Eastern Washington native Troy Whittle has agreed to be Columbia High School's next principal.
Whittle, 36, currently is serving as principal and athletic director of Big Valley High School in Bieber, Calif., positions he has held since the 2008-09 school year. He previously worked in the Sunnyside School District as a history teacher and tennis coach.
White Salmon Schools Supt. Jerry Lewis said Whittle, who holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, was the top choice of the team that interviewed the two finalists on April 26. Charbonneau Gourde, dean of students for Union High School in Vancouver, was the other finalist.
"The district administrative team, athletic director and two board members conducted the two interviews," Lewis noted. "The recommendation was to offer the position to Troy because it was felt he would be the best fit for the high school at this time."
Lewis will present the hiring of Whittle as CHS principal to the full board during next Wednesday's May board meeting in the Columbia High School library. Whittle's contract will begin July 1.
Whittle said the Columbia High job interested him because of the school's size, its mission statement and vision, and the achievement growth the school has made over the last few years.
"Columbia strives to graduate students who are prepared to meet the challenges they will face after high school," Whittle noted, and added, "This approach to education lines up with my philosophies."
Whittle, who completed his principal internship in 2007-08 after obtaining his administrative credential from Eastern Washington University, said he was looking for an opportunity to work in a school with more than 300 students "but not too large" when he applied for the CHS opening.
"Having experienced schools of all sizes, I really like the size of Columbia," he noted. "This provides opportunities to develop relationships and get to know people, like a small school, but also opportunities for programs that enrich the lives of students."
Whittle and his wife, Brooke, have four children, Devon, 10; Cameron, 8; Audrey, 5; and Alex, 2. The Whittles moved to Bieber in 2008 in order to be closer to her family.
But the pull of the Northwest--Whittle grew up in the Spokane area, met Brooke at Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, and graduated from EWU in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in Social Science--"made applying for the position (at CHS) an easy one," Whittle said.
"As I faced decisions on where to accept a position," he went on, "the staff, students and community were real selling points for me in deciding to accept the position at Columbia."
Whittle said he expects the challenges at Columbia will be similar to those of other schools in a time when funding for education is tight. But he also expects the staff at Columbia will be up to meeting those challenges.
"We want to continue to offer a quality and diverse educational experience to all kids. With budget cuts, this is sometimes easier said than done. [But] I'm confident that we will continue to make progress," he said. "Based on what I've seen, this is going to be a great community and staff with which to work."