Liberty Bell Mountain Lions Athletics in Full Swing

Liberty Bell Mountain Lions MascotThe ability to overcome adversity is an important component of success, and one that our Mountain Lions will be familiar with long before heading into Fall competition. Despite being held confined indoors due to air quality, the Mountain Lions are off to a roaring start as Fall practices kick into full swing.

Last Fall brought outstanding success for the Mountain Lions. This year’s Mountain Lions appear to be no different, possessing the character and ability to continue the streak of success. Although LBHS Fall sports are already underway, it’s not too late to get involved! Stop by practice or stop by the district office to pick up eligibility paperwork and talk to coaches.

Practice times until the start of school are as follows:

Girls Soccer, 5:00-7:00pm
Cross Country, 8:30-10:00am
Volleyball, 6:30-8:00am & 6:00-8:00pm
8-Man Football, 7-11:30am.

Junior High sports are set to begin on September 1st, following the first day of school. Continue checking the Athletic pages for practice updates and the release of season schedules.

Chase Rost
Methow Valley School District
Sports & Activities Director

Cell: (509) 439-7596

Methow Valley Schools – First Day of School, Upcoming Activities, and Liberty Bell Registration

Tom ZbyszewskiLike every member of our community and others across the country, our staff is deeply saddened by the loss of the three brave fire fighters and hurt for their families and friends.

Tommy’s death has been particularly difficult given the strong relationship he had with many of our staff and the impact he had upon our schools and community. As one staff member who was a first year teacher during Tommy’s senior year stated,

“There is no doubt that in some ways we improve with experience. But, it’s too easy to lose the sparkle of the beginner. Cynicism and playing it cool are safe; it takes guts to be genuine. It makes you vulnerable, and, in a way, powerful. I think that a special kind of courageous authenticity was the source of Tom’s charisma. It showed in everything I saw him do, especially on stage, and I felt it in every conversation we had. I am so thankful I got to know him, and that he taught me this lesson. I just had to show up and learn.”

First Day of School is Tuesday, September 1

Back to SchoolLike our community, our staff cares deeply about our students and are resilient in the face of adversity. Many have received training in trauma and stress relief and understand that they play a key part in assisting our youth and community find normalcy. One of the ways we do so is by starting school on time and that is what we plan to do. Barring any significant event that inhibits our ability to safely open our schools or transport students to and from school, we are eager to start school on Tuesday, September 1st as planned. In addition, we’ll have members of our Student and Family Support Services Team available to student, parents, and staff in need of support.

Beginning of the Year Activities

NEW STAFF MEET & GREET: We welcome each of you to join us as we welcome our newest staff members on Thursday, August 27th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the Methow Valley Elementary library. Light refreshments will be provided.

KINDERGARTEN ICE CREAM SOCIAL: Do you have a kindergarten student starting in the fall? Please join us on Thursday, August 27th from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Parents and students will have an opportunity to check out their classrooms, practice riding a school bus, and enjoy one another’s company over ice cream.

LIBERTY BELL OPEN HOUSE & BBQ: Please join us on Wednesday, September 2nd at 5:30 pm for the Liberty Bell Open House and BBQ! We’ll begin with an introduction of LB staff at the stadium bleachers. Hamburgers, hotdogs, veggie-burgers, and side dishes will be provided following introductions.

METHOW VALLEY SCHOOLS FAMILY HANDBOOK & CALENDAR: The Methow Valley Family Handbook and Calendar will be sent to you in September, providing you with important information about key dates and events throughout the year.

School Supplies and Course Fees

Yes, it’s true. We have eliminated all school supply fees and course-related fees K-12. Save your money. Better yet, if you’re able, donate to one of the many organizations that provide support to our schools (located on our website) or to Community Foundation’s Fire Relief Fund.

Liberty Bell Registration

Please join us for registration on Tuesday, August 25 and Wednesday, August 26 from 9:00am-3:00pm at the Liberty Bell Office. During this time, students will be asked to:

  • Update all student information including phone numbers, emergency contacts, email addresses and Skyward login information.
  • Pick up school supplies
  • Pay for school lunches, ASB fee, and Play-to-Pay fees associated with athletics.
  • All previous appointments concerning scheduling for new students or schedule changes for returning students made with Mrs. Knob (formerly Ms. Faxon) will be rescheduled during those two days.

We look forward to your safe return to school.


Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley Schools

LBHS to Play 8-Man Varsity Football for the 2015-16 Season

Liberty Bell Mountain Lions MascotIn anticipation of low turnout and safety concerns voiced by returning players and parents, Liberty Bell is announcing a temporary move to 8-man varsity football for the 2015-16 football season.

In 2014, concerns mounted as injuries and low numbers forced Liberty Bell to forfeit several games. The decision to move to 8-man varsity football is expected to boost participation, minimize unsafe situations, and promote fun for the participating Mountain Lions. Junior High Football for the 2015-16 season will remain in the 11-man format.

“Player, coach, and parent input as well as a focus on the Methow Valley School District Vision, were the driving forces in reaching the decision to play 8-man football for the 2015 season”, stated Chase Rost, Methow Valley Schools Activities Director.

Rost added, “In a meeting with several players from the 2014 team, it was apparent that they were heavily in favor of an 8-man season. Their view was that 8-man would be the most fun, it would attract the most players, and it would be the best step to rebuild the program. The players present expressed concern for their own safety and a general loss of fun while competing against 11-man teams. Being that the players are the only ones who have been on the field to experience the situation first hand, their opinions should carry a lot of weight.”

The Mountain Lions hope that this change will cultivate a positive learning environment that emphasizes safety, effort, focus and fun, and in doing so, the program hopes to grow back into a stable 11-man football team in the near future.

Liberty Bell’s 2015-16 8-man varsity schedule will feature games with many 1B classified schools from the area. The Mountain Lions are slated to play Pateros, Waterville, Wellpinit, Colville, North Point, Inchileum, and Yakama Nation. The schedule is expected to feature at least three home games as well as the traditional homecoming and senior night games.

Along with the shift to 8-man varsity football, the 2015 season will also usher in former junior high coach, Steve White, as head coach of LBHS’s Mountain Lions. The school is excited about Steve’s emphasis on fun and safety, and confident that his experiences as a player and coach will help to regrow the football program.

Methow Valley Schools Receives Multi-Year Grant to Fund Early Childhood Education and Childcare Coordinator

Methow Valley PreschoolersAligned with the belief that learning begins at an early age and balanced with a clear need for greater access to high quality, affordable early learning opportunities and childcare in the Valley, the Methow Valley School District, working in partnership with a variety of educational partners and community members, has received a multi-year grant to fund an Early Childhood Education and Childcare Coordinator.

Building upon the information contained in the Early Childhood Education and Childcare Comprehensive Needs Assessment conducted last year, the coordinator will work closely with a variety of educational partners, home-based providers, and parents throughout our community toward the goal of ensuring all children in our Valley receive high quality, affordable early learning opportunities and childcare. Given the complexity of this work, we know it will not take place overnight. However, we believe it’s a great step forward to achieving this goal!

We encourage you to review the job description located on our Employment page.

New Staff Members and Changes in Assignment

Welcome to Methow Valley SchoolsPlease join me in welcoming our newest staff members, Bud Hover and Brooke Lucy, and congratulating Chris Eckstrom in her new assignment. We are confident Bud, Brooke, and Chris will provide our students, staff, and families with high levels of leadership and support!

Director of Operations and Capital Projects – Bud Hover
The MVSD has restructured how we manage our transportation, food services, and custodial/maintenance departments within our organization. The district’s decision to restructure is based upon a set of beliefs that include:

  • Every department within our organization impacts student learning. This includes the interactions that take place between our students when traveling on the bus to-and-from school, students receiving healthy nutritious meals, and having access to safe and clean facilities that facilitate teaching and learning.
  • Improving the quality of our services provided to students in families begins with strong leadership and support for all staff. Thus, it requires us to strategically invest existing resources into the professional growth and development of every staff member.
  • We invest in the on-going maintenance of our community-owned facilities. With the successful passage of our recent Capital Projects and Transportation Vehicle Fund levies, both require careful management and close supervision.

That being said, the Methow Valley School District has hired Bud Hover to serve as the Director of Operations and Capital Projects. As the Director of Operations and Capital Projects, Bud will supervise the Transportation, Food Services, and Custodial/Maintenance Departments. In addition, he will provide high levels of leadership and oversight of our district’s many capital projects. A graduate of Issaquah High School, Bud’s father worked for Boeing for 45 years and his mom served as a school bus driver for the Issaquah school district. His educational background and experience includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education from Washington State University and a Master’s of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.

