Superintendent's Message

Last Updated: 9/6/2022 3:27 PM

August 2022 - Welcome to 2022-2023 School Year


Dear Staff, Students, Families and Community,

It seems like yesterday we were in the parking lot, waving at the buses and saying goodbye to students and staff, yet here we are preparing to welcome everyone back for the 2022-2023 school year. Summer went by in a blink.

So much of life is this way; racing around to meet obligations and fulfill expectations. Often we find ourselves looking back on moments that have passed not feeling we have truly experienced them.

This year we are focusing on being mindful: of each moment, of each experience and each student.  Educationally we are enhancing our student support utilizing the MTSS (Multi-tiered System of Support) framework that focuses on supporting academic growth, behavioral and social/emotional needs. This multi-tiered, evidence-based approach addresses the WHOLE child and their individual circumstances; mindful that every student is capable of reaching their personal level of success with the proper interventions.

For the coming year we are also focusing on being mindful of our community and the partnerships that raise us up to do our best for our students. We are launching the school year with the NMSD PICNIC event on August 25th from 4-7 pm in front of the high school; the acronym standing for “Purposefully Integrating Culture Nurturing Inclusive Community.” This back-to-school outreach event incorporates our community partnerships, music and fun, setting the tone for the year ahead.  By celebrating who we are, we join together on what’s to come.

The year ahead will be a good one. Be mindful of each moment and immerse yourselves as much as possible in your student’s journey. Because, as we all know, it goes by in a blink.


Dana Rosenbach



June 2022 - End of Year Message from Dana Rosenbach

Dear Staff, Students, Families and Community,

There is a feeling of momentum at the end of a school year. Collectively we are caught up in the surge of forward motion as classes, clubs and teams come to an end and there is almost a visible pace as teachers, staff, and students, race towards completion. Everyone striving to ensure they reach their goals.

But every goal met clears the way for setting new goals on our educational journeys. We watch our seniors meet their goal of graduating and set their sights on their new, post-secondary goals; freshman, anticipating their high school careers, and our elementary students looking ahead to middle school. Even our youngest are getting ready for an important step in their “cradle-to-career” pathway with the start of kindergarten. Individually, we are all constantly planning and striving towards the future.

As a District, our planning and striving never ends. Looking back on the 2021-2022 school year, we celebrate meeting many of our goals. The return to in-person learning, re-engaging with students, re-activating community partnerships and setting clear goals for the coming school year. We also celebrate the hidden, less tangible goals. Ways in which we were able to be there for our students and make their journey smoother, at times when they were facing what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles. Building relationships with our students, supporting their journey, and celebrating their successes; these are the things that matter most to those of us working in this district.

We wish you a relaxing, rejuvenating summer. One where the satisfaction of completing goals evolves into the spark of new hopes, dreams, and ultimately, new plans. We are in that spot as a district. Ready to set new goals. Ready to strive. Ready to celebrate the journey ahead.

Dana Rosenbach Superintendent


November 24, 2021

On behalf of our students, staff, board members and families, I want to thank you all for the support in the passage of the School Levy for Educational Programs and Operations. We sincerely thank all those who helped us to reconfigure and recreate a plan that would address the most pressing needs of the district while remaining cognizant of the current economic uncertainty that we are all facing.  We recognize that our voters have agreed to these taxes with the expectation that the money will be well and carefully spent and we will meet that expectation.

The passage of our levy will ensure all our students enjoy programs and activities that will help our students obtain an excellent education so that they continue to have many options for success in their future.

We are fortunate to live in a community that realizes education is a critical investment in the future of our young people and our society. Successful communities are measured in a large part by the quality of their schools. We thank the North Mason Citizens for Schools Committee and many others who gave many hours to support quality education.

It is a privilege to be part of a community that continues to support students through volunteering, mentoring, business partnerships, scholarships, donations and attending school events.

We will continue to prepare our students to graduate confident in their abilities to meet life’s challenges and opportunities knowing that we are one family in this mission.

October 2, 2020

School has been in session since the beginning of September. It has been unlike anything we have ever known or imagined as we respond as a community to the challenges of living through the Covid 19 pandemic. I recently saw a message UW professor Chelsea Wood had adapted from Brandon Bayne at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to share with her students. I would like to share some of that message here:


1.   Nobody signed up for this...

  • ...not for the sickness, not for the social distancing, not for the end of our collective lives together on campus.
  • ...not for online class, not for teaching remotely, not for learning from home, not for mastering new technologies, not for varied access to learning material.

