Less is Moore for Pearson principal

PEARSON — “Think you can, work hard, get smart.”

As Patricia Moore prepares for her first school year as a principal, she fondly recites this Pearson-founded mantra which became known as “common language” during former principal Chris Willits’ six years at the school.

“I look forward to carrying on those philosophies,” Moore said. “Helping Pearson to move in the direction that has already started.”

But as the school’s interim principal for the 2004-05 school year, Moore has many goals of her own that will impact the 350 students who attend the school, as well as the staff she oversees.

As Pearson wraps up a $5 million construction renovation this summer — one plagued for two years by a company’s malfeasance as well as high costs — there is a sense at the school that a new day is dawning. That includes the recently-arrived Moore, who was formerly the assistant principal at Vinland Elementary School.

“It did happen fast and furious,” said Moore, describing her transition between Vinland — NK’s largest elementary school at 650 students — to its smallest.

Moore is no stranger to Kitsap County. Raised in Port Orchard, she graduated from South Kitsap High School before studying special education at Central Washington University in 1991. North Kitsap School District hired her soon after graduation, where she served as a special education teacher at three different schools — four years at Poulsbo Junior High, three at North Kitsap High School and seven at Vinland.

Two years ago, Moore became the head teacher in a resource room at Vinland, overseeing five employees, and last year was appointed to assistant principal. She also finished a master’s degree in education administration in 2003, qualifying her to take on a principal position.

Her opportunity came recently when Willits took the position of human resources director for North Kitsap School District. Moore was hired to serve as the interim head of school this year with the full-time position offered by the district at a later date.

Moore said her primary goals at the school are continuing where Willits left off, and becoming acclimated to the unique culture at Pearson.

“Building relationships is one of my strengths,” she said. “Getting out there and being with the kids, working in the classrooms.”

Moore said she’ll be working this year to increase her knowledge of the general education curriculum.

Aside from their enrollment size, Vinland and Pearson Elementary Schools are different in many ways, she said. But although she was an administrator at Kitsap County’s only school with a uniform policy, Moore also was quick to point out that Pearson’s non-uniform policy will likely remain the same.

Nonetheless, things will be — and even look — different when school starts Sept. 8.

“Even visually it will be different,” Moore said with a smile.

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