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August 2018

Meet our new Special Services Director - Dr. Shannon Hitch

We are pleased to inform you that Dr. Shannon Hitch is our new Director of Special Services!

Dr. Hitch has worked in the field of Special Education for over 20 years. She comes to us from Northshore School District, where she served as Director, Secondary Special Education. In this role, she was responsible for Special Education services for all secondary schools in the district, as well as Northshore’s Adult Transition Program and Unique Needs Program.

Prior to her service as Director in Northshore School District, Dr. Hitch was a School Psychologist for over a decade. Dr. Hitch also served as Early Childhood Specialist, providing transition services for birth – 3 programs and, as a district Lead Psychologist in Issaquah. Dr. Hitch has experience working in a number of other districts in our state including Northshore, Bethel, Puyallup, and Wahluke. She is a member of the National and Washington Associations of School Psychologists, American Educational Research Associates, and Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Hitch also serves as Special Education Chair for WASA Region 110.

Dr. Hitch earned her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Psychology from Seattle University; her Master of Education in School Psychology from Central Washington University; her Post-Master of Educational Leadership and Administrative Credential from University of Washington’s Danforth program; and, her Doctor of Education from UW’s Leadership for Learning program.

Dr. Hitch was selected following an interview with a seventeen-member committee that included diverse representation from Special Education, the district, and community; a second-round interview with then-Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce and her cabinet members; and a site visit to Northshore School District. During the site visit, staff, administrators and families consistently commented on her depth of knowledge in Special Education, her approachability, and her advocacy for students, families and staff. Dr. Hitch lives in the district and has two sons; one who will be attending middle school, and one who just graduated from Redmond High School and will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Hitch to Lake Washington School District!

A Message from Dr. Shannon Hitch

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind!  I am beyond excited to be part of this remarkable school district and humbled by the opportunity to be a part of your child’s educational team. My children have been a part of the Lake Washington School District for a number of years so it is with a sense of coming home that I have started in this new role. Staff and parents have been incredibly welcoming and patient with all of my questions and new learning. Opportunities like this help to remind me of the challenges our students face when they are starting school.  My days are full: trying to learn everyone’s names, figure out where the bathroom and lunchrooms are located, find out who to ask my countless questions, understand how I fit into this organization, make new friends, and so much more. By the end of the day, all I want to do is curl up and take a nap!  However, all of my challenges are muted by my ability to communicate, my knowledge and experience as an adult and my education. It is moments like this when I am in awe of our students with special needs who undertake these challenges each September. They are some of the strongest people I know.

Speaking of strong people, this summer I was blessed to have the opportunity to see the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony. Seattle hosted over 4,000 athletes at the World Games in July while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics. This was one of the most inspirational celebrations I have ever seen and a wonderful way to launch into my transition here in Lake Washington. It is with this same excitement and passion that I hope to see us accomplish great things for our students this year. And stay tuned for how we might be working with Special Olympics in the future!

I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible this year. There is so much to learn and I believe that you will be some of my best teachers. In this spirit, please watch your mailboxes for a parent survey in the coming weeks. You will be receiving a questionnaire from OSPI, seeking to learn more about parent experiences here in Lake Washington. The feedback you provide will help us improve our practices and learn how to better meet the needs of our community. I would also like to invite you to participate in the LWSD Special Needs Parent Group meetings this year.  It will be an opportunity for us to connect in person, learn about our priorities and talk about how to support our students together. 

I wish you the best as you start to navigate the moments that tell us school is about to begin.  Getting class schedules, learning who your teacher will be, figuring out school supplies . . . it is my favorite time of the year. Enjoy these last few summer days and I’ll see you at school!

PTSA Special Needs Group (SNG) Meetings and Child Care Support

Our monthly PTSA Special Needs Group (SNG) meeting (see schedule below) is a great time to network with other parents, learn more about resources in our community, and learn more about strategies and supports for students with disabilities. We are offering student care during these meetings, to assist you in being able to access this wonderful opportunity to meet with parents. Please RSVP each month, by emailing For our October meeting, please RSVP by/before October 9. In your email, please include the age of your child, so we can ensure we have enough staff to cover all the students. The Special Services Director and Associate Directors participate in a meet and greet before each meeting at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Upcoming LWPTSA Council Special Needs Group Meetings:
Date: 10/16/2018
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: LWSD Resource Center – Board Room (1st Floor)
                 16250 NE 74th St
                 Redmond, WA 98052
Topic: Join the LWPTSA SNG and the Special Services Department as we kick off the beginning of the 2018-19 school year! The Special Services Department will be presenting updates and exciting work that will be continued into the school year. You won’t want to miss it!
Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the 2018-19 PTSA Special Needs Group Meetings:
  • 10/16/2018
  •  11/20/2018
  •  No Meeting in December
  •  1/15/2019
  •  2/26/2019
  •  3/19/2019
  •  4/16/2019
  •  5/21/2019
  •  No Meeting in June