The Washougal School District has hired three new principals for the 2016-17 school year, two replacing staff retirements or resignations and one as the new planning principal for the new Columbia River Gorge Elementary School. They will begin July 1, 2016.
Renae Burson, Principal, Gause Elementary School Renae Burson has been selected as the new principal for Gause Elementary School. Ms. Burson is currently the principal of Bella Vista Elementary School District in Bella Vista, California, a role she has filled for the last two years. Previously, she served as the principal of Junction Elementary School in Palo Cedro, CA for one year. Ms. Burson has also worked as a curriculum and instruction coordinator, Math project instructor, Math consultant and a classroom teacher. She has experience in implementing programs to help all students succeed and is well-versed in many initiatives used in Washougal, such as the 1:1 technology initiative and professional learning communities. Burson was awarded the 2016 Elementary Principal of the Year in Shasta County for improving outcomes for all students.
With a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and a Minor in Anthropology, Burson says her background in science prepared her for success in school administration. "My degree in microbiology taught me to analyze data, draw conclusions, and act on the results. That capability readily transfers to education and the need for data driven instruction," she said. Burson uses technology to collect data and provide immediate feedback to teachers as she observes them in the classroom. Burson worked with staff to use the data to help improve classroom instruction and student growth outcomes and the work of professional learning communities.
"I am really looking forward to joining the Washougal School District," said Burson. "As principal, I make it a point to know each of my students by name and I can't wait to begin developing strong relationships with staff, students, families and the community of Washougal."
Renae succeeds Rex Larson who retires at the end of the school year.
Tami Culp, Associate Principal, Jemtegaard Middle School Tami Culp is the new associate principal at Jemtegaard Middle School. Mrs. Culp is currently an Instructional Coach for the North Clackamas School District in Milwaukie, Oregon. Her career spans 25 years in education, with experience as an elementary school classroom teacher, instructional coach, school administrator and adjunct professor at Concordia University. Mrs. Culp has extensive experience working in Title I schools and leading school and building committees on curriculum adoption, Response to Intervention (RtI), Professional Learning Communities, Positive Behavior Support and Sheltered Instruction.
Culp began her career in education as a parent volunteer in her daughter's kindergarten class. She had a career in marketing and advertising but found working with children extremely rewarding. "I really felt a connection to working with kids on a regular basis," she said. Culp continued volunteering, and was later hired as an instructional assistant. After completing the coursework to become a teacher, she took a teaching job at Ardenwald Elementary, a school right across the street from her home at the time.
As an administrator, Culp has been charged with leading the district's RtI team, planning professional development focused on Smarter Balanced Assessments, and supervising Title I instructional assistants. When the district recently adopted a new mathematics curriculum, Culp was a part of the selection committee.
"As a student, I struggled with science and math, but these subjects ended up being my favorites to teach later on," said Culp. "It's interesting how the lens switched." In fact, she was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2008.
Culp and her husband, Jim, have lived in Washougal the past 10 years and can often be seen helping their son, James, at the family owned business, Local Girls Hawaiian Shave Ice and Grill, in Camas. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Culp says she is thrilled to work and live in Washougal, a community to which she and her family are very connected. "I value relationships and working together to make a difference," she said. "Education is a relationship-based field and it takes everyone working together to benefit students. I am really thrilled about joining the staff at Jemtegaard."
Culp replaces Brian Amundson who has accepted a position with the Battle Ground School District.
Tracey MacLachlan, Planning Principal, Columbia River Gorge Elementary School Tracey MacLachlan has been selected as the planning principal for the new Columbia River Gorge elementary school. MacLachlan is currently principal at Union Ridge Elementary School in Ridgefield School District. She was previously an elementary teacher in the Camas School District for 12 years. She brings experience in instructional leadership in curriculum, instruction and assessment. She is experienced in hiring and evaluating staff following the state's TPEP model as well as developing and implementing professional development for staff. She previously served as associate principal where she was responsible for managing student discipline issues and working with staff to develop curriculum strategies to help all students succeed. As a former teacher, she fully understands the importance of teacher collaboration to share instructional strategies for the benefit of all students.
"This opportunity to work collaboratively with administrators and the school board to create a new learning environment for the students of Washougal will be an exhilarating challenge," said MacLachlan. "The joy of leading the new Columbia River Gorge Elementary school community from the ground up is a 'chance of a lifetime' in the eyes of this principal. I am thrilled to be joining the Washougal team!"
"I am excited to welcome these individuals to our leadership team," said Superintendent Dr. Mike Stromme. "Now is an exciting time at Washougal with our new buildings and new educational programs. They come to us with track records in academic program development and instructional quality."