BEND, OR -- Nearly every high school in Bend will have a new principal in the fall. Jay Mathisen, Deputy Superintendent for Bend-La Pine Schools, admits it’s unusual to have so many big changes occur at once. "We’ve had veteran leadership at numbers of our high schools over these last years, and actually we’ve had incredibly talented and sound leadership. And, for all different reasons, in the same period of months, here, folks are changing; moving on to other things or taking other positions."
Mathisen tells KBND News, "As we go down the line: Katie Legace, currently at Mt. View High School as principal, this is her eleventh year there, which is a very long, successful tenure for a high school principal. She’s taking a job where she’ll help provide leadership to all high schools, so a bit of a promotion, honestly." She'll become the district's Executive Director of High Schools. Summit High Principal Alice DeWittie is retiring, replaced by her assistant principal Michael McDonald. And, after seven years at Marshall, Julie Linhares will take over as principal at Rosland Elementary in the fall; the district's current Director of Secondary Programs Sal Cassaro will replace her. "We couldn’t have seen these coming," says Mathisen, "A year ago, I would not have bet that we would be having that much change at the high school level. But, we’ve been grateful and they’re all great leaders, and ready for their next things."
On top of changes at three of the four existing high schools in Bend, the district will open two small high school programs in the fall, each with their own new principal. That means only two of the district's high schools will start the next school year with the same leader it has now, "Matt Montgomery is continuing to serve at La Pine High; and this is his sixth year down there. And, Chris Reese is in his fourth year as principal at Bend High," says Mathisen.
The community is invited to meet the candidates vying to replace Legace as principal of Mt. View, Monday at 5 p.m. in the school's cafeteria. Attendees can talk to the four finalists, ask questions and offer feedback. They'll also meet with students and school leaders earlier that day. The final candidates are:
Alvin Baptiste, current principal of Dufur School
Matthew Barnes, current upper school head at the Community School and Sun Valley Ski Academy in Idaho
Michael Hicks, current assistant principal at Bend Senior High
Justin Huntley, current principal of Sutherlin High