Meet the Principal

 

My name is Kim Bilanko and I am so proud to be the principal at the our new school, Ella Baker Elementary. Opening a new school is the dream of a lifetime, and I am looking forward to creating this school together!

For those who have not met me, let me introduce myself. I was raised in Bellevue, WA and attended Western Washington University. I received my B.A. in Special Education with an Elementary Education endorsement. I completed my student teaching at Franklin Elementary (Lake Washington) and Woodridge Elementary School (Bellevue) in 2000. Since then, I have taught multiple grade levels including Special Education. I have also taught in multiple states including Washington, Texas and California. I also spent time as a Literacy Coach and mentored teachers in the classroom. I then received my M.A. in Education (Administration and Supervision) at California State University, Fresno. With my administrative credential, I then worked as a Vice Principal at both the elementary and secondary level. Most recently, I served as the principal for seven years at Ben Franklin Elementary and three years at Rosa Parks Elementary.

On a personal note, I love spending time with my husband, children and dog. I enjoy hiking, playing soccer, snowboarding, wake-boarding, camping and going on adventures with my family. I am also a huge Seahawk, Mariner and Husky fan! My passion is education and I truly love being a principal.

This past year, our team has developed a strong sense of purpose for Ella Baker Elementary School.  Our goal is to empower our students as changemakers. We want students to know their potential, learn how to collaborate with others, and know that they can impact our world. In order for students to be future ready, we believe in developing children both academically and socially. Our students will learn and practice the Baker Eight Traits; empathy, gratitude, grit, optimism, integrity, self-control, curiosity and embracing diversity. These skills will be taught and developed through regular experiences including integrated service-learning projects. The integrated units of study will give students the opportunity to explore content areas in a hands-on and meaningful way, ask critical questions, learn from experts in the field, and understand how they can make an impact on our school, community and world. Our staff is dedicated to developing strong relationships with students and among students.  We will ensure Ella Baker is an inclusive, equitable and engaging learning environment for all students.

Welcome to Ella Baker Elementary.

Kim Bilanko

 

Associate Principal: Julie Guest

Dear Staff and Community,

It is my great honor to be named as the Associate Principal for Ella Baker Elementary School! I could not be more excited about the opportunity to join you on this journey. As I spent a little bit of time this morning reading about the legacy of Ella Baker, I was especially inspired by one of her quotes that reflects my personal beliefs about educational leadership, "Give light and people will find the way." I look forward to putting this principle into practice each day as I serve the students, families, and staff members of Baker Elementary, supporting each to grow and flourish in their own unique way.

I come to Ella Baker as a seasoned member of the Lake Washington School District community. I graduated from Redmond High School before getting my education degree from Western Washington University. Since that time, i have welcomed 21 classes of students over the years in various teaching positions in LWSD, from first to fifth grade, from science specialist to Quest teacher; I've been fortunate to have a wide variety of experiences. And while I have loved teaching dearly, in the past few years I have become increasingly inspired and excited about the impact an administrator can have in a school I am eager to step into that role knowing out students, families, and teachers are working harder than ever before - all needing good support to help them thrive.

On a personal level, I live with my husband and two teenage sons in Kenmore, where I like to spend my free time watching them play sports, having coffee with a friend, or walking our dog Boagie. Although many days I feel like I'm on the "home stretch" of this active parenting stage, I am grateful for the lesson I have learned as a parent that make me a more humble, empathetic, and passionate educator.

I am looking forward to getting to know each of you soon. Thank you for welcoming me to your community.

Warmly,

Julie Guest

Associate Principal

Ella Baker Elementary School