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New School Year Brings Leadership Changes

August 31, 2020 – West Ada School District welcomes 11 principals and four administrators into their new roles this school year. Read more about many of these leaders in the following profiles.

 

School Principals:

Barbara Morgan STEM Academy - Lauri Wright

Crossroads Middle School - Joe Palaia

Eagle High School - Susan McInerney

Heritage Middle School - Ryan Wilhite

Meridian Academy - Dr. Eian Harm

Paramount Elementary School - Aimee Larsen

Pleasant View Elementary School - Amy Senethavilay

Ponderosa Elementary School - KayCee Choate

Silver Sage Elementary School - Anne Spittle

Summerwind STEM Academy - Meghan Stewart

Virtual School House – Dr. Sherawn Reberry

 

District Administrators:

Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning - Bret Heller

Chief Communication Officer – Char Jackson

Curriculum and Instruction Director - Dr. Dustin Barrett

Education Foundation Director - Keri Davidson

 

Dustin Barrett Dr. Dustin Barrett, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

What is your highest level of education?

I have a Ph.D.

Are you finished learning?

I am never finished learning, if I'm breathing - I'm learning and I'm teaching (I don't believe you should ever be teaching if you're not learning)

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

My formal education was traditional K-12 in the Nampa School District (Graduated from Nampa High) and I earned my degrees as follows: Bachelor's in Biological Sciences - Northwest Nazarene University; Master's in Curriculum and Instruction - Boise State University; Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership - University of Idaho; and I earned my doctorate (Ph.D) from Northwest Nazarene University.

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? West Ada School District logo

I have worked in many settings prior to entering education including farm labor, floor covering, truss builder, I even worked in a sea food plant on the Oregon coast for nearly a year. Since entering education, I taught Science to grades 9-12 in an Alternative High School in Kuna for 3 years and Middle School at Lake Hazel Middle School in West Ada (Meridian School District at that time) for 9 years.  I have also been an assistant principal at both the Middle School and High School levels (Lowell Scott Middle and Eagle High) for 5 years and was the building Principal at Meridian Academy High for 9 years.  This is my 24th year in West Ada. 

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

I am most looking forward to grabbing the opportunity the pandemic has created and using it to evolve our teaching and learning to ensure we are able to support great learning at a personalized level for all students.

What challenge are you looking forward to overcoming?

We are going to deliver great instruction even during a pandemic because as a parent of two West Ada students and a West Ada graduate, I know West Ada is the best place for students because we have the best teachers and administrators in the state - hands down!

 

KayCee Choate KayCee Choate, Principal of Ponderosa Elementary School

What is your highest level of education?

Education Specialist

Are you finished learning?

Always learning! 

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? Ponderosa logo

Started at Pioneer Elementary teaching 2nd grade. After I received my master's degree in counseling, I became the counselor at Spalding and then Galileo.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

Meeting the students and their families.

 

 

Keri Davidson Keri Davidson, Director of the Education Foundation of the West Ada School District

What is your highest level of education?

B.A. in Communications, University of Kentucky

Are you finished learning?

Gosh no! I’m never finished learning, especially with this job. I learn something new or meet someone new every day.

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

I attended school the old-fashioned way, in-person and a little of online learning. Definitely wish I had studied abroad.

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? Education Foundation logo

I was the Vice President, Membership and Development for the Idaho Nonprofit Center and have been a fundraiser for over 10 years.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

Sports! And visiting all of the schools to meet the principals and staff.  

What challenge are you looking forward to overcoming?

To continue to improve at my job each day.

 

Eian Harm Dr. Eian Harm, Principal of Meridian Academy

What is your highest level of education?

Doctorate

Are you finished learning?

Never. Currently learning how to run a competency/mastery-based learning school.

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

School buildings, virtual, hands-on experiential, worked as a geologist, worked construction (stone masonry, carpentry), many other jobs and I learned in each of these “settings.”

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year? Meridian Academy logo

Working with students and teachers, getting to know them all and build relationships.

What challenge are you looking forward to overcoming?

The current pandemic is going to make it difficult to build relationships w/ students to ensure they are successful. We HAVE to find a way to build these relationships!

 

Aimee Larsen Aimee Larsen, Principal of Paramount Elementary School

What is your highest level of education?

Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Idaho

Are you finished learning?

