When Tahoma School District Superintendent Mike Maryanski did his student teaching with the district he never imagined that one day he’d retire after an entire career with Tahoma.
“I just loved teaching and I was experiencing success, and I stayed because these other opportunities that were presented are aligned with a passion I had for leadership and the opportunities I had to learn and share that passion kept me here,” Maryanski said.
Originally from Auburn, Maryanski said he wanted to do his student teaching close to home to save money and, “that’s what started this whole experience.”
In 1970 Maryanski began his career at Shadow Lake Elementary School, later taking on leadership positions as director of curriculum and human resources. He continued to move up in district administration, being named deputy superintendent in 1989 in addition to his other duties. In 1994 he took the helm as superintendent.
Maryanski counted his first principal, Ed Treick, as well as Jack Frost as influential mentors along the way whom Maryanski said, “saw something they felt could be supportive of needs at that time in the school system and gave me opportunities that started the journey into leadership.”
He said that the relationships with the people he works with are what he will miss the most about the job.
“To see people grow, to have an opportunity to influence and support the growth of people in leadership positions will be something I take with me,” Maryanski said.
He added that the accomplishments of students in the district, as well as what the district as a whole has been able to accomplish are what stands out to him as he looks back.
And among those, of course, is the overwhelming passage of the school bond in November, which Maryanski described as bringing closure, “to a long struggle to accommodate growth.”
Since Maryanski started with the district 44 years ago it has more than doubled in size as the community has grown significantly.
“The opportunity with the new high school to make the Future Ready vision become a reality for our young people and the community is exciting,” Maryanski said about the future of the district.
“Probably something I’m most proud of is the collaborative culture we have inside our system and with our community,” Maryanski said. “We need to have collaboration amongst all the various constituencies…that’s what we’ve attempted to do over all these years.”
He went on to say that creating that atmosphere of collaboration, and buy-in to the district’s vision, comes not from changing what people believe, but from creating experiences where people have the chance to examine what they believe as well as experiences that meet people’s needs, and then the vision can become reality.
“Mike is a remarkable leader on many levels but what is most impressive to me is his integrity and commitment,” district spokesman Kevin Patterson wrote in an email. “There is never any question about what motivates Mike: He wants every student to succeed. He is relentless in researching and working with others on ways to improve education so that kids have the tools they need to be successful. He holds every adult in our school district to that high standard. Tahoma has become a great school district because of Mike’s vision, his passion for serving young people, and his ability to create solutions through collaboration with others.”
In addition to his duties as superintendent, Maryanski has been deeply involved in the community over the years including at Maple Valley Rotary, the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce, and his church, as well as supporting the Greater Maple Valley Community Center, Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services, and Vine Maple Place.
As for what he’ll be doing July 1, “Literally I don’t know,” Maryanski said. “Something will come.”
He added that he’ll do some traveling with his wife, and continue spending lots of time with their grandkids.
“I’ll continue my learning journey around leadership and finding opportunities to share that with others,” Maryanski said. “I’m open to just whatever comes and looking forward to it.”