LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Ian Saltzman

Position: Superintendent
School: Everett Public Schools
School District: Everett Public Schools
City, State: Everett, WA

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Music that Describes Ian

Dr. Ian Saltzman's nominator would like to remain anonymous.

“Unprecedented times…”

Over the course of the last seven months, this phrase has been heard echoing over and over as our nation has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with our economy and culture, the impact of COVID-19 has overturned our educational systems, changing almost every single aspect of how we educate our young students across our nation.

Everett Public Schools was the first school system to be impacted by this pandemic, with the first student in the United States to test positive. Dr. Saltzman has led the charge to balance the continuity of instruction and the safety of students, families and communities.

In his first year as superintendent of Everett Public Schools, Dr. Saltzman has brought a vision of student success to EPS, one that is beyond state standards and scores. Each and every day, you hear him forge through this work, with the mantra “It’s about the kids; we have to do this for our children”.

In January, when Washington was the first state to be impacted by this virus that has devastated the world, no one knew the debilitating and long-lasting effects COVID-19 would have. The necessity for masks, sanitation, social distancing - all things this country hasn’t seen in a century - came flooding back. The news media covered the impact of the first case at one of the district's high schools when Dr. Saltzman had to make the difficult choice to close so that he could keep staff and students safe. What people did not see, however, was Dr. Saltzman working along the custodial team at the high school, sanitizing lockers and tabletops. What they didn't see was the hours of decisions at the table with the team, designing schedules and supports for staff as they began to deliver instruction to every student from a distance, something they had never done before. People didn't see the restructuring of the very delivery of staff's teaching, in order to keep staff and students safe while staying true to the district's mission of educating its children. What they did not see was the man at the head of this team, leading the way as a champion for students.

Clearly, these are unprecedented times, but unprecedented times call for unprecedented leadership. Dr. Saltzman is that unprecedented leader staying the course, providing both safety and continuous education for young people. For that reason, he is a LifeChanger.