerely request that you will increase the number of APIs in the District’s upper leadership levels.
We feel that it is crucial to have our API community reflected in those positions. We look forward to hearing from you that meaningful progress is being made in a timely manner.
— Janice Deguchi