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Comings, Going In Three Schools

A number of staff changes

By SVERRE BAKKE

The Enterprise

A number of staffing changes--in both certified and classified positions--have occurred in the White Salmon Valley School District over the past few months.

Here's a look at the goings and comings that have taken place at each of the district's three schools and elsewhere.

Columbia High

Longtime social studies instructor Scott Ross resigned at the end of the 2007-08 school year to take a teaching position in Prineville, Ore. Ross's resignation set off a series of moves.

"It was actually an undoing of the Reduction in Force that occurred a few years ago when we cut back in the (CHS) social studies department," Supt. Dale Palmer noted.

As a result of Ross's departure, Steve Larsen has returned to CHS and alternative high school instructor Jeff Lindstrom has moved back to Wayne M. Henkle Middle School. Both will be teaching history and social studies-related courses.

To take Lindstrom's place at the White Salmon Academy, the district has hired Scott Bliss of Othello. Bliss will be assisted at the academy by new hire Leslie Wallace, a resident of Trout Lake.

Moreover, Bliss will succeed Rich Polkinghorn as head coach of the Bruins wrestling program. Polkinghorn, who taught math at CHS, resigned to accept the assistant principal job at Hood River Valley High School.

Polkinghorn's replacement in the math department will be northern California native Robert "Joe" Cates. In addition, the district has retained Chad Myers of Lyle to teach upper-level math at CHS "via dollars that were allocated through the levy that was passed last February," Palmer said.

He added: "The state (Board of Education) has increased the required mathematics graduation requirements and we knew we were going to need more math teachers and that the state was not going to pay for it; therefore we had the foresight to include it on that levy."

The CHS music department will be under new direction in 2008-09 as well. Palmer said the district agreed to release Dustin Hunley from his contract after it hired White Salmon resident Jeff Agar.

Agar, who grew up in Stevenson, taught music in Trout Lake for the past 10 years. Hunley left CHS to take a like position with the Hood River County School District.

Still to be filled is the boys basketball head coach position.

Henkle Middle School

Fifth-grade teacher Nina McBride retired after 18 years with the White Salmon Valley School District "and numerous years altogether in education," Palmer noted.

McBride's replacement is Heather Whidden, who gave up her .7 full-time equivalent Reading Specialist position to move into teaching full time. Whidden's successor in the reading program is Betsy Petrick.

Judy Carlock's retirement--following 31 years of service in the district's Title I Learning Assistance Program--enabled Karynn Howard to switch from one paraprofessional job to another and the district to hire Oscar Enriquez as her replacement.

Unfilled this school year is a 5/6 blended classroom teaching position previously held by Amy Strom, who was granted a one-year leave of absence to pursue a teaching opportunity in Slovakia.

Palmer said a small incoming class of fifth-graders made it possible for Henkle to get by this year with one less teacher.

Still open until filled, however, are two positions: the Student Management Center coordinator and the Project Open Door case manager.

Whitson Elementary

Tristin Olson-Roy has joined Whitson's K-4 faculty as a kindergarten teacher; her hiring, said Palmer, is due to increased enrollment.

Moreover, Jennifer Clark of White Salmon has been hired as a kindergarten teacher in place of Brenda Hope, who was awarded a one-year leave of absence.

Tabitha Trosper is back as a permanent paraprofessional after completing the last school year in a temporary position.

Around the District

White Salmon resident Dawn Glasser has been hired as the district's new Arts Consortium coordinator with funds received from two grants written by the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. She will be teaching art in all three schools.

Lisa Roegel comes to the district as a .6 FTE mathematics coach through Educational Service District 112. She, too, will be working in all three buildings.

Troy Webster of White Salmon became a district employee when he took the the maintenance department's assistant groundskeeper job. That position, said Palmer, is being paid for with money from last February's levy.

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