Kyle Rydell is settling into his office and getting to know the West Valley School District staff, but the new assistant superintendent isn’t really a stranger to the district. He previously worked as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal in the East Valley School District for 15 years.
Rydell said the East Valley and West Valley school districts work together frequently and it was when he worked at East Valley that he first got the idea that he’d like to work for West Valley someday.
“I just always appreciated the work that they were doing,” he said. “I thought they were innovative.”
He graduated from Central Valley High School and was a wrestling coach at Horizon Middle School while he earned his teaching degree at Eastern Washington University.
“I’ve been at each of the Valley districts and I’m hoping to finish at this district,” Rydell said. “No more moving.”
Rydell has been doing a lot of moving in recent years. After his time at East Valley he spent three years as the superintendent in Republic, Washington, and five years as superintendent of the Liberty School District in Spangle.
During his career he earned a master’s degree in curriculum and design from Gonzaga University, a principal certification from EWU and a superintendent certificate from Washington State University.
It seemed natural that Rydell would become a teacher. His father was the athletic director at Central Valley High School, and his mother was a teacher and later a paraeducator at Central Valley High School after taking a few years off to raise her family.
Rydell points to his high school history teacher, Steve Bernard, as one of his inspirations. “He taught me about coaching and working with kids,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you anything I learned in history, but he taught me how to be productive. Those basic principles he taught me convinced me this is what I wanted to do.”
And what he wanted to do was teach and coach. “I didn’t want to be an administrator,” he said. “I had a dad that was an administrator. I knew how much time he spent.”
But when he was at East Valley Middle School, his principal and assistant principal called him in for a talk, trying to convince him to get his principal certification. Rydell said they saw something in him that he didn’t realize was there.
“I had never seen that coming,” he said. “They encouraged me to do that.”
A few years later another talk, this one with then East Valley Superintendent John Glenewinkle, convinced him to get his superintendent certification. Rydell said even though he’s had to give up coaching he hasn’t regretted his decision to leave the classroom and focus on educating hundreds or thousands of students instead of 28.
As he begins his new job, Rydell is focused on getting to know everyone. “That’s priority one – getting to know the staff and community,” he said. “We need to make a learning environment that effective for all kids.”
People can expect to see Rydell at concerts, games and other school events in the fall.
Rydell and his wife, Laura, have a daughter who just graduated from high school and a son who will enter West Valley High School as a freshman in the fall. Rydell said the moving around has been hard on his kids, and he hopes to stay at West Valley for a long time.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I hope that this is a long-term commitment.”
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