Prasch is stepping down as principal of North Kitsap High School

Kathy Prasch ... retiring after five years as North Kitsap High School
Kathy Prasch ... retiring after five years as North Kitsap High School's principal.
— image credit: Herald file photo

POULSBO — Kathy Prasch, North Kitsap High School's principal for five years, will retire at the end of this school year.

Prasch became North Kitsap's first female principal in 2006 and has worked in education for 23 years. As principal, she earns $115,038 a year.

Though Prasch is stepping down as principal, she is not through with education, she said.

"I don't want to give it all up just yet," Prasch said. "Not as it's getting so exciting."

Prasch said she would like to stay involved as a part-time educator in the North Kitsap School District or another district. She said she would like to work with other principals as a consultant or as an interim principal if needed. Serving as a high school principal, she said, is "an all-consuming job."

North Mason High School principal Chad Collins worked as assistant principal with Prasch for four years at North Kitsap. He said he considers her a mentor and any principal would be lucky to get advice from her.

"I call her a couple times a month," Collins said. "I always ask, 'Hey, what would you do here.'"

Recently, Collins has begun working on the master schedule for North Mason and said he called Prasch because she is "an expert at building master schedules." Even though she's retiring, he said he will continue to lean on her for advice.

Prasch said she enjoys meeting new people, which made the principal position an ideal fit for her. Along with working with students and staff, she had the opportunity to meet a large portion of the North Kitsap community.

"The high school principal is one of the best jobs if you like people," she said.

Prasch helped the school pass through several milestones in its history. She witnessed the remodeling of the school, which began in 2007, and helped implement time for teachers to collaborate with one another. Prasch also led North Kitsap through its transition from a grade 10-12 school to a 9-12 school, and worked on restructuring the school as a whole after Kingston High School was built, forcing half of North Kitsap's staff to transfer over.

"We basically had to recreate North's identity," Prasch said.

Along with the restructuring of the high school, Prasch advocated for many school programs, including those which continue to be on the cusp of being cut.

Prevention counselor Nikki Fowler said Prasch continually advocates for her position at North Kitsap. Along with counseling, Prasch continued to support activities and programs within the prevention program, such as the mock car crash — to be presented April 28 at 10 a.m. at North Kitsap High School — and the Safe Talks.

As the budget for the district continues to shrink, Fowler said without Prasch to support her position, it's questionable whether she will be returning next year.

"Once again my job is on the chopping block," Fowler said. "Kathy has always been fighting for this position."

Because the district pays for a large portion of Fowler's salary, she said Prasch has advocated for the prevention office to extend outside its traditional duties. Extra efforts the prevention office has put forth include a food program, which helps low-income students receive meals.

"I'm bummed," Fowler said of Prasch's retirement.

Before joining North Kitsap, she worked in California for 18 years. Her first job was as an English teacher, which she held for seven years.

While a candidate for North Kitsap's principal, Prasch said she went through about a 14-hour interview process, including a meeting with the superintendent and then a community meeting. Though she does not know how many candidates there were, she was told it was "fairly competitive."

Prasch said she will stay in Poulsbo and hopes the work she did in the district will continue to help students as they progress through North Kitsap, including her grandchildren, who will soon be attending the school.

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