Lis lands Poulsbo principalship

POULSBO — North Kitsap School District Director of Curriculum and Assessment Wally Lis will journey down “the hill” — the common moniker used to describe NKSD’s administrative offices — to take up the principalship at Poulsbo Junior High School this fall.

The rather sudden announcement of current PJH Principal Tony Bainbridge’s year-long medical leave of absence left the school district with a vacant position just weeks before school’s start. But Lis, a veteran principal, said he was happy to fill a role he’s filled at several Washington high schools.

Aside from job familiarity, he has location familiarity as well — Lis said he’s worked with more than 70 percent of the staff at PJH and was also the administrative liaison to the school for the 2002-03 and the 2003-04 school years.

“I’m very comfortable with the staff and the environment there,” he said.

The details surrounding Bainbridge’s departure are unknown and the school district cannot discuss personnel matters. But the district’s human resources department said his compensation during the leave will be determined by the amount of sick leave he’s accumulated during his time in NKSD.

He is also not guaranteed his former position, only one inside the district.

Lis said his biggest challenge will be to oversee the Poulsbo Junior High School remodel, which is currently wrapping up its first phase — but will continue with two more phases during school before wrapping up in time for the 2006-07 school year.

His present job as the director of curriculum and assessment will be divvied up by four administrators: Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Marylou Murphy, Executive Director of Learning Support Services Gregg Epperson, Assistant Director of Learning Support Services Dixie Husser, and Kingston High School Planning Principal Bruce Saari.

Lis’ assignment to PJH comes at a critical time in his current position at administration headquarters: the district’s sophomores — the class of 2008 — will be taking the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) and for the first time, they’ll have to pass it to graduate.

But Lis is confident that the four administrators covering his position until he returns next year will be able to handle his present duties.

“We’ll make sure everything gets covered,” he said.

Lis, a former principal at Shoreline, Riverview and Eatonville high schools prior to coming to the NKSD, has been working his way toward a superintendent’s license through a Western Washington University program, which he’ll finish in June 2006. Though returning to a principal’s position may appear a step back on the administrative chain of command, Lis said it’s actually a beneficial experience and one he’s highly looking forward to.

“I’d say it’s a lateral step, not backwards,” he said. “My position now deals first with curriculum, then with students. As a principal, I’ll deal with students first and curriculum second.”

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