Stanton returns as Haller principal

The lead administrator role at one of Sequim’s two elementary schools has changed mid-school-year — and it’s a familiar staffer returning to the role.

Rebecca Stanton is principal Helen Haller Elementary School, a job she held from 2016-2021 before taking a professional development position with the Sequim School District.

“I’m excited to be back at Helen Haller Elementary working alongside great staff and caring families,” she said last week.

Sequim School board directors agreed at their Dec. 5 meeting to shift Kristi Queen, principal at Helen Haller since the 2021-22 school year, to principal on special assignment position (POSA) with the district, as well as Queen’s resignation to come at the end of the 2022-23 school year, effective June 30.

Sequim schools superintendent Regan Nickels in an email declined to comment in regard to the reason for the administrator change, and that it is a “personnel matter.”

Queen, in an email, said she was notified of the reassignment on Nov. 3.

“Helen Haller Elementary is an outstanding, loving and nurturing learning community and will continue to be so — the ‘Helen Haller Heart’ beats strong and true,” she wrote.

The POSA staff member, Nickels said, supports the district with “important initiatives such as instructional multi-tiered system supports, data disaggregation, district document development, etc.”

District officials sent notices to Helen Haller parents and families on Nov. 14 that there would be a “temporary leadership assignment,” with Stanton serving as substitute principal and Queen on leave.

On Dec. 2, the district announced Stanton would stay on permanently in the principal role.

“She is very excited to continue serving in this leadership capacity moving forward,” Nickels wrote in the Dec. 2 message to Haller families.

Stanton was named assistant principal at Helen Haller in 2015 and principal in 2016. She has 10 years of teaching experience, with six years at the fourth-grade level and her last four in physical education, kindergarten and, during the 2014-2015 school year, split between kindergarten and “teacher on special assignment.”

An educator since 1993, Queen joined the Sequim School District in 2018 as the assistant principal at Sequim High School. During her current three-year tenure at Sequim High School, Queen facilitated supervision and evaluation of teachers, managed facilities, led school improvement initiatives and supervised student services among other duties, district officials said in a 