In Memory of Our Co-founder, Dave Leedy

David Leedy, one of the founders of The Island School, teacher, friend, instiller of confidence, and all around treasure, died Saturday night, May 16, from brain cancer.

In the beginning, we were three and each of us had a role.  Daves patience and his quiet, gentle (persevering!) manner guided us through the maze of government and bureaucratic details that resulted in The Island School being able to open its doors and welcome children.  That same quiet, gentle (and persevering) manner never let us stray from the original ideals that led us to start the school.  Dave always reminded us, in words and deeds, that education is an adventure, that it should be fun and that no child need fail if he or she receives the respect and attention that every child deserves.

 Watching Dave with children, one knew beyond any doubt that teaching is a calling, not a profession.  And, by gentle example, he also taught and inspired colleagues and generations of parents.

 Remember Daves smile.  Whether he was sitting on the floor playing chess with a child, very quietly rigging up ropes and pulleys in the entry hall, sketching – also very quietly – around the school, chatting with and listening to children, playing outside with them, singing at Monday Morning Sing, or just walking through the halls to who knew where to who knew what amazing adventure or project, Daves smile lit the school.  Children trusted Dave and they loved him.  Letters and cards have arrived relating treasured memories of the years spent in his company and of the influence he had on who they are today.  One parent commented, “The world has lost one of its smartest, kindest, warmest and funniest.”  It has indeed, and it is a better place for having had Dave.  We called him the Roving Resource, The Island School Treasure. Indeed he was both.  None of us, young or old, who knew him will ever, ever forget him. My fervent wish is that his example will inspire us to live with the same hopes and dreams for the world and the same love of life that was so important to him.  And especially with the same love of, respect for and care of children that was a gift to so many.

 Dave died as peacefully as he lived, surrounded by the family he so dearly loved.

– Kelly Webster, Former Head and Co-Founder of The Island School

A service to celebrate Dave’s life will be held in Webster Hall at The Island School 
on Friday, May 22, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. 
Additional parking available at Grace Church.

In Memory of Our Retired Colleague —— Kathy Dunn

Kathy Dunn's party retiring from The Island SchoolKathy D 1kathy d hIMG_4388

No Vegetables!


“Vegetables? Never! Snakes? Never ever! This is Kathy Dunn you’re talking to. And no monkey business either. Unless it’s time for monkey business.” This seemingly contradictory combination of expressions was the essence of Kathy Dunn, and is why students and colleagues forever remember their time with her. Kathy was simpatico. She didn’t like vegetables! She acknowledged genuine fears. One being snakes, thanks to a rude elementary classmate of hers.

Kathy Dunn was one with her students, yet always firmly and kindly in charge. Anyone who spent much time around Kathy at school heard her expression, “I am shocked and appalled.” She wasn’t pointing fingers at particular students; she was expressing her dismay at students doing less than their best. Typically the children rose to the occasion. After all, who wants to disappoint an adult who hates vegetables?

During her years at The Island School (2004-2011) a student brought in the picture book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by McCloud and Messing (2006). Are your actions helping to fill someone’s bucket? Or, are your actions dipping water out of another’s bucket? Kathy loved the book. Her frequent references to “bucket filler” and “bucket dipper” became and remain part of our school’s communal language. When you feel yourself in need of some bucket filling you needn’t wait for another’s action. Just remember Kathy Dunn and you will feel her filling your bucket time and time again.

Rest in peace, dear Kathy. We will miss you.

–  George Shannon

Welcome New Faculty Members

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to The Island School’s newest faculty members!

Austin Ohm

Austin Ohm

Austin Ohm joins The Island School faculty as the Art teacher. Austin holds a degree in Pre-K – Grade 12 art education and a degree in painting and drawing.  He brings a broad range of teaching experience at all grade levels into our school.  He is also a prolific working artist with expertise in nearly every area of art. We invite and encourage you to spend time on his e-portfolio at

Michelle Cederberg joins The Island School faculty as the Health and Fitness teacher.  Not only is Michelle a perfect fit with our school mission and philosophy, she also comes to us with extensive experience, having taught physical education to elementary school children in Santiago, Chile, as well as having served as Head Swim Coach at a high school in California.  She also coached the Santa Barbara Swim Team, where she worked with swimmers of all ages.  She holds a degree from Pepperdine University in Physical Education, along with a minor in Sports Medicine and has been a certified Health and Fitness Instructor since 1997.

Geoff Vigneron, previously a Teacher Assistant in The Island School’s kindergarten, has returned to us as a Teacher Assistant in fourth grade. Geoff brings us his experience and passion for early childhood education along with a degree in Painting and Drawing. He has taught in numerous capacities in the San Francisco area and on Bainbridge Island. If you’ve experienced his teaching in Seattle at the Olympic Sculpture Park, or closer to home at KiDiMu and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, you’ll know why we are honored to welcome him as a member of our faculty.

We welcome Deidre Raben as our first grade Teacher Assistant and first grade classroom Teacher on Fridays. Deidre is a certificated teacher with a degree from Western Governors University. A college athlete in basketball and softball, she has shared her love of both sports by coaching youth teams on the Island for many years. Deidre has been a frequent and beloved substitute teacher at The Island School, and we are delighted to have her join our faculty.


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