Two elementary schools get new principals

March 9, 2009

By Staff

The Issaquah School District’s planned elementary 15 (above), which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010, will be built in the 28000 block of Southeast 20th Street as part of The Park at Pine Lake development. Issaquah School District

The Issaquah School District’s planned elementary 15 (above), which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010, will be built in the 28000 block of Southeast 20th Street as part of The Park at Pine Lake development. Issaquah School District

As the Issaquah Valley Elementary School community says hello to a new principal, Challenger Elementary School students bid farewell to Principal Robin Earl.

On March 3, district officials announced they hired Diane Holt to be principal at Issaquah Valley.

The school’s former principal, Jennelle Hawthorne, announced her resignation last June.Holt has been a principal for 11 years and comes to Issaquah from Green Gables Elementary School in Federal Way. The school has similar demographics to Issaquah Valley, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a letter to the community.

At Green Gables, Holt’s students showed significant achievement gains as a result of her leadership, which focuses on best teaching and learning practices, the letter said.

Holt also served as a curriculum specialist for six years and an elementary school teacher for nine years in the Tahoma School District.

“Beyond the credentials, it’s clear that Mrs. Holt has a huge heart for elementary education — this is her passion. She is incredibly well-versed in running an elementary school, and she goes about her daily work with abundant joy.” Rasmussen wrote. “On behalf of Issaquah Valley students, I felt privileged to invite her to the Issaquah School District.”

On March 2, Earl announced she’d leave Challenger to take a position as planning principal for Elementary 15 in June.

While the opportunity to open a new school is a challenge, it is hard to leave her current school community, Earl wrote in a letter to the community.

“My 15 years in the Issaquah district and my seven years as principal at Challenger have affirmed my beliefs about Issaquah schools as wonderful places for students and staff to learn and grow,” she wrote. “My life has been personally and professionally enriched because of the time spent here with you.”

As principal, Earl has been a “compassionate, intellectual, student-centered, fun leader,” Rasmussen wrote in a letter sent to the Challenger community. “We will select a new principal for Challenger that will continue the school’s strong tradition of excellent and joyful learning.”

District officials have asked parents to take a community survey about qualities and experiences they’d like their students’ new principal to have.

Officials will use the information to help evaluate applicants and select a new principal.

Elementary 15 is located in the 28000 block of Southeast 20th Street, in a development known as The Park at Pine Lake. It is scheduled to open in fall 2010.

District officials are working with Sammamish city officials to acquire the necessary permits for construction, and said they hope to begin working on the site in late March or April.

The building is two stories; its exterior is similar to that of Grand Ridge and Newcastle elementary schools. The building includes 28 classrooms, a computer lab, music room, multipurpose room, gym and resource room with space for occupational and physical therapies for special services.

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