Jim Gray, principal

Welcome to the 2022-23 school year!

As I begin my 30th year as an educator, I continue to experience a feeling of hope and excitement in anticipation of a new school year. At VSAA, we have so much to look forward to and to feel grateful for. We get to experience the joy of the arts daily in a community with a shared sense of purpose and appreciation. We have a beautiful new building, which has allowed us to expand our school population and open our school to a greater number of students. Public performances and all-school showcases are back. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve you as the principal of VSAA and look forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

I would like to share a few details about our remodel. We are welcoming over 200 new students to our community and will be at our maximum enrollment of 800! While many of you had the opportunity to see our new building and new parking lot, there are a few more items that were completed since last school year. The gates enclosing our courtyard have now been installed. These gates will be closed during the school day, creating a secure, locked, single entrance to our building through our new main office.

Another exciting change we are looking forward to is the distribution of laptops to our students. Each student will be issued a new laptop. These will replace the Chromebooks or Ipads that students previously had this year at VSAA or our other middle and high schools. We believe students will enjoy the expanded functionality of the new devices. We expect to hand these out at schedule pickup to students who have completed their Responsible Use Policy document. We are also offering laptop training sessions at schedule pickup.

We also have a number of new teachers and staff joining us. We are very excited to welcome:

Carmen Risken will be a half time special education teacher as our special education program grows. She is coming to us from Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

Juliet Dowsett will be teaching middle school math and is coming from Lake Shore Elementary.

Jodi Nevins will be teaching middle school PE and health. She is coming to us from Gaiser middle school.

Matthew Brands will be teaching middle school math. He is coming to us from Jason Lee Middle School.

Katie Linson will be teaching high school language arts and core. She served as a long term substitute in our building 2 years ago and is coming to us from Jason Lee middle school

Jeff Causey is an experienced counselor who will be providing school counseling services for students in grades 8 & 9. He is coming from Discovery Middle School.

Jake Siberon, who served as a long-term substitute at VSAA last year, will join us as our Moving Image Arts teacher.

Kristen Layton will be teaching 2 visual art classes at VSAA and will also be teaching at the elementary level in Vancouver Public Schools. She is an experienced teacher who is new to our district.

Carla Soha will join us as our new district resource officer following Tony Jacobs’ retirement.

For the 2022-23 school year, we are again offering meals to students at no charge. See below for frequently asked questions and their answers provided by nutrition services

How are we able to offer meals to all students at no charge? Through implementation of a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP will be implemented at all sites next school year, which ensures all students will continue to eat for free. Our ability to implement this program is a result of funding secured by the passage of HB 1878.

Are we still collecting meal applications? No. We will no longer be collecting meal applications. Instead, we will collect the Family Income Survey (FIS) to accurately capture the economic profile of district students.

How will the FIS be distributed? An electronic version of the FIS will be sent to all families, however, each school should have paper copies available for families to complete. If families return the FIS to school offices, they will be sent to the NS department as they are confidential.

Can students collect just a milk at no charge? No. We must charge for a la carte milk purchases (0.45). Students are encouraged to select a reimbursable meal, even if they only want the milk. They can place some unwanted items on the share table for other students to select if they are still hungry.

Can students bringing cold lunch have a school meal at no charge? Yes. All students have access to school meals at no charge.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our school office 360-313-4600 or myself: lori.rotherham@vansd.org 360-313-4605 or our associate principal: jennifer.hockhalter@vansd.org 360-313-4606.

We look forward to a joyful, arts-filled school year.


Lori Rotherham, Principal

Questions or comments?

Lori Rotherham, principal

“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.” 

—Marcel Proust