Betty Patu Stepping Down Early

Patu announced this from the podium during Board comments.  Her last day, if I understood her, will be June 26th.

President Harris said that an application would be organized because the Board selects who finishes her term to 2021.

Know a good person in Patu’s district?  Tell them to stay tuned.


DP said…
muh said…
Seems like an exodus from the board. I wonder if Burke is going to stay? (I hope so.)
Anonymous said…
Why is she stepping down? I hope it is for positive reason and not unfortunate health or family concern.

kellie said…
Thank you Betty for all your years of service. Betty has always been a strong voice for students and has always put students at the front of the conversation.

Anonymous said…
Thank you Betty. You will be missed.

seattle citizen said…
Thank you, Director Patu, for your years of service in caring for students. You will be deeply missed.
Anonymous said…
This is sad news. I hope this is not due to illness with Betty or her family.

I have always appreciated her focus in making decisions that will best support students and families.

I see this on Twitter:
Dahlia Bazzaz
Times Reporter:
"It is worth noting that had Director Patu announced this last week, per King County election rules, her position could've been added to the slate of 4 seats up for grabs this fall. Now it is the Board's job to fill her seat instead of voters."

I asked her why, several times, she wasn't going to finish out her term. Why now. No detail beyond the fact she'd be doing this for a long time & that it was time for someone new to come in. She already has one person in mind she wants to recruit for appointment (did not name)"

Former legal counsel in SPS:
"Whether they pick somebody great or they pick somebody awful, the disappointing part is that it sure looks like an intentional choice to use timing to subvert an election."

"Betty Patu is a person of honor and integrity. She has given her life to kids in Seattle. I am sure that an election did NOT figure into her planning. She's not that kind of politician."

Dahlia Bazzaz
"I spoke to Betty Patu, too, after her announcement. She told me that she wasn't aware that the deadline for her seat to be decided by voters had already passed, and that she would've spoken up earlier if she had."

I am astonished that anyone would think Patu would do this for political reasons. She just doesn't think that way. As well, she has put 10 years of her life into the Board work (while burying a husband).
Seattle Peeps said…
Even if Director Patu did time her announcement to step down this way, she has earned that right. She has won her seat time and time again. She is the one who gets to decide. Her constituents elected her to be the one who decides.

I'm sure she has her own good reasons and is not just doing it flippantly to annoy Dahlia Bazzaz.

Thank you for your service, Director Patu. We wish you and your family the best.
Watching said…
Thank you for your service, Director Patu.

Patu is a legend in the community. She is a woman of deep faith that dedicated her entire life to serving others.

Carol Simmons said…
Director Patu has worked tirelessly for all students in our schools. She has given many years of service. Although it will be Seattle Public School's loss, she will be able to do many of the things she put on hold for so long. And knowing her dedication, she will be available for those who need her counsel. Congratulations my dear friend.
Good Bye said…
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Anonymous said…
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suep. said…
It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Betty Patu on the School Board. Shame on those petty few who are making spiteful and inaccurate comments about a generous and authentic woman who has served communities of color and the whole school district for decades, with heart, empathy, insight and courage.

The year I served on the board as VP alongside President Patu was one of the best of my term. I still stand by the statement I made about Betty when she passed the baton to me:

I have had the honor of serving with Betty Patu on the School Board these past three years, this last, with her as President.

We are fortunate as a district to have someone of her integrity and experience as a public servant. We were even more fortunate to have her as our Board leader.

She has been honored with a litany of awards for her many years of service in various communities of color. Three decades, I believe it is.

To give you an idea of how long Betty has been working for the community, she and her husband were among the first recipients of Senator Patty Murray’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award back in 1995.

Two years ago I had the pleasure of attending the University of Washington’s MAP, which is the Multicultural Alumni Partnership “Bridging the Gap” breakfast, to see Betty and her late husband Von Paul receive the “Distinguished Community Service Award” for dedicating their lives to the education and advocacy of all underrepresented students.

She never loses sight of what matters and why we are here. "What is best for our students? How does this benefit the kids?" -- These are always the questions that underlie her actions.

She has proven to be a strong voice for our students and communities.

With nearly 8 years of experience on the board, she brings valuable oversight skills and knowledge to the position.

What is especially remarkable about Betty is that her experience is real. She has helped get kids off the streets, encouraged them to stay in school. I am convinced she has saved lives. Even now, former students come to her and tell her their lives took a different path because of her.

She is a woman of courage and conviction, an honest voice that speaks from the heart but with a solid sense of common sense.

She has the strength of character to be humble, but is also fierce in her dedication to meet the needs of all the children of Seattle’s public schools.

I knew then and I was proven right that she has the honesty and integrity to be a powerful leader of our Board and our district. She will be a very hard act to follow.

Thank you, Betty.

-- Sue Peters
Anonymous said…
I worked closely with Director Patu during boundary changes in 2013, and I was stunned by how generous she was with her time. Though the circumstances were terrible, it was an absolute pleasure to get to know her.

The suggestion that she has ever had some sort of political agenda other than ensuring that the district does right by kids is laughable to me. Director Patu has one of the strongest moral compasses of anyone I’ve ever met.

The city in general and the Southeast in particular have been so fortunate to have her represent us. I wish her all the best and hope I continue to run into her around town.

Anonymous said…
JvA, can you step up?!?

Yes, Betty is an excellent human being. She is there for kids. But, staff was able to do a number on her from time to time, but that’s water under the bridge.

I remember you from those meetings. You were organized, respectful, and data driven. You were an excellent voice for the Southeast, and you pointed out the absolute lunacy of some of staff’s engineering with respect to the SE. You stopped the worst of it. So please, the southeast needs a strong advocate who cares about kids and who also has a strong, analytical mind.

JvA for SE
Anonymous said…
Come on folks lets keep this real, no negative comments for the women of color it's just not allowed no matter how relative the comments my be.

Blowing smoke
She’s leaving so there is no need to be unpleasant.

I concur with JVA for SE; she’s great.
Patrick said…
Thank you for your service, Director Patu. You did a lot of good. Best wishes.
Anonymous said…
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Laughing Out Loud said…
Imagine someone in charge of making decisions for over 50,000 students in over 100 schools not being able to pronounce the word school or actually reading the 3 page Board Action Reports they vote on....Gosh, how great would that be if all our School Board members were like that?!?!
Laughing Out Loud, you know, there are different kinds of leaders. That you demean Patu for her lack of English skills is sad. Betty is an immigrant so I'm guessing that, according to you, no one with an accent should run for public office.

Betty is not sophisticated in her manner or thinking but boy, she can sniff out bullshit like no one's business and has done it over and over during her time on the Board.

If you thought her lacking as a director that's fine but calling her out for her speaking abilities is not.
Anonymous said…
I am always frustrated by the disconnect between the upper levels of JSC staff and what is happening to students. I spend many hours with students as a volunteer, mostly giving extra help to students who are falling through the cracks of the sweeping generalizations in school district policies and decision making. I work with high schoolers who aren't going to get another chance when 'spiraling' curriculum comes around again, they are running out of time. And what makes the most difference to them is being treated like an individual. Treating children like widgets on an assembly line seems to be the prime directive in SPS, from EDM to ending choice assignments to a science experience that evidently can only be accessed on a classroom computer.

That is why I have appreciated Betty Patu as a board member. I always knew she was putting kids first. That she cared about what was happening on the ground and brought that focus to the board. I wish there was some way staff could learn to do that. But it seems that information only flows one direction at JSC, top down.

-HS Parent
Carol Simmons said…
T0 Laughing Out Loud

Director Patu speaks several languages. She has excellent communication skills. She has conducted workshops at Universities where she and her husband Von Paul Patu taught monolingual teachers the learning styles of Samoan and Tongan students. Director Patu has spent decades in Seattle secondary classrooms and on the Seattle School Board. If she is to receive any particular recognition for her knowledgeable and caring service, it should be a medal.
z said…
Hey Laughing Out Loud, I wonder how much YOU have done for this district. I wonder how much YOU have done for troubled and struggling youth in this city (or any youth in this city). Anything? I doubt it. Betty helped countless students long before she even thought about running for School Board. Her late husband helped as well.

Count me among the early skeptics, initially wondering if Betty would be up to the task. Count me among the many in this district who came to appreciate her character, candor, accessibility, and as Melissa says above, the ability to sniff out bullshit. So what if she has a bit of an accent. How incredibly small minded.

You, on the other hand, well, I suspect you've done little to nothing to help our kids other than maybe bitch on a blog.
Laughing Out Loud said…
There is a difference between accent and pronunciation.

Thank you
Anonymous said…
Hey Laughing Out Loud,

How many foreign (to you) languages have you learned in your lifetime? Have you ever lived in a country other than your birth country? Have you emigrated? I suspect not, because anyone who has done those things knows how hard it is to become fluent in a language that isn’t your mother tongue, and anyone who has immigrated knows how hard it is to move to another country. I have done all those things: lived in 5 countries outside of my birth country, learned 2 foreign languages to a fluent level and 3 others to a much lesser level, and immigrated to a country that speaks my native tongue (the US). And I’m telling you that it is hard to do all those things. And you ALWAYS have a foreign accent when speaking a language you learned after childhood. And adult language learners always make grammar mistakes, whatever language they learn. That’s a linguistic fact. So, you can disagree with Betty on any number of her policy decisions if you want to (I don’t actually), but having a go at her for not speaking American-English like someone who grew up in the US is merely churlish bigotry. Also, it doesn’t make you look too clever.


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