TONASKET – Jeremy Clark says his interview process with the Tonasket School District was as much about him getting a feel for the staff, administration and community as it was about his being interviewed.
So when he got the call last week that he’d been selected over three other finalists to replace Jeff Cravy as the Tonasket Elementary School principal, he was ready to jump at the opportunity.
“The staff and administration really solidified it,” Clark said. “It really seems to be a group that is excited about change, and about working together.”
Clark comes to Tonasket from the Medical Lake School District, where he’s worked both as a teacher and an administrator. After graduating from Eastern Washington University, he worked the 2003-4 school year in the Mead School District as a sixth grade teacher and science and reading specialist. The following year he moved to Medical Lake, where he has taught fourth and sixth grade, served as an administrative intern and spent a year on special assignment between Hallett Elementary and Medical Lake Middle School. After completing his Masters in Educational Leadership in 2010, Clark served this past year as substitute principal and vice principal at the middle school while also returning to the classroom.
Clark, who grew up in Twisp, not only wanted the chance to have a permanent position as a principal, but wanted to move back to the type of rural area he grew up in.
“This was a chance to get a principal’s job in the kind of area we like,” Clark said. “We wanted to be in a place with small town values, community and culture. We wanted to get our kids (Madyson, 12, and Logan, nine), into a smaller school and give them the chance to grow up with that kind of lifestyle.
“It’s a beautiful area and a great place.”
Clark said he and his wife, Jennifer, enjoy outdoor recreation and sports, working with kids and have coached youth sports in the past.
“We really enjoy taking horseback trips into the back country,” he said. “That was a big draw to us as a family.”
Clark brings to the job plenty of experience working with the kind of data and research that has been a driving force in recent years behind efforts to improve and individualize instruction, but said that’s only part of the equation.
“I love working with people,” Clark said. “I want to take the time to build relationships and trust with people. I don’t want school to be just a safe place, but a happy one, too. As we develop changes and improvements, that’s important.”
Clark said he hopes to get the family moved in July, shortly after he finishes up the year at Medical Lake.
“The sooner, the better,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to getting there.”