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University High School principal is new to the job, but a familiar face in the halls

Central Valley School District recently named University High School Assistant Principal Rob Bartlett the new principal of University.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVI)
Central Valley School District recently named University High School Assistant Principal Rob Bartlett the new principal of University. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVI)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

University High School in the Central Valley School District has a new principal, at least as new as one can be after growing up in the school and working there as the assistant principal for the past several years.

Rob Bartlett first came to U-Hi as a child in 1984, when his father took a job there teaching biology and coaching football. He graduated from the school in 1997, though it was the old U-Hi on Ninth Avenue and not the current building on 32nd Avenue.

“I’ve grown up being a Titan,” he said. “I’ve bled crimson and gray.”

Teaching is in Bartlett’s blood. Both his parents were teachers, as were his grandparents. Two of his three sisters would also become teachers.

“My grandfather was a teacher at Lewis and Clark and he taught social studies,” he said. “I just loved it. When you’re brought up by educators, you’re there all the time.”

In 2002, Bartlett got his first teaching job – teaching social studies at University High School. He was also a football and baseball coach.

“I loved University High School,” he said. “I’ll be honest. This was my dream. I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do since I was 6 years old.”

He was happy with his work and hadn’t thought about doing anything different. But in 2012, his principal asked him to be the school’s dean of discipline because “he liked my style,” Bartlett said. “Really, I had never thought of going into administration.”

He took the position and never looked back.

“I knew this was my new professional path,” he said. “I could reach so many more students and parents.”

After four years in the position, he became an assistant principal. He was in that position for the past seven years. Earlier this year, current University Principal Keven Frandsen announced his retirement and Bartlett quickly applied for the position. He was selected for the job after an interview process that included input from staff and community members.

“I’m filling some big shoes there,” he said.

He said his goal is to take a “family first” approach and create a welcoming community where the whole child can be taught. “I’m just looking forward to welcoming the study body,” he said. “They’re great kids and there’s a phenomenal staff.”

His advancement left a vacancy in the school leadership, and the district has hired Alison Daschbach, currently the assistant principal at East Valley Middle School, to be an assistant principal at University.

When asked where he wants to be in five years, he has a simple answer. “I see myself leading U-Hi,” he said.

“I am crazy excited to get going,” he said. “It’s just a great opportunity to step in at this time.”

Nina Culver can be reached at

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