Baron to resign in June
By Mari Kanagy, Publishing Editor
As the school year is coming to a close, so is assistant principal Alanah Baron’s work with the district. After three years in the position, Baron is moving on to become an assistant principal at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington.
Baron announced her resignation to administrators on Monday, May 13. Later that day, principal Danny Rock sent out a staff-wide email announcing that she would be leaving the district next year.
“Moving to a bigger school and a bigger district is part of my own trajectory in terms of my career path,” Baron said. “I’m moving to a school that is quite large, that has over 2,000 students. I’ll be part of a really big administrative team, and so that’s going to afford me a lot of opportunities for my own professional growth.”
Baron will serve as one of Skyline’s four assistant principals. Instead of working with the entire student body and leading discipline for the whole school, she will be assigned a group of students to work with.
“It’ll be a really different opportunity for me to be a smaller cog in a bigger machine,” Baron said.
As the assistant principal of a smaller school, Baron has a large variety of roles: she serves as the Director of Career and Technical Education for the district, coordinates state testing, and oversees truancy intervention with King County.
“In this building, I’ve had the opportunity to do things as an assistant principal that I would never do as an assistant principal in a larger district,” Baron said. “My position will differ more in a bigger system because my job will be much narrower in focus.”
Though she doesn’t see herself returning to work on Vashon, Baron expects to maintain many of the friendships she has cultivated on the island. She says she has greatly enjoyed working with Vashon students.
“The students who are here are amazing, and they’ve really enriched my life, and my time here has been something that I’m grateful for,” Baron said.
Before becoming an administrator, Baron worked as a classroom teacher as well as a literacy coach.
“As I moved into a leadership position, Vashon was one of the schools that I was really interested in working at for a number of reasons,” Baron said. “The demographics are really interesting, and I think it’s such a unique community and unique student body.… When I had the opportunity to visit here, I was struck right away by just how kind and welcoming the students were.”
Baron has particularly enjoyed the position due to her close proximity in working with the staff, students, and families.
“One of the things that I’ve learned here is just how much fun the job is,” Baron said. “I love being an assistant principal. That might surprise people, but it’s a really unique experience to get to be part of the system part of a school.”
According to Baron, the changing needs and methods of education makes it so there is always work left as an administrator.
“The biggest challenges has been not ever having enough time to do all the things that need to be done,” Baron said. “I think that the nature of education is that it’s not a task that gets completed. The minute you finish one thing, there [are] 10 more things that need to be done.”
Baron’s success and ability to overcome challenges in the position were noted by fellow administrators.
“One thing that [Baron] did really well, and I’ll be looking for in another assistant principal, is she’s someone who can appreciate and buy into the vision that we’re working towards as a school, but can also help us with the logistics of making that happen,” Rock said.
In searching for Baron’s replacement, Rock will be looking for a candidate who is able to manage the feeling of safety in the school, provide instructional leadership to the staff, maintain strong communication with the faculty, and lead student discipline.
“What I’m looking for is someone who sees student discipline as a learning opportunity for students, and who can help maintain relationships with students while also enforcing the rules,” Rock said.
Additionally, Rock is looking for a candidate with the skill set necessary to take on a leadership role.
“Experience is helpful, but I am willing to take on someone newer to the field of school administration,” Rock said. “If I saw that a candidate had the raw material to be successful, then I wouldn’t shy away from that applicant.”
The school’s hiring process began on Sunday, May 19 with the posting of the open position on the district website and the Washington School Principals Association. The deadline for all applications was Friday, May 31.
Interviewing occured in the first week of June, and consisted largely of a community forum, in which staff, students, and parents were given the opportunity to listen to applicants and share their opinions with the hiring team.
“The role the interview teams play in the interview process is [that of] a consultative role to the hiring supervisor,” Rock said. “They’re providing feedback so that we can make, if possible, a consensus decision.”
The final decision will ultimately be made by Rock and superintendent Slade McSheehy.
The contract for principals begins on Monday, July 1, and thus the district is working to reach a final decision before the end of the school year.
“Assistant principals have difficult positions,” Rock said. “They have the authority of a principal, but they don’t get the respect of a principal. … They have a tough role, and yet a really important role, so getting the right candidate is super important to me.”