Bud’s most recent experience includes serving on the governor’s cabinet as the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Prior to his appointment by the governor, he spent eight years serving as the Okanogan County Commissioner representing District #2. In addition to his recent work-related experience, Bud utilized his PAC-10 (Washington State University) and NFL Football (Washington Redskins) experience while serving as Liberty Bell’s head football coach for eight years. Bud and his wife Tonya have two sons, Andy and Wes, both of whom graduated from the Methow Valley School District and now have three of their own attending the Methow Valley Schools.

When not at work, Bud enjoys time spent hunting, working on the farm, and sitting with his wife on the porch in a rocking chair watching the sun come up. In brief, Bud’s educational background and leadership experience speak to his interest in solicit different points of view, listening skills, and ability to bring people together.

Methow Valley Elementary School Counselor – Brooke Lucy
As part of it’s commitment to establishing a “System of Exceptional Teaching and Learning” that focuses on developing curious, creative, compassionate, competent, action-oriented citizens prepared to change the world, the Methow Valley School District has developed Student and Family Support Services team. The Student and Family Support Services team includes school counseling services, mental health services, nursing services, and special education services across all grades K-12. Brooke Lucy is our newest member to join the Methow Valley School District’s Student and Family Support Services team. Brooke Lucy comes to the position of elementary school counselor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Education from Prescott College and a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from Heritage University.

Brooke has lived in the Methow Valley for over 15 years and has spent the past 10 years, with her husband Sam, raising their two daughters and running their family farm business. Brooke is delighted to return to the education field and looks forward to serving Methow Valley Elementary students and staff as the elementary school counselor.

Secretary to the District Office – Chris Eckstrom
As our district continues to grow in enrollment and expand it’s many educational services, it’s important to build and maintain a healthy system of support that can be accessed by students, parents, and staff throughout our organization. With this belief in mind, the district has hired Chris Eckstrom to serve as the Secretary to the District Office. For the past ten years, Methow Valley Elementary secretary, Chris Eckstrom, has been a familiar, welcoming face to district families. Raised on the Kitsap Peninsula, Chris went on to study English and Environmental Studies at Seattle University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1995.

Prior to moving to the Methow, she co-owned a mechanical contracting company, dividing her time between fieldwork and bookkeeping. Chris’ favorite pastimes include playing piano, tennis, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends. As she joins the district office team, she looks forward to finding many new ways to support our students, staff, and families.

More to come…
We look forward to sharing more information with you as we look to fill the Secretary to the Elementary Principal and Secretary to the Director of Operations and Capital Projects positions.

If you wish to learn more information about these positions, please contact Methow Valley Schools superintendent, Tom Venable at or (509) 996-9205.

Methow Valley Schools Eliminates All School Supply and Course Fees

Back to SchoolIn less than a month, our students will be returning to school… Each bringing with them, their hopes and dreams for the future. Unfortunately, for many of our students and families, the enthusiasm and excitement for learning is often overshadowed by the stress and financial hardship of purchasing school supplies, paying for course fees, and other school-related fees.

In an effort to promote “A System Equity and Excellence for All” where every student can shine and benefits from access to a free and appropriate public education, the Methow Valley School District has taken another step forward to achieving this goal by eliminating all school supply and course fees in grades K-12.

We believe doing so will:

  • Reduce the financial burden often placed upon families.
  • Promote district-wide efficiencies in the use of our limited resources.
  • Increase time available for parents and children to discuss learning goals in advance of the new school year.

We recognize that school supply and course fees are not the only school-related expenses incurred by our families… AP, PSAT exams, Pay-to-Play, and enrichment fees just to name a few. While we can’t do it all at once, we remain committed to eliminating the burden placed upon our families in the form of school-related fees, as outlined in our district’s Strategic Vision, over time.

If you are a family that looks forward to the tradition associated with back-to-school shopping and/or a community member that is looking for ways to assist with some of the many other school-related expenses, we encourage you to consider establishing a new tradition by making a donation to one or more of our many educational partners focused on eliminating barriers and promoting student success. They include:

  • Public School Funding Alliance
  • Methow Arts
  • Classroom in Bloom
  • The Cove
  • Room One
  • TwispWorks
  • Liberty Bell Boosters

Each of these organizations is prepared to accept your donation and put it to good use in support of our youth in the Valley.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 1st!


Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley Schools