2.  The humane option is the best option.

  • We are going to prioritize supporting one another as human.
  • We are going to prioritize simple solutions that make sense for the greatest number of people.
  • We are going to prioritize sharing resources and communicating clearly.


This message resonates throughout our North Mason community. We know that working in a remote environment is fraught with challenges and we will continue to work with partners throughout the community to find ways to support our students, staff and families. We are looking forward to the opportunity to once again see students in our buildings, engaged in learning and are implementing a plan to go slow, and get back to school in a hybrid learning environment. In the meantime, our teachers and staff are connecting and engaging in learning in new ways every day.


Our families are important partners in this work. We need to hear from you about what is working, and what roadblocks come your way.

Take care, be safe, and be well,

Dana Rosenbach

Superintendent, North Mason School District


Whole Child, Whole School, Whole Community

North Mason School District Replacement Levy

January 29, 2020


This month, our community has seen the arrival of ballots in mailboxes regarding our current school levy election. Although we would all have been happy if the legislature’s response to the 2011 McLeary decision resulted in the end of school levies, it didn’t. We must still rely on community support to fully fund programs for our students. Our board deliberated carefully to determine what would be needed to continue support for our programs for the next 4 years. We have sent our request to the voters. We based this request on projected enrollment growth and increasing property values. If either of these projections are not met, we will collect less than the requested amount. For example, at current enrollment (no new students) we could only collect $2.29/1,000.00 in 2021, not the requested $2.36. However, if we don’t do the projections and plan for growth, we cannot request an amount greater than the voters approve. The formula is complicated, and it is important to consider every possibility when building a levy request.


How much is the levy?

To replace our current levy collection, which expires in December 2020, we are seeking $2.36/$1000. This is the same amount voters approved in 2016. However, the current collection rate has decreased to $1.99/$1,000 due to increased property values. The new levy is a $.37/ $1,000 increase from the current collection. This will net the district a maximum of $5.9 million dollars in the first year. This is a replacement levy, which will allow us to maintain program funding for the next four years. The current net amount is $4.6 million dollars each year. To maintain programs, this levy is based on a projected 5% property value increase each year, allowing for an increase to the maximum collection, yet keeping the individual collection at or below $2.36/$1,000. In 2021, this will provide 16.4% of the district budget. In 2016, levy dollars supported 18.7% of the district budget.

What about the McCleary fix?

When the State Supreme Court found in 2011 that Washington has a constitutional mandate to amply fund education, it was expected that state funding would replace the need for local levies to support educational programs. However, funding is a complicated issue with which our legislature is still wrestling. When the legislature ‘fully funded’ education in response to this decision, they funded a specific staffing formula. This formula does not support everything needed to run our schools. For example, it provides funding in North Mason for 3.8 employees to take care of grounds, maintenance and facilities for JTHS, NMHS, HMS, BE, SH, the early kindergarten and preschool programs, the bus garage, the district office, the stadium and athletic fields. It takes more than 18 employees to do this work. That means the district must fund the remaining 15 positions with local dollars. This is just one example of the funding gap. We are not fully funded in any category and still need to assess and collect levy dollars to meet the needs of our students and our schools.

What does the levy buy?

Student Safety & Security


SRO, Security Officer, alarm monitoring, building inspections, pest control, electronic locks/badge system, security system, insurance, maintenance, custodial services

Instructional Support Services


Teacher coaching, MTSS, AVID, art, music, paraeducators, early kindergarten, Preschool


$ 280,129.00

Athletic coaches, equipment, fees/dues, bus/van travel

Food Service

$ 330,000.00

Food, equipment, staffing

School Counseling/Nursing Services

$ 400,000.00

School counselors and nursing staff


$ 530,000.00

Bus drivers and mechanics

Special Education

$ 920,000.00

Specialists (OT/PT/Psch), out-of-district placement fees, paraeducators, equipment for students


Thank you for considering your levy vote with what’s best for the students!

