Vashon Island School District announces leadership team changes

Two leadership roles in the Vashon Island School District (VISD) will have new faces next year.

Two leadership roles in the Vashon Island School District (VISD) will have new faces next year as Kevin Dickerson, director of facilities and maintenance, departs for a new role at Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD), and Cierra Hunziker becomes the head of the district’s food services.

Dickerson has worked at the District since 2016 and will join PSESD as a risk consultant, according to VISD. Dickerson helped oversee numerous infrastructure improvements and the district’s preparation for complying with the Clean Buildings Act.

“I’ve always aimed to work in silence and let success be your noise, and have learned that leadership is defined by actions and not just in title or words,” Dickerson said in a prepared statement from the district. “In today’s multicultural, multigenerational and multi-diverse workforce, I feel that embracing every interaction and experience contributes to a growth mindset.”

Of particular note, according to the district, is Dickerson’s “instrumental” role in working with students to advance the district’s climate change and racial equity work.

Dickerson notably also was a key staffer in navigating the district’s response to the COVID pandemic, keeping buildings clean and safe as students returned from online education in 2021, first to hybrid and then full-time in-person education.

“Kevin’s unwavering dedication and heartfelt service have been the cornerstone of our district’s facilities and maintenance department, ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every student and staff member,” Superintendent Slade McSheehy said in a statement. “The PSESD is lucky to have him on their team.”

The District is now identifying interim leadership for the facilities and maintenance department and will begin a search for a permanent replacement soon.

Meanwhile, following a hiring process in March, VISD has promoted Cierra Hunziker, who is the current food services lead, to be the program manager of that department. (Hunziker will be head of the department but won’t have a director title, according to VISD, so the district won’t hire a new director for the department.)

Eileen Burke, currently a cook with the department, will be Hunziker’s second-in-command as the new assistant program manager, keeping the department’s leadership in-house.

“It’s an honor to have been entrusted with the responsibility and privilege of co-leading this meaningful and impactful program moving ahead — something Lisa has devoted the last 14 years to,” said Hunziker in a statement. “We will miss Lisa immensely, but are so grateful to have had the last year to learn from her and the importance of a ‘made from scratch’ philosophy.”

Burke said the team feels confident that Cyra has prepared them for the work: “We are ready to be in this together and bring a little of our own flair.”

During her 14 years of service with the district, Cyra expanded the food services department’s programs, increased meal participation rates, and strengthened the District’s commitment to providing healthy and nutritious meals “made from scratch” for students.

Much of the food provided by Cyra has been locally sourced — in this year alone, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust’s Matsuda Farm has delivered 400 lbs of flavorful, hyper-local, and nutrient-dense veggies to Cyra’s expert culinary team at VISD.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Crya has also long served the district’s cross-country and track programs as a dedicated coach.

Cyra received VISD’s prestigious Doors of Opportunity award for her work in providing delicious, locally sourced food to district families during the COVID-19 pandemic — an effort that began almost immediately as in-person education was shut down in the spring of 2020.

During the summer of 2020, Cyra worked with the Vashon Food Bank to continue another program of free meals for Vashon families, and in the fall, once again took on the task of providing breakfasts and lunches island-wide to students who were learning at home.

Cyra led her staff in pivoting again when students finally returned to the district for part-time, hybrid education, and then again in the fall of 2021 when all students returned to full-time classroom education.

“My time at the school district has been some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my career,” Cyra said in a statement. “Leaving will be bittersweet, but knowing that the legacy will be carried on by Cierra, Eileen and the wonderful kitchen crew is more than I could have hoped for.”