Three elementary school principals switch jobs | ParkRecord.com

Three elementary school principals switch jobs

Jason Strykowski, of the Record staff

The game of musical chairs is on at the Park City School District, but in this competition, everybody has played for years.

Last Thursday, after thorough discussions among the school board and administration, the district announced a restructuring of leadership at three of Park City’s elementary schools. Martha Crook will retire this year as principal of Trailside Elementary and Pat Flynn, current principal of Parley’s Park, will take her place. Michele Wallace, current principal of Jeremy Ranch steps into his position and, finally, Shawn Kuennen will take over at Jeremy Ranch.

This restructuring comes as the result of a year’s worth of thought and preparation. Although the district might have assigned Kuennen to Trailside, Superintendent Ray Timothy decided that assigning Kuennen to an area in which he lives could prove difficult. "(He would) become a 24-hour-a-day administrator at that point."

Rather than put the extra pressure on Kuennen, the district decided to move around current employees. Timothy stressed that neither Flynn nor Wallace asked to be moved or voiced any displeasure regarding their current roles, but this opportunity allows the district to "rejuvenate our current employees." Both decisions were made with the support of each administrator.

Kuennen, who earlier applied for the principal’s opening at McPolin, has held the position of assistant principal at Treasure Mountain International School since 2004. Previously, he worked in the Salt Lake City School District and holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Utah. For Timothy, hiring Kuennen was a relatively easy decision due to his 10 years of experience and his personal relations skills. "He’s been asking what can I do to better prepare myself to be an elementary principal," said Timothy.

Of his new job, Kuennen said, "I sure appreciate the opportunity. (It will be) a new challenge. I haven’t worked at an elementary school before." But, Timothy voiced a great deal of assurdness in Kuennen saying "I have full confidence in his abilities" and that he’s earned the right to be a principal. Timothy was also impressed with Kuennen’s zeal in his efforts to educate himself in regards to youth literacy and reading programs.

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This coming August, Kuennen will take the reins at Jeremy Ranch and he has already received a number of phone calls from parents and organizations affiliated with the school. "My encouragement to him was get to know those people," said Timothy. Kuennen will also benefit from the collective knowledge of the staff at Jeremy Ranch and the positive momentum set forth by Wallace, added Timothy.

All of this repositioning will leave a vacancy at TMIS for an assistant principal. At the moment, Timothy and the school board plan to review internal candidates for at least several weeks and move to an open posting if a hire is not made. The district has not yet made additional announcements, but 11 other retiring employees of the school district will have to be replaced and the district also has plans to hire additional faculty to match growth and to accommodate the launch of next year’s EMints computer program.

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