School administrators are shuffled to shave budget

POULSBO — Budget cuts and a tweaking of “educational alignment” is the motivation behind a districtwide reassigning of several administrators, North Kitsap School District Supt. Gene Medina said Thursday.

In the move, Kingston High School Planning Principal Bruce Saari will move to North Kitsap High School while NKHS Assistant Principal Susan Wistrand will leave the school to share assistant principal duties at Poulsbo Elementary and Kingston Junior High School.

Tess Danubio, who currently devotes her time as both an assistant principal at Poulsbo and Kingston Junior High Schools, is headed to Vinland Elementary to fill the school’s assistant principal position.

“The reason that we made the reassignments is to tighten up the budget and align the right educational resources with the school as best we can,” Supt. Medina said.

Saari, whose office is currently at the school district’s administrative Caldart campus, will join the NKHS staff still as the chief planner of the new Kingston school and the district’s move to small learning communities, but also as a day-to-day high school administrator.

Saari’s transfer does not fill the position that Wistrand will vacate at the high school, however. The high school’s principal, Roy Herrera, will examine enrollment numbers to see if a new assistant principal is necessary.

As Saari enters the high school, he’ll drop the director position of the PAL (Parent Assisted Learning) program, which will again be taken charge of by Spectrum Principal Chris Wendelyn.

Combined with budget cuts of around $700,000 and the one-year delay of Kingston High School, the district was forced to look for ways to use administrators’ educational expertise in new means, said NKSD Human Resources Director Chris Willits.

“The high school project being delayed a year makes it prudent to not hire new administrators but use the ones we have,” he said. “In the big picture, if we’re asking people in the district to make a lot of cuts, that goes for the administrative level as well.”

Wistrand will be devoting half her time at KJH next year and half at Poulsbo Elementary. She’ll take the half-time position opened by Danubio, who has moved to Vinland, and the half-time position of Poulsbo Elementary Co-Principal Jerry Willson, who is leaving at the end of the school year.

“I feel very good about the person who’s been reassigned here,” said KJH Principal Ed Serra of Wistrand. “I’m confident in her skills and qualities as an administrator.”

Poulsbo Elementary’s Willson, an educator of 37 years, came out of retirement to become co-principal with Jeanette Wolfe in 2000. As the school is reduced in size by both a likely attendance boundary change and the transition from K-6 to K-5 elementary schools in 2007, Willson said it was necessary to go back to a more traditional principal and assistant principal format.

The veteran educator will take the principalship reigns at Bremerton’s Mountain View Elementary School next year. But he’s going to miss Poulsbo, he commented.

“This is probably the most supportive community I’ve ever been in,” Willson said. “It has been a blessing to be here.”

Vinland will receive Danubio, who said she’s excited to return to the elementary level, but will miss her time at North Kitsap’s two junior high schools.

“It’s been a great learning experience for me and a really great year,” she said. “But I’m thrilled just to be staying in North Kitsap School District.”

“We will miss (Danubio),” added Tony Bainbridge, PJH Principal. “Vinland is very lucky. They’re getting an administrator of integrity and one who genuinely cares about children.”

Danubio’s exit reduces Poulsbo Junior High School’s administrative staff from two and a half to two, with Bainbridge and Assistant Principal Diane Otterby remaining.

“Fortunately I have (Otterby),” Bainbridge added. “She’s a strong, educational leader who has great relationship skills with the kids.”

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