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Hotbed for Leaders

Written by Paula Hermann, College of Education, and Mike Thee
October 6, 2011

Evidence of the College of Education’s far-reaching impact is reflected in the 20 graduates who have taken on key leadership positions this fall. Ten are serving as principals, seven as assistant principals and three in other administrative roles. 

The group includes alumni leading schools throughout our region as well as California and even Russia. The 20 graduates are serving the educational system in every conceivable aspect. They are leading public, parochial, charter and alternative schools, and one is directing a resource center for homeschooling. 

"Research shows one of the key factors to creating learning environments where all children and youth can thrive and grow is a well prepared, highly qualified teacher," said Sue Schmitt, dean of the College of Education. "Equally important is a well prepared and highly effective principal who not only manages the school but who is also a masterful instructional leader. Our Educational Administration (EDAD) program is producing outstanding candidates for leadership in local and regional schools, and these numbers reflect a confidence in our program, our faculty and Seattle University." 

The 20 new administrators join other SU graduates who are leading schools and systems throughout the world.  

  
Steve Schmutz (right), the new principal at Eastside Catholic High School in Bellevue, and Matt Eisenhauer, the school's assistant principal, are both recent College of Education graduates.
  And the College of Education’s role in preparing principals and other educational leaders does not end at graduation. The Program for New Principals, which was launched five years ago, offers continuing support to school administrators who are just starting out in their careers. As a key component of the program, the new principals are mentored by veteran school leaders. (Eight of the newest administrators to graduate from SU are participating in the New Principals Program.) The program has received support from such partners as the Stuart Foundation and the Paul G. Allen Foundation. 

Following is a list of the 20 College of Education alumni who have begun as school leaders this year: 

Steve Schmutz is new principal at Eastside Catholic High School in Bellevue. He and his assistant principal, Matt Eisenhauer, earned their principal certification through SU earlier this year. 

Brad Brown (’11, superintendent certificate) is principal at First Creek Middle School in Tacoma, and Sue Kleitsch (’01, EDAD) is the principal at Whitman Middle School in Seattle. Amy Montanye-Johnson, a 1999 Counseling alumna, is the principal at Twin Rivers School, an alternative school for grades 6-12 in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. Current EDAD student Monica Wingard assumed principal duties at St. George Parish School, serving students in PreK-8 in Seattle’s Beacon Hill/Georgetown neighborhood. Jane Egashira, a 1994 MIT alumna who completed the principal certification in 2010, is principal at Sacramento Valley Charter School in California’s capital.  

Elementary school principals include: Erika Ayler, M.Ed., (’07, EDAD), Daniel Bagley Elementary in Seattle; Kate Baehr, Ed.D., (’06, EDAD), Larrabee Elementary School in Bellingham; Jessica Calabrese, M.Ed., (’08, EDAD), Lake Ridge Elementary in Renton; Tamra Prince, M.Ed., (’07, EDAD), Maplewood Heights Elementary in Renton.  

Four 2011 EDAD graduates are serving as assistant principals: Chuck Bocian (Blanchet High School - Seattle), Jennifer Christenson, M.Ed. (Narrows View Intermediate School – University Place), Tiffany Hylton, Ed.S., (Decatur High School), Amber Jenkins (Franklin High School - Seattle), Heidi Riegsecker, M.Ed. (McKnight Middle School - Renton) and Robyn Wiens (Cascade Middle School – Highline).  

Mark Roschy, who received his superintendent certificate in 2011, will serve as director of human resources and career/technical education on Mercer Island, and Treena Sterk, a current EDAD student, is the new program director at the Seattle Homeschool Resource Center. 

2010 Superintendent Certification recipient Jon Zurfluh, has taken the reins as director of the Anglo-American School of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. The international school serves 1,400 students in grades PK-12, primarily expatriate families living in Moscow, representing more than 60 countries.