Warmest Regards,

Dana Rosenbach




August 28, 2019

Teachers and staff are back at school getting ready to start the new year when schools open next week on September 4, 2019. They are working to build learning spaces that meet the needs of the whole child. By meeting the needs of the whole child, we can build a school-wide system, a whole school that encourages and develops success and ultimately meets the needs of the whole community.

Staff are examining their curriculum, looking at data, and planning to meet the needs of the students they serve. They are developing new opportunities for students to grow, expanding course offerings and looking for ways to engage all students in activities and lessons that challenge and excite them.

Over the past two years, we have worked to deepen our understanding of the whole child. We recognize that there are many influences that impact student success and to encourage academic success, we also need to support the social-emotional needs of the student. Each building has developed a framework for student success that addresses the needs of the whole child. In these frameworks, the staff has addressed not only academics, but social-emotional needs and designed effective frameworks for student behavior. All of this work is focused on developing comprehensive learning environments that support the whole child.

When we think about the whole child, we also think about the whole school and whole community. Our frameworks are intended to support a system-wide approach to success. Part of this system includes building strong partnerships and we are proud of our partnerships with our community.  We encourage all of our community to partner with us in building whole schools for the whole child.

One of the partnerships that has really grown over the past year is that with Peninsula Community Health. We led the way in the region, in bringing a school-based clinic into our schools. This fall, the clinic opens full time to support our students and staff!

We are also opening a Family Resource Center this Fall. Cindy Smethers will coordinate efforts to support our families in meeting their students needs. Our support services for Homeless students, coordinated by Dori Berge will also move to the Family Resource Center. We are pleased to offer these support services to students and their families.

At North Mason Schools, we are proud of our position at the center of the community. We believe in serving our community by serving the needs of our students. We have many opportunities for community members to volunteer. Volunteering in our schools is a great way to become a partner. To register as a volunteer, please go to: We hope you will consider joining us in serving our students, our schools and our community in the coming year.

It is going to be an amazing year!

Dana Rosenbach




March 15, 2019

Dear NMSD Families and Community,

North Mason School District recently invited a committee to take a look at school start times. There is a growing body of research that indicates later start times are beneficial for students in their teens. Districts like Seattle and Bainbridge Island have made recent moves to adjust start times for their older students which beneficial results. Because we are a rural district, this is a more complicated issue due to transportation and childcare concerns in our area. Those concerns will be some important factors that the committee will consider during discussions.

Our school district is not contemplating any action at this time. However, we felt it was important to gather information and do some research on this concept. We are in the very beginning stages of this discussion. If the board decides to consider this question, there will be multiple opportunities for public input before any changes are made. The committee has a lot of work to do before they would recommend any changes to the board. The committee may not recommend any changes at all.

The needs of our students will always come first.


Dana Rosenbach

February 27, 2018

Since the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, numerous student-led events are being planned across the state and country. It has come to our attention that students may be planning to walk out of class in the coming weeks to honor those who have lost their lives due to school violence.  

Advocating for an issue can be a powerful learning experience; it is also a good lesson in democracy and the right to have a voice in government. A large number of students in some of our neighboring districts walked out and held demonstrations last week. We acknowledge that only some of our students may participate in future events while others may choose not to be involved.  

We want to ensure all students feel safe and respected no matter what they choose to do. We ask that student groups work with their building principals out of respect to their fellow classmates, school staff, and the educational process. In the event that a student does choose to walk out, teaching and learning will continue and classes will operate on normal schedule. It is a violation of school rules to disrupt the educational process. Students who arrive late or miss class will be marked tardy or absent.  

We encourage parents to talk with students about protesting and their participation. If your child plans to attend an upcoming event, follow the school’s guidelines for acceptable attendance procedures and the excusing of absences.  

Our first priority is to keep all of our students safe. We will continue to keep you informed about any other local events that may impact the school day. 

Please feel free to reach out to any of us if you have questions. 

Chad Collins, North Mason High School 
Anne Crosby, James A Taylor High School 
Jo Warren, Hawkins Middle School 
Dan King, Belfair Elementary School 
Jason Swaser, Sand Hill Elementary School 
Dana Rosenbach. Superintendent

February 23, 2018


Dear Students, Families and Community Partners,


It was indeed a tragedy, when we heard about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the students, staff, families and community who are suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy. This incident serves as an important opportunity to talk about our school and district safety plans. While the education of our community’s children is the world’s most important work and our primary mission is to educate students, our greatest responsibility remains to keep students and staff safe when they are in our care.

