Mike Van Matre, who taught for 13 years at University High School then served six years as assistant principal at West Valley High School, will complete his tour of Valley school districts when he takes over in August as assistant principal at East Valley High School.
Van Matre is not eager to leave West Valley, but said as the sole assistant principal, he “wore too many hats,” and spent too much time “putting out fires.”
The position at EVHS focuses on curriculum and staff development, which Van Matre said is lacking in his administrative portfolio.
“This professionally is an opportunity for me to grow,” Van Matre said. “It rounds me out as an administrator more.”
The experience also will prepare Van Matre better to seek a principal or central office administration position one day, he said.
Van Matre, who beat out three other finalists to win the position, will replace Kerry Hawley, a counselor who served as assistant principal on a one-year basis.
It’ll be tough for him to leave West Valley, Van Matre said. “I really enjoyed it here. I hate leaving in many ways. I can’t say enough about what a positive experience it’s been.”
West Valley will miss him as well. Superintendent Dave Smith had mixed feelings about Van Matre’s move and said WV would suffer a great loss.
“It’s a nice move for him,” Smith said. “I wish him well. He’s done nice things for West Valley. He can hold his head up high.”
Smith said Van Matre’s vacated position would be open to applicants from within the district on Wednesday. If no suitable candidates apply, he said, the district will look beyond West Valley for a replacement.
Van Matre starts at East Valley on Aug. 21 and said he’s looking forward to being involved in the hiring of teachers who will replace this year’s retirees.
Other finalists for the assistant principal position at East Valley High School were: James McAdam, a teacher in the East Valley School District since 1979; Dennis Bolz, principal and athletic director of Wilbur Public Schools in Wilbur, Wash.; and Paulette Crowley, the principal of Educational Service District 101 Satellite Telecommunications.