The Coeur d’Alene School District has tapped a Spokane school administrator to be the next principal at Coeur d’Alene High School.
Randy Russell, 39, assistant principal at North Central High School, accepted the position Thursday night. He will replace Steve Casey, who will retire at the end of the school year after 13 years as principal.
Russell said he was drawn to the job both for the quality of the schools and the community’s attitude toward education.
“The Coeur d’Alene School District is very well known in the Northwest,” he said. “It’s got a strong reputation not only for academics but also community support.”
Voters’ recent rejection of a $40 million property tax measure for new and renovated schools was a tough loss, Russell said.
“But it’s a supportive community, a progressive community around academics,” he said.
He said his top goals will be to build relationships with the staff and students at Coeur d’Alene High, which has 1,436 students, and continue “the tradition of excellence.”
Russell was chosen from among 16 applicants. A 16-member committee selected four semifinalists for interviews, then picked two to return earlier this week for meetings with staff, students and community members. The superintendent, assistant superintendent and director of staff and community relations made the final selection.
“We were inundated with positive comments about Randy’s skills,” Assistant Superintendent Hazel Bauman said in a written statement. “He will make a great addition to our team.”
Russell has been assistant principal at North Central, a school of 1,500 students, for five years. He was in charge of all aspects of curriculum and instruction. He managed and directed student registration, developed the master schedule, supervised and evaluated 28 certified staff members and coordinated all counseling and professional-technical management services.
Before that he was assistant principal of discipline at Rogers High School in Spokane for one year, assistant principal of athletics and activities at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont., from 1998 to 2000, and athletics and activities director at Colville High School in Washington from 1993 to 1998. He taught history and fitness in Washington schools from 1989 to 1996.
Russell earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and his principal’s certification from Whitworth College in Spokane.
He said he and his wife, Shawna, and their children – Emily, 10, Megan, 8, and Ryan, 2 – plan to move to the Coeur d’Alene area. “You’ve got the best of both worlds there: a big city with a small city feel,” Russell said.
His official start date is Aug. 3. No salary has been set yet. Coeur d’Alene administrators earn base salaries of between $62,000 and $77,000 a year.