December 31, 2011 in Washington Voices

U-Hi principal plans to retire at end of school year

By The Spokesman-Review
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Daryl Hart will retire as principal at University High School at the end of the school year. He arrived eight years ago from
(Full-size photo)

After 38 years in education, University High School Principal Daryl Hart has announced he will retire next December. Hart, 60, has been U-Hi principal for eight years. He will step down after the school year and work in the Central Valley School District Office as director of facilities and capital projects until the end of 2012.

He came to the district from Monroe, Wash., hoping to find a job near his daughter, Lauren Posey, a teacher in the Mead School District. He said he was a finalist for principal jobs at North Central, Ferris and University when the job at University was offered first.

“I couldn’t have picked a better place,” he said of his years at U-Hi.

Hart said he has appreciated the staff, the respectful student body and the support of the parents. When he first arrived at the school, his wife Cathy told him she had never felt as welcomed at a school as U-Hi.

“It’s one of the best I’ve worked in,” he said.

Hart went to a Catholic high school in the San Francisco Bay Area. He said the late Dan Fitzgerald, former head basketball coach and athletic director at Gonzaga University, was a coach at his high school and encouraged him to get into teaching and coaching.

During his career Hart coached basketball and track, worked as a middle school teacher, middle school principal and high school principal in Nevada, Idaho and Washington. This spring, he will participate in his 24th high school graduation.

Many things have changed in education over the years, but Hart is adamant there is one thing that hasn’t.

“Kids are still kids,” he said. “What’s changed might be society.” With the advent of technology, kids are exposed to so much more of the world. They tend to look at things globally instead of locally. They get a deeper understanding of the material they are studying thanks to the computer age. They are dealing with issues such as war and homelessness – an issue Hart said is more predominant today than it was when he started out in education.

He appreciated working at the middle school level before moving on to high school, because he said he had a better understanding of where students were coming from as they entered their high school years. He said high school students are entering a transition phase when they come in as freshmen, relatively dependent on their parents. They grow in four years to independent high school graduates ready to make their own decisions.

Once he retires, he plans to spend time golfing with his wife. He wants to get a motor home and become snowbirds during the winter months. They want to travel to Europe and the East Coast and spend time with their five children ages 30 to 42, all of whom have given the couple grandchildren. The youngest born Dec. 17.

He has high hopes for the future of University.

“I hope they get a principal who has an energetic work ethic, a person that fits the staff and community,” he said.

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