Katie Runions, School Counselor

Susan Finnegan, Librarian Teacher

Ana Gonzalo Hernández, Guest Teacher/Intern

Yuto Otani, Guest Teacher/Intern

Welcome new staff! - April 23, 2019

Dear McDonald International Student and Families,

Welcome back from Spring Break!

As many of you have already heard, two staff members will be retiring at the end of the school year and we currently know of two other staff members who will be leaving our school. Ms. Jane (Administrative Secretary) and Ms. Pat (Librarian) will be retiring, and Ms. Kochvar (School Counselor) and Keiko Sensei (Japanese Immersion Teacher) will embark on new adventures. Additionally, our seven guest teachers/interns will return to their home countries, as they do at the end of each school year.

Due to the above staff departures, we spent the week before Spring doing lots of interviewing and I am really excited about our new hires. To learn more about two of our new staff members and two of our new guest teachers/interns, check out their bios below.

Katie Runions, School Counselor

Katie has been an Elementary School Counselor for 15 years and has most recently been the Counselor at Thornton Creek and Broadview Thomson PK8. Katie primarily uses Cognitive Behavioral strategies in her approach with children and works closely with teachers, students and families to problem-solve difficulties and overcome challenges through a focus on individual strength. She loves teaching in classrooms with her puppets Slow Down Snail and Impulsive Puppy, and her favorite children’s books currently are “The Rabbit Listened” and “The Invisible Boy.” She lives in Northeast Seattle with her husband and three kids, ages 5, 9 and 11, and she loves gardening, reading and sailing.

Susan Finnegan, Librarian Teacher
I am so excited to become a member of the McDonald International community in September. I come to McDonald after 10.5 years as a teacher-librarian and third grade teacher for Seattle Public Schools. One of my passions and goals is to inspire a love for reading and information gathering for pleasure and intellectual growth. I believe we are all life-time learners.

I have lived in the Greenwood neighborhood with my husband and daughter for over 20 year. In addition to reading and browsing books stores, some of my favorite past times are hiking, gardening, and most recently traveling. I look forward to meeting many of you during your International night in May 18.

Two little facts about me, I met my husband on the Seattle to Portland (STP) bicycle ride. Last year I became an Independent Bookstore Champion visiting 19 stores in one day.

Ana Gonzalo Hernández, Guest Teacher/Intern
Ana comes is from Valladolid Spain. In June 2019 she will earn her bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Fray Luis de Leon University School. According to Ana she is interested in participating in the amity intern program because she thinks it’s a great opportunity in many professional, educational, and personal aspects of her life. She is interested in improving her English and in learning the customs and traditions of Americans and the American educational system. Anna currently lives with her parents and her sister, Marta. She is very proud of her family and proud of what they’ve taught her. Anna is interested in contributing to our school by motivating students to learn Spanish and in teaching them the Spanish customs and habits that are most important to the people in her country.

Yuto Otani, Guest Teacher/Intern
Yuto Otani is from Okinawa Japan, though he spent the past 24 years living in Shizuoka. In March 2019 he earned his bachelors degree in education from Shizuoka University. Yuto is interested in participating in the Amity program because he’s looking to improve his English and be a more confident teacher. He’s also looking forward to teaching Japanese to American students and learning the differences in educational methods between the United States and Japan. Yuto is excited to teach about his culture to the McDonald students. Yuto belongs to a brass band orchestra and is looking forward to sharing this with our community.


Over the next few weeks we plan to interview for the Japanese Immersion teaching position, Administrative Secretary position, and additional guest teacher/intern positions. As soon as positions are filled, I will be sure to introduce you to those individuals.

Please help us take care of the grounds at our school. Over the past couple of weeks, it seems that after school, students have been digging the dirt in front of the school where our old garden used to be. The school will put up signs reminding students not to do this. Parents, we need your support in making sure this is not happening after school hours. Thank you.

The 2019 Seattle Public School Family Survey was distributed on April 16 by email to all SPS K-12 families. Paper surveys (with a weblink option) are being sent to households without an email address in PowerSchool. Surveys are being distributed in six languages and can be taken on any computer or mobile device. The survey window will close May 17. If you have questions about the survey, please check out the link here Family Survey FAQ. If you did not receive the survey link (you might need to check your junk mail) please contact research@seattleschools.org.

On June 7th, Ms. Pollema and Ms. Amanda are teaming up to bring to you the first annual McFestival: A Night of Music and Art! At this event all K-5th grade McDonald students will serenade the audience with beautiful music and their artwork will be displayed for all to see! We are looking for talented people to play music at the event when the students are not performing. Are you part of a band? Do you jam with your friends? Do you know of anyone who would be interesting in performing? If so, please contact Anna Pollema at akpollema@seattleschools.org.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at mhsushner@seattleschools.org. I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break!



Michelle Goldberg

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