We work closely with staff and community partners to help support students and families in many ways. When it comes to safety, we have a strong partnership with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office and the Mason County Fire Department. We seek their advice often and implement their recommendations. We are fortunate to have a resource officer, Deputy M. Colbenson, assigned to our district. He works cooperatively with all the schools in the district. We also coordinate with local emergency responders to ensure our procedures for fire, earthquake, lockdowns and all other safety drills are current and reflect best practices for student, staff and visitor safety.

We have improved entrance security at all buildings. Each district site has a Dual Band radio and we conduct radio checks every month to ensure lines of communication are open.

Safety is about more than immediate physical needs; it is also about maintaining a strong safety net for those who need extra support. We have full time counselors in each of our schools. We have an additional grant-funded partnership to offer mental health support to students. Efforts continue to ensure all of our students have trusted adults to talk with when they are hurting, and our staff have the skills to reach out to help when they see someone struggling. One of the ways we do this is by focusing on social-emotional learning for students in all grades. We have trained “Threat Assessment Teams” at each school helping to identify indicators and proactively respond to issues and individuals. Each school site conducts regular lockdown, fire and earthquake drills on a regular basis. This keeps each site ready and prepared should the need arise.

Finally, we maintain a safety tip line. If students, parents or community members have information, tips or concerns regarding a safety issue in our schools, they are encouraged to visit Safe Schools Alert for confidential, anonymous, communication with our safety staff. This includes concerns a student may hear at school or see on social media.

Ensuring that our schools are safe and welcoming places is a collective commitment between us all. We work every day to reach out to children who are most in need of extra love and support. I know that no amount of work in school safety will provide 100% assurance that all safety issues will be resolved, but I want to assure you that we take our responsibility seriously. If you have specific concerns or feedback, please share them with any school principal, district administrator or myself.

Thank you for your continued support in helping us provide meaningful and relevant education in a safe and secure environment.


Dana Rosenbach


January 18, 2018


When Implementing Compensation Regionalization, Please Do No Harm

North Mason School District is located in a beautiful part of the state and enjoys strong community support of its efforts on behalf of our children. The staff are dedicated and hardworking. We are working with our legislature for the health of our district as a result of the policy implementation of regionalized compensation funding. As currently applied, the regionalization funding formula places our district at a serious disadvantage with regard to hiring and retaining qualified staff.

Currently, our district has been slated for no regional compensation funding enhancement. However, we share borders with several districts who are receiving significant enhancements to compensation funding. North Mason shares a border with Central Kitsap, Bremerton and South Kitsap school districts, all slated to receive an 18% enhancement. It is also important to note that part of our district is in Kitsap County. In addition, we share a border with Peninsula school district receiving 12%. This inequitable compensation funding is disastrous for our district and it is unique across the state when geographical barriers are considered.

We are losing our teachers to neighboring districts due to this inequitable funding of compensation. Already more than 10 teachers have resigned effective at the end of the school year to pursue employment in a neighboring district. This is not including retirements and signals a potential serious exodus when qualified teachers are in short supply.

In addition, one teacher resigned as of the holiday break. This early resignation has uncovered an additional concern. If teachers are able to abandon their contracts as other, more lucrative offers occur, signed contracts have no value and districts such as ours could face the loss of staff at any time, negatively impacting our staffing, and potentially interfering with our ability to maintain small class sizes and/or offer a complete course selection at the high school and middle school level. Such destabilization of district staffing could mean that on any given day, we have a classroom full of students but no teacher in place. The deadline for signing a teacher contract no longer means anything.

Our children deserve continued access to a quality education, to the same basic education afforded students in neighboring districts and across the state. As it currently stands, implementation of this regional compensation model for school employees endangers our ability to ensure our students access to a basic education in North Mason.

We ask that compensation funding be revisited, to include consideration for the needs of rural, high poverty districts to ensure that a basic education, including compensation, is amply and fairly funded for all students in our state, including ours. At the very least, we ask that the extreme difference in compensation between our district and our neighbors be corrected. Nowhere else in the state are there districts that share borders and have no geographical barriers that see an 18% difference in compensation funding.


Dana Rosenbach