Five schools starting fresh with new principals
August 22, 2014
By Neil Pierson
New: August 22, 10:17 a.m.
The Issaquah and Lake Washington school districts have hired 16 new principals for the coming school year, including five in the Sammamish area.
Both public high schools in the city will have new leadership, as Donna Hood takes over at Skyline, and interim principal Chris Bede moves into the permanent role at Eastlake.
Hood is a former assistant principal at Liberty High School, and said the support she’s received from other district leaders has helped her prepare to be a first-time principal.
“Those are incredible assets to anyone wanting to be a principal, so when the opportunity arose to be a principal here in the ISD, I seized it,” Hood said last week via email.
She’s replacing Lisa Hechtman, who is now working as the Issaquah district’s executive director of personnel.
Hood’s educational career has taken her across the globe and back. She has bachelor’s degrees in German and English from Long Island University in New York, and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Washington.
She earned a Fulbright award that allowed her to study for a year in Salzburg, Austria. After returning to the U.S., she became a National Board Certified teacher in 2005 at Sammamish High in Bellevue.
“Her core values are honesty, hard work and shared mission,” Issaquah Superintendent Ron Thiele said earlier this summer in a news release. “She communicates well and often. Some of her highest priorities are collaborating with teachers to support and strengthen instruction, and building partnerships with her community.”
Hood said Skyline is “a healthy, high-functioning school” that is starting the 2014-15 year in a strong position, so her top priority in her first year is simple – get to know the staff and students.
She has passed on many lessons throughout her teaching and administrative career, and in turn, students have taught her as well.
“Kids want me to be me,” she said. “If I make a mistake, or if they do as we work together, they want adults to be adults and take ownership for that …
“When we are (working) with their best interest in mind, they know it and respect it. Likewise, they feel so good when we help them to take risks as learners, learn how to make a mistake, get up and move forward.”
Bede became the interim principal at Eastlake and the adjacent Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning midway through last year, following Brad Malloy’s resignation.
Bede was an associate principal at Eastlake for seven years. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Washington, and earned his master’s degree in teaching from Western Washington University. He also worked for seven years as a humanities teacher at neighboring Skyline.
Three other Sammamish schools have new principals this year:
- Alcott Elementary: Jon Hedin, who comes from the Northshore School District, where he completed his administrative internship at Woodmoor Elementary.
Hedin was a teacher for 12 years in grades two through five, and served with several Northshore district groups, including the technology advisory committee, literacy adoption advisory committee, and contract negotiation team.
He has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and K-12 art from Whitworth University in Spokane, and earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Washington.
Hedin is replacing Kimo Spray, who took over the principal’s position at Audubon Elementary in Redmond.
- Creekside Elementary: Tera Coyle, who has worked with the Issaquah district since 2004. She was a fifth-grade teacher at Challenger Elementary, then became principal at Discovery Elementary in 2008. Coyle replaces Robin Earl, who spent more than 20 years with Issaquah schools, and was Creekside’s first principal when it opened in 2010.
- Discovery Elementary: Michelle Nishioka, who previously served as an assistant principal at Beacon Hill International School in Seattle.
She completed her administrative internship in the Bellevue School District, and also has teaching experience in California. She has prior experience in gifted and talented classrooms, Title I low-income schools, a performing arts magnet school, and dual-language immersion.