Thursday, November 09, 2017

Former Head of Enrollment Passes Away

From district communications:
Tracey Libros, who retired in 2014 after a dozen years of service as head of the SPS enrollment planning office, passed away on Nov. 2 at Swedish Hospital in Issaquah, following a two-year struggle with cancer. 
Tracy's long career in public education began with service as an elementary teacher in her native city of Philadelphia. She held master's and doctoral degrees in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A specialist in enrollment and desegregation planning in urban school systems, she joined SPS in 2002.  
She is survived by her husband and son, both residents of the greater Seattle area, and by two brothers who reside in Pennsylvania and in Maryland. Plans for a memorial service are incomplete at this time. 
Tracy Libros was one of the brightest lights in this district.  You could ask her any enrollment question and get a straight answer.  Many of us were glad for her to be able to retire but sad to see her leave.
And now cancer took her retirement.  It's a shitty thing to happen to a good person like Tracy.  I hate cancer.

May she rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

Damn. That's the crappiest of crap news. So sorry her struggle was not public. Would have dropped her a note to personally spell out how much of a rockstar and SPS hero she was to me and so many in the system. If any Libros family and friends read this blog, deepest regrets for your loss. If a public service is planned, please let the public know through this blog.


Anonymous said...

We need more people of integrity like her on SPS central staff - people who are committed to public service rather than just advancing Michael Tolley's wacko agenda.

Delridge Dad

Eric B said...

Tracy is and will be deeply missed.

Anonymous said...

I met Tracy at a district held kindergarten fair when I was enrolling my daughter. She was so helpful and knowledgable - she took the time to answer all of my "new to SPS" questions. A total ROCK STAR!

Best to her family.

N by NW

Steve said...

Terrific public servant who always had a straight answer (including "I don't know") even if it wasn't the answer you were hoping for. She knew the district inside and out, and used that knowledge for our kids. Very sorry to hear this...


Old Timer said...

This is sad news.

I was part of an effort to work with Ms. Libros on a boundary issue. Her job was enormously stressful and difficult. She worked tirelessly and in conjunction with the community. She will be missed.

Rest in Peace, Ms. Libros.

Seattle Citizen said...

Oh, I am SO sorry to hear this. A wonderful, wonderful person and a dedicated public servant who did such amazing work in a very trying environment.

Thank you, Tracey, for everything!

Anonymous said...


no caps

Bruce Taylor said...

Ugh. I wish I had something better to offer the Libros family than "thoughts and prayers." Much gratitude for Tracy's honesty and service to Seattle children and families.

kellie said...

This is what School's First had to say about Tracy.

As some of you may have heard earlier this week, Tracy Libros, retired from SPS and Schools First Treasurer, passed away following an extended battle with cancer. Tracy will be sorely missed; her devotion to public education and our kids was unshakable, as evidenced by her service with Schools First in her retirement, among other commitments.

I don't have any details of a memorial, but if I receive those, I will forward the information. Schools First leadership would like to encourage anyone who feels moved to contribute to please donate funds to the SPS Scholarship Fund in Tracy's name. Details on the fund are here; the donation form is attached to this note. Our hope is this will generate sufficient support to both assist deserving students and also celebrate Tracy's legacy with a plaque as memorial of her service.

Here is the link to the scholarship fund.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, Kellie

kellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kellie said...

Unshakable is a great word to describe Tracy and her commitment to students and families.

I once made a suggestion that would have improved some transparency with post open enrollment data and would improve some process flow (my area of specialty). Tracy was an emphatic "no" to my suggestion, because of her expertise. She then shared something that turned me into her biggest fan.

She said that she was personally responsible for ensuring that every student had a teacher and a bus on the first day of school. That was her accountability and she could not agree to any process that might jeopardize that for any school, no matter the potential benefit, or the extra work involved. She then explained that post open enrollment data was very helpful for schools that were over capacity or had long wait lists but that there were multiple schools that received several classrooms of students during the month of September and October and that the process I outlined would mean that someone, somewhere in the system might take the opportunity to remove staff at the schools where the students were not yet in the system.

That meant a lot of extra work for her, but she wouldn't take that risk. She did that work because she was deeply committed to students.

I am heartbroken that this extraordinary's woman's life was cut short and her well earned retirement from a devoted life of public service was so brief.

Anonymous said...

Tracy was such a great combination of expertise, realism, and customer focus. She made positive impact on everything she touched and did it with humility.

She is missed...

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

Eight or so years ago, when I was still relatively new to SPS, I got involved in an issue related to the New Student Assignment Plan. There was a protest with signs and tv cameras outside the school board meeting. Someone pointed out Tracy Libros and we approached with our concerns, unsure what to expect. She sat down with a group of us, open to earnestly discussing our concerns right then and there, despite the fact that she was going to be called up soon to speak to the school board. Tracy didn’t brush us off or give us SPS-ese explanations. She demonstrated that she clearly understood and cared about our concerns and listened to our suggestions. She explained how the process worked, which we came to understand was more difficult than necessary due to limitations of the computer system at the time. She acknowledged imperfections in the system and explained in what specific ways they would do the best to meet the spirit of our goal.

I walked away humbled and impressed and watched over the years in public meetings as Tracy continued to give frank answers, yet was willing engage in thoughtful discussions with families and board members, explaining the system, the options, the limitations, and willing to accommodate or adapt when possible.

KOKT alum

Carol Simmons said...

Dr. Tracy Libros was devoted to the Seattle Public School District, the schools, the students, their families and the community that is Seattle. Even though she was extremely knowledgeable, she was humble, caring, honest, professional, and one of the most respected people in SPS history. She believed in desegregation and integration and worked tirelessly to achieve it for the benefit of all children.
She will be missed. How proud her family must be of her. Our deepest sympathy.

Jan said...

Such sad news. Tracy Libros was a stellar example of committed service to Seattle public schools and families. The one honest, competent, responsive department at SPS -- that you could ALWAYS count on -- was hers. Maybe you didn't always get what you wanted (in terms of enrollment results), but you always got an intelligent and thoughtful response. There were years (during MGJ's reign) when Tracy was the one single thing that kept me from losing faith in the District.

I wish we could find someone of her caliber and character to be the Superintendent.

Anonymous said...

I'm just so sad I don't know what to say.

Tracy was someone you could always trust. And trust that she was putting students first in her efforts. Even when I wanted her to bend the rules she wouldn't. But, she coached me on how to get the rules changed when there was a rule or process that she agreed needed to be changed. She was able to sooth her Superintendent of the day, trusted by the Board Directors, and responsive to parents. Such a rare and remarkable expertise. There were so many times she responded to an inquiry at 1 or 2 am in the morning. She worked tirelessly for our children, the students of SPS.

I am so sad that she spent her last years fighting demon cancer. It was not deserved.

Thank you Tracy and Rest in Peace. A true and valiant person that is and will be sorely missed.


z said...

I'd just like to echo the sentiments above. As someone with many years of experience advocating for students in this district, I've run into all kinds of people and personalities. Tracy was truly one of the best.

I remember when I was first getting involved, I thought... who is this woman who wields so much power and talks so authoritatively -- like she knows everything, pfft! But over time I realized that with enrollment issues she basically did just flat out know more than everyone else. But she didn't flaunt it, she was just a stalwart supporter of students, and it showed.

As Kellie and others have pointed out above, it wasn't just all the details she was able to hold in her head, it was a deep understanding of all the issues, how they intertwined, how decisions could cascade. And unlike so many current (and past) staff, I never once felt like she had a secret agenda, she was straightforward and transparent.

If Tracy's family ever reads this thread, please know that there are many parents in Seattle you'll likely never meet that greatly appreciated her work. She is indeed missed.

Patrick said...

RIP Tracy Libros.

Unknown said...

I first met Tracy as a student at Antioch College in the late 1960s. Even then it was clear that she was a remarkably intelligent and committed person. In the decades that followed, she and Ormond remained role models for lives devoted to cultural breadth and social reform--ones truly worth living.

Alan Wald
Ann Arbor, Michigab