Michael Tolley has been appointed to the position of regional assistant superintendent for the Northshore School District’s east region. Tolley will replace Regional Assistant Superintendent Becky Anderson who will retire in June.
Dr. Michelle Reid, Northshore’s superintendent, announced the decision on March 11 at a regular meeting of District leadership.
“This was not an easy position to fill,” said Dr. Reid. “It requires a special leader who sees the whole child and someone who is well versed in all aspects of education, including special programs. Mr. Tolley brings that depth of experience, and I look forward to having him dive into this transition period with Mrs. Anderson.”
Tolley comes to the District with more than 25 years of experience as an educator - the last 11 with the Seattle Public Schools. Since the beginning of his career, he has served as a high school science teacher, college professor, building and district-level administrator, as well as an athletic coach and marine research biologist.
Most recently in Seattle, Tolley served as assistant and associate superintendent for teaching and learning, as well as chief academic officer. His achievements include facilitating the implementation of key initiatives such as the Multi-tiered System of Supports Whole Child Framework to help with students sense of belonging, social skills and behavior, a Special Education Revised Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan and Social Emotional Literacy. He supervised leadership of the Student Support Services and Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Divisions, as well as school leadership. The Student Support Services Division includes the Special Education, English Language Learners, Advanced Learning and Coordinated School Health Departments.
In his early years with Seattle, Tolley was director of high schools, where he supervised school leaders at all 18 high schools in the District at the time. He also served as executive director of schools, southeast region, supervising school leaders at all levels.
During Tolley’s tenure, the Seattle Public Schools saw marked increases in graduation and college level course participation rates. He also served on the Washington State Board of Education Core 24 Implementation Task Force.
Tolley’s early years as an educator were spent in the Charleston County School District and the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. There, he spent 15 years in the classroom as a biology/marine biology teacher and chairperson of the Science Departments. Tolley served in roles as assistant principal, principal and interim associate superintendent while in South Carolina. Under his leadership as principal, the Academic Magnet High School was ranked the 10th Best High School in the nation by Newsweek magazine.
Tolley earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the College of Charleston (1980). He went on to earn his master’s in education (1987), as well as his education specialist degree and superintendent certification (2004) from The Citadel. He currently holds superintendent and principal certifications in the states of Washington and South Carolina.
“Obtaining equitable outcomes for our students has been a focus for me for more than a decade,” said Tolley. “I’m excited to contribute to the Northshore’s commitment to equity that will ensure that each and every one of our students is successful, particularly those who are the furthest away from justice. I’m really looking forward to engaging with our students, their families, our educators and the community.”