Mike Stromme finishes tenure at Lynden schools | News

LYNDEN — With a family, a home and a life in the Vancouver, Washington area, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Mike Stromme would not pursue a permanent superintendentship with the Lynden School District.

Wednesday, Aug. 31, Stromme will conclude his 14-month stint as the district’s interim superintendent. His next assignment: assistant superintendent for Cornerstone Christian Academy’s Battle Ground campus. Battle Ground is about 11 miles north northeast of Vancouver.

“I think it will be good,” Stromme said. “Working with a couple of people who I’ve worked with in public education. I’m thankful for that. Being close to my family every day.”

With the Battle Ground campus newly serving grades K-9 in the fall, Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) will add 10th grade in 2023, 11th grade in 2024, then finally 12th grade in 2025. Stromme explained he will oversee middle school and high school programming and will be responsible for operations across the entire school.

“In a way it’s a departure. In a way, not,” said Stromme, who not only graduated from a parochial school but also began his teaching career at a parochial school.

Mike Stromme: interim superintendent

On July 1, 2021, Stromme took over for Jim Frey, who left after 11 years as the district’s superintendent. Recently, Lynden School Board President CJ Cosanti said that serving as interim superintendent “in any public school district is not an enviable position.”

“Mike Stromme stepped into a situation where we were dealing with some uncertainty around the district and our future leadership and helped give us some breathing room to work on strategic priorities and do our best at finding a new, permanent superintendent,” Cosanti said.

Cosanti explained that Stromme was a “solid bridge for us between two great leaders in Jim Frey and David Vander Yacht.

“Part of the uncertainty regarding our transition was that for a good amount of time we didn’t know what we were transitioning to,” Cosanti said. “Mike did a great job of helping us put systems and procedures in place with that big picture perspective to give us the best chance of success when we finally picked a permanent super.”

Cosanti also said that Stromme’s “strengths for me were his experiences in larger systems and districts and that outside perspective that he could bring to bear in our situation.”

“Everything from policy work to administrative experience, labor and board relations, he was a solid help with all,” Cosanti said.

Two months ago, Stromme handed over the district’s superintendentship to VanderYacht, who served as assistant superintendent the previous six years, including this past year under Stromme. Since the change in leadership, Stromme has served as a consultant and to help Vanderyacht in his transition to superintendent.

As he wound up his time at Lynden schools, Stromme said he was most proud of the district’s work the past year on its capital facilities and strategic plans, and “getting through another year of COVID-19.”

“Also knowing I was an interim superintendent, working on the superintendent search process,” Stromme said. “Supporting the consultant and working with the board. That’s three areas, important areas I was able to help the district on.”

A ‘nice, starting position’ for VanderYacht

VanderYacht recently explained that Stromme’s two areas of greatest influence on his leadership were “long-range facilities planning and importance of community strategic planning/priorities.”

Stromme “left me in a nice starting position to engage the community on the long-range facilities needs of the Lynden School District,” VanderYacht said. “Mike’s previous capital facilities experiences as deputy superintendent of a large school district and time as superintendent in southwest Washington, provided new and fresh ideas on how to plan within a growing community.” VanderYacht also said that Stromme’s work facilitating a study and survey of current district facilities “creates a strong foundation from which I can facilitate community meetings.”

“He also did some nice visioning activity with a range of stakeholders related to the need for a new comprehensive high school and elementary learning spaces,” VanderYacht said. “I learned from Mike some of the tools available to make enrollment projections and steps necessary so the school district can respond to the needs of a growing community.”

As for the district’s strategic plan, VanderYacht explained that Stromme’s work with the Lynden School Board results in four areas of focus: safe and supportive learning environments, college and career-ready graduates, family and community partnerships, and culturally responsive and inclusive learning environments.

“Each area of ​​focus has a set of goals and timebound targeted objectives from which progress (or a lack of progress) can be determined,” VanderYacht said. “Our work going forward will be to develop performance measures and regular reporting intervals.”

Although strategic planning is not new to Lynden, VanderYacht said that the “tools for maintaining the priorities as fluid, ongoing blueprints for success is a mantra (Stromme) reinforced throughout his time in the district.”