Q&A with CLS superintendent Marc Brouillet
A lifelong Puyallup Valley resident and educator has taken the helm at Chief Leschi Schools.
Marc Brouillet (pronounced Broo-lett) was appointed the district’s interim superintendent on Sept. 20, replacing Amy McFarland. Earlier this month, the Tribal Council approved a three-year contract so that Brouillet can fill the role permanently.
Brouillet joined CLS in 2016, and previously served as its Human Resources director. He talked about his new role with Puyallup Tribal News.
Q: Where did work before you came to CLS?
A: I was in Sumner as their assistant superintendent for about two and a half years. Before that, I was in Yelm for five years as an assistant superintendent.
Q: How has the transition gone?
A: I think it’s been really smooth. I’ve gotten positive feedback from kids, staff, parents and families. …I helped out with athletics a lot as an administrator, so I already knew a lot of the kids. And I knew a lot of the staff – I hired quite a few of them.
Q: And then the school year was interrupted by COVID-19. How did that go?
A: When the COVID school closure started on March 16, staff responded quickly and at-home learning packets. When the closure was extended through the end of our school year in June, with the support of the School Board, we were able to quickly adjust our plans and began online instruction to all students in their homes
Our Food Service and Transportation departments teamed together to prepare and deliver a hot breakfast and sack lunch to all of our students needing that service. From March through June 19, they provided 52,000 meals to our students.
Our senior class did an amazing job of continuing their educational activities and studies during the closure. They completed state requirements, made up credits they needed and stayed engaged with their teachers’ weekly instruction.
At our delayed graduation ceremony in August, we’ll have 37 seniors receive their diploma!
Q: Why did you want this position?
A: It was a chance to come to a nice, smaller setting. When you’re in a traditional district office, you’re away from kids. The structure here is nice because we’re all on campus, we’re walking through, and we’re visiting classrooms.
There are a lot of components at Leschi that a typical public school would love to have, like partnerships with the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority and Kwawachee.
We do a lot of partnerships with PTHA. For example they come in and do dental screenings for our elementary. We partner with a physicians program to come in and do sports physicals. This year, we’ve really upped the partnerships with Kwawachee and the treatment program, so they’re doing onsite counseling. These things minimize the time students are away from school and out of class.
There are some longer range plans with PTHA. We’d love them to have an onsite clinic with medical and dental, eventually.
Q: How many students attend CLS?
A: With our preschool, we are at 635 students through grade 12. We’re roughly about 60 percent Puyallup. We have 58 tribes represented.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’m literally a lifelong Puyallup Valley resident. I grew up in Puyallup, and graduated from Puyallup High School. I taught in elementary and secondary schools in Puyallup, and was assistant principal at Ballou Junior High School and principal at Zeiger Elementary.
Having teaching and administrative experience in both settings is really an asset because I understand the challenges and celebrations that happen at both the elementary school and the secondary building. It helps me understand how to support administrators, as well as the teachers.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My wife Tami and I have been married for 38 years, and we have two kids. They’re both grown and married. Our son Jordan works in the cardiac care unit at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, and our daughter Brooke a teacher in Tacoma. She taught here for a couple of years. Some kids know me as “Mrs. Gregory’s dad.”
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I went to college in Hawaii. I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership. I earned my superintendent credentials through Washington State University.
Q: Are there any changes or new programs that you’ve implemented this year?
A: That’s one of the advantages of having been here the last three years on campus — I’ve got a pretty good feel of where things are.
We’re trying to simplify back to the classroom, and make sure we have a strong learning educational environment so that kids understand that when they’re on campus, they’re here to learn and we’re going to support them in that process.
…We’ve got a schoolwide reading curriculum, American Reading Company, that’s getting great results since it was implemented two years ago. The books are targeted to be of interest to Native students.
We’ve also using Eureka Math. It’s getting some good growth and we want to make sure teachers feel really comfortable delivering the material.
Q: What’s ahead for Chief Leschi Schools?
A: Our goal is to get all students at or above grade level in reading and math. If we’re doing that, it’s going to give us the foundation to go onto other subject areas.
I think one of the hot topics, and it’s not unique here, is bullying and anti-bullying activities.
The School Board recently formed an anti-bullying committee. We’re also making that one of our priorities. We want to make sure kids have adults to talk to when they’re experiencing any type of bullying, to make sure we’re addressing it when it happens and make sure the ones doing the bullying know that that’s not something we’re going to allow and tolerate.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
A: I’m just so appreciative and happy to be in this role, and I think we can really do some great things for kids and the community.