South Summit School District opts to promote from within |

South Summit School District opts to promote from within

Within a day of receiving Superintendent Tim Smith’s official resignation, South Summit School District Board of Education members tapped a replacement. After an emergency executive session on May 31, the board offered Smith’s job to South Summit Middle School Principal Barry Walker, a Kamas native.

According to South Summit School District Business Administrator Zane Woolstenhulme, Walker asked for some time to mull it over and called the next day to accept the offer. The decision was formalized at the board’s regular meeting June 14.

Smith was finishing his second two-year term as head of the Kamas-based district. He is leaving to become superintendent of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, a state-appointed post, said Woolstenhulme.

Walker has been an educator for more than 30 years. After eight years of teaching at Ephraim Elementary School he and his wife returned to South Summit. For the next 11 years Walker held a variety of positions at South Summit Elementary School until he and his wife decided to "give Southern Utah a try." After a couple of years in the small district though, the Walkers once again returned to Kamas.

In 1999, Walker was appointed principal of South Summit Middle School and he says the toughest part of the decision take the superintendent’s job was leaving the staff he worked with for the last eight years.

Walker explained that the board called him about a week after the school year ended, saying they felt he could help them unify the district. Once he decided to accept the new post, Walker said he called each member of the middle school staff and asked if they wanted to look outside the district for a new principal or hire from within.

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The consensus was to try to find a candidate to replace Walker who was already familiar with the school’s programs and those who were qualified were invited to apply, he said. A committee was then formed to interview three local applicants and they chose to promote middle school vice principal and counselor Wade Woolstenhulme. Their recommendation was ratified by the school board on Thursday.

Woolstenhulme has worked in the South Summit School District since 1989 in a variety of jobs including teacher, wrestling coach and assistant principal at South Summit high school.

According to Walker, the toughest challenge facing the South Summit School District will be keeping up with the tremendous growth in the Kamas Valley and matching the school programs to the changing needs of the community.