The new principals at Sacajawea and Chase middle schools have a wealth and breadth of experience, including several years at the South Hill schools they’ve been named to lead.
Tracey Leyde, an assistant principal at Sacajawea since 2016, was selected this month to take over for her boss Jeremy Ochse after he was chosen for a district administrative position.
Heather Chase is the new principal at Chase after John O’Dell was named principal at Ferris High School. Chase has been an administrator at the South Hill school since 2017.
The promotions cap a busy spring of hires at Spokane Public Schools, with the retirement of two high school principals and the reassignment of two others.
Leyde’s experience has run the gamut, with all but three of her 20 years spent at Sacajawea. After earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Minot State in North Dakota, she began her career as a teacher at Sac in 2001.
Eleven years later, Leyde spent one year at Sac as an intervention specialist before being named a principal assistant at Lewis and Clark High School in 2013.
Returning to Sacajawea three years later, she has spent the past five as the top assistant to Ochse.
In that capacity, Leyde has been responsible for overseeing the hiring, training and evaluation of staff, Advanced Placement, the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and student assessments.
Chase spent most of her career in Idaho before moving to Chase in 2017.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1996, she worked the next five years as a middle-school mathematics teacher in St. Maries, Idaho.
After working in the private sector for several years, Chase returned as a math teacher at St. Maries High School from 2006 to 2013.
Chase moved in 2013 to Coeur d’Alene, where she taught math and several other subjects at Venture High School in the Coeur d’Alene School District.
During the next three years, she also earned a pair of master’s degrees from Grand Canyon University in educational administration and secondary education.
Her work at Chase began in the fall of 2017 as a principal assistant. Chase was named assistant principal in 2018.
Chase has served as the school’s lead administrator for special education while also leading the transition to more inclusive practices.
Chase has led Multi-Tiered System of Supports meetings to provide academic and behavior support to struggling students.
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