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News >  K-12 education

New principals at four Spokane high schools next year

By the end of this week, Spokane Public Schools expects to name four new high school principals and lay the groundwork for a “more efficient administration” at all grade levels, Superintendent Adam Swinyard said Monday.

The changes, which are effective at the end of the school year, won’t add personnel to the district’s administrative structure, Swinyard said.

Rather, they are made possible by recent and pending retirements at the district’s central office.

Next year, Lewis and Clark Principal Marybeth Smith will become the district’s director of curriculum for all grade levels.

Rogers Principal Lori Wyborney will move to a new role as school director of all buildings in the Rogers attendance area.

Meanwhile, Ferris Principal Ken Schutz and Shadle Park counterpart Julie Lee are retiring.

“It’s a plan that’s been under wraps for a while,” said Schutz, who notified the district about a month ago. “But for now I just want to keep working hard and finish strong.”

The timing was also right for Lee, who has spent the last 40 years as a teacher, counselor or administrator.

“I’m just excited,” Lee said. “I would like to look at some other opportunities, plus spend more time with my family.”

In another major change, Jeremy Ochse, principal at Sacajawea Middle School, will move this fall to schools director for all buildings that feed into Lewis and Clark.

The district is moving swiftly to replace all five principals.

“We expect to have an announcement on Friday,” Swinyard said.

The move continues the shift from grade-level school directors to ones who serve a geographic area.

The move to geography-based school directors “will provide a strong sense of community and a strong sense of alignment for families and staff,” Swinyard said.

That opportunity seemed tailored for Wyborney, an administrator at Rogers for 14 years.

“I think that’s the only reason I’m doing this, a chance to have a wider net out there,” Wyborney said.

“After all these years in high schools, I’ve come to the realization that we have to fix things earlier than that,” Wyborney said.

The timing coincides with the construction of three new middle schools and changes to some attendance boundaries.

“This was an opportune time,” said Swinyard, who said the new format will allow for better coordination.

The time was also right for Smith.

“We have an amazing staff and the loveliest kids – I will miss them,” Smith said.

However Smith said the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to make a difference at all grade levels.

“I think we’re in a pretty unique place with education in this country right now,” Smith said. “Teachers have skilled up like nobody’s business, and there’s more capacity to instruct than ever before. But we have to leverage that or lose it.”

In another move, Shawn Jordan, currently the district’s director of secondary schools, will become chief operations officer following the impending retirement of associate superintendent Mark Anderson.

The district is doing away with the associate superintendent title for its top managers. In addition to Jordan, they include chief financial officer Cindy Coleman and chief academic officer Heather Bybee.

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