Parents of children at a Spokane Valley elementary school are still drying their eyes over news that the school’s principal won’t be around next year.
“Broadway’s really going to suffer a big loss,” said Tandie Dahnke, past president of Broadway Elementary School’s parent teacher organization. “You should’ve seen the faces last week. (People’s) eyes were red and puffy all day.”
Karen Toreson, Broadway’s principal, is a strong leader, generous and kind, said Dahnke. “But when something needs to be taken care of, she takes care of it,” she said. “She commands respect because she gives respect.”
Toreson has been principal of Broadway for six years. In late May, she and six other administrators were reassigned to other positions in the Central Valley School District.
Toreson will take over at Ponderosa Elementary, replacing Tom Eastman, who has been reassigned to teach social studies in the fall, probably at Evergreen Junior High School.
Although CV’s personnel director said reassignments are a “standard” practice that occur every year, parents questioned the district’s policy on moving people so frequently.
“It’s unfortunate that the principals have to be moved around as often as they are at this point,” said Cheryl Almeida, a past president of Horizon Junior High School’s parent teacher organization. “They should be given more of a chance to get to their long term plans.
“Just to move the head around all the time, that doesn’t seem right to me,” she said.
Sue McDaniel, also a Horizon parent, agreed. “I feel like it takes at least two years for a principal to get used to a school,” she said.
Horizon’s principal, Glenna Smith, will take over at Bowdish Junior High in the fall. Smith said she looks forward to new challenges, but feels a little torn.
“You just get here. You just get started. You build a rapport. It’s hard, starting all over again,” Smith said.
CV personnel director Wally Stanley said the district generally doesn’t like to move people around, but sometimes finding the right person for the right school forces reassignments.
“There’s a match issue,” Stanley said. “Some schools struggle to find the right style.”
Margaret Patterson, Bowdish Junior High’s principal, will take over at Broadway Elementary. Horizon Junior High assistant principal Roger Fox will serve as interim principal next year.
Rick Sicilia, Central Valley High School’s assistant principal, will be assistant principal at Horizon.
Last month, Dennis Hill, University High School’s principal of eight years was reassigned to be assistant principal at CVHS.
Erik Ohlund, an assistant principal at North Central High School in Spokane School District 81, was hired to take over for Hill and will start in August.