I am writing this letter to commend your publication in general, and Ryan Burns in particular, for the outstanding article "Crossing Schools" (Feb. 5). I recently retired from the McKinleyville Union School District where I worked as a third-grade teacher and an assistant principal at Dow's Prairie School for 21 years. I was one of the original Strategic Plan team members, and I also served as a member of the LIRIT team that reviewed the Language Immersion Program.

Ryan Burns is a friend of my son, and he felt that I, as a former teacher, would be a good place to begin his research. In our conversation I explained that while I had very strong opinions about the issue I was retired, and he would be able to write a more effective article if he interviewed individuals who were going to be directly affected by reconfiguring the school district. To that end, I gave Ryan a list of people to contact as well as background on how the Language Immersion Program came to be and the concerns of staff during my tenure at Dow's Prairie.

Ryan has proven himself to be an excellent listener, a strong researcher and a gifted interviewer. The article presented in the Journal was extremely well written, balanced, eloquent and completely respectful to all parties involved. I had an opportunity to talk with several of my former teaching colleagues, and to a person they all voiced satisfaction for the calm, balanced approach Ryan took in writing the article. The topic is a very hot-button issue in our community, and handled less carefully the article could have added fuel to an already hot fire.

I have read several of Ryan's articles for the Journal and every time I am impressed by the care and compassion with which he writes. It is clear to me that Ryan has the intelligence, sensitivity and journalistic integrity it takes to tackle even the most challenging issues. Ryan deserves high praise for this article.

— Sandi Henry, McKinleyville 

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