Never! One of the things I love most about being an educator is that I have opportunities to continually engage in new learning and explore ways to apply the things I have learned!

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

I have experienced learning primarily in traditional and virtual settings. One of the settings I would like to try more of is learning in a global virtual setting. This forum allows me to learn from educators across the world in many different roles and types of educational settings. 

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? Paramount logo

My classroom teaching experience started in Utah where I taught 2nd and 4th grade and then at Siena Elementary in West Ada where I taught 1st grade for 4 years. Following my time at Siena, I transitioned to the district office as a Regional Digital Integration Specialist where I worked with admin and teachers K-12 to develop and implement systems for integrating technology in the classroom. For the last two years, I have been serving as an Assistant Principal at Heritage Middle School. This spring I was thrilled to accept the position as Principal at Paramount Elementary.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

I look forward to immersing myself in the rich culture and traditions that the Paramount Elementary community is known for. I am excited about the energy teachers exude when they talk about reconnecting with their students and families and how we can make the coming school year a positive experience for each and every child.  

What challenge are you looking forward to overcoming?

Although districts and schools are currently facing many unprecedented challenges, I believe that our current situation can be viewed through a broader lens. I am excited about the opportunity that preparing for hybrid and remote learning will provide us as we work collectively to evaluate and reimagine teaching and learning for our students in a way that promotes higher levels of student-ownership, collaborative problem-solving, and that allows students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge in new and meaningful ways.

 

Anne Spittle Anne Spittle, Principal of Silver Sage Elementary

What is your highest level of education?

I have a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education with a minor in history, a Master of Public Administration, and a Master of Education  

Are you finished learning?

I will never be done learning! I love growing my knowledge to better help students learn, grow, and reach their individual potential. I also enjoy learning how to better engage and empower educators.  

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

My learning has occurred in traditional settings, including public schools and state universities. My most unique educational setting was a small satellite campus of the University of Alaska, located on the Kenai Peninsula. I would LOVE the opportunity to take my own family and participate in an international study program someday…especially foreign cuisine! 

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? Silver Sage logo

I have taught in Alaska, Las Vegas, and two schools in West Ada. I was an assistant principal at Lake Hazel Middle School for four years. Other jobs I have held include dental assistant, community health center project manager, research analyst, and athletic certification for Boise State. 

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

I am so excited for this year and to be at Silver Sage Elementary! I am lucky to have the opportunity to traverse the challenges that the pandemic brings with an outgoing and positive staff. I can’t wait to meet our students and to learn, grow, and overcome as a community. We all have a lot of learning ahead of us and by remaining flexible, open-minded, and positive we will be successful!  

 

Meghan Stewart Meghan Stewart, Principal of Summerwind STEM Academy

What is your highest level of education?

Educational Specialist Degree in Building Administration. I also hold a Master of Arts in Teaching and two BA degrees in Political Science and Communication Arts, Organizational Communication 

Are you finished learning?

Learning never stops. There is something to learn every day whether that is with my students or staff or in a book. I continue to take professional learning courses and I teach classes through NNU for educators. 

In which educational settings have you learned? What setting would you try next?

I have taken classes both in person and with online learning opportunities. Both have their advantages and challenges. I always tell my own children, my students and fellow staff members that learning is all about your commitment and determination. You get out what you put in, no matter what the platform. If you are passionate about learning, nothing can stop you! And you can learn wherever you go whether it is to the local park or to another country. As far as what to try next.... the sky is limit! I have always wanted to teach in one room schoolhouse.  

Where have you worked previously, in what capacity? Summerwind logo

I have spent my almost 25-year career in West Ada as an elementary classroom educator, Gifted and Talented Facilitator, Admin Intern, Assistant Principal and now Principal. I have been a staff member in at least 15 of our buildings. 

What are you most looking forward to in the coming school year?

We have a lot of challenges ahead of us for the current school year. But I am confident in the Summerwind STEM Academy staff and students to meet those challenges and learn at high levels. I love working with students, families, and teachers. It is my passion and my life's work. 

What challenge are you looking forward to overcoming?

We need to reach out to our families and help them to navigate our online learning platform. We will be using Microsoft TEAMS more than ever now and for the future whether students are in the classroom or working virtually. We are all learners and I want to support our school community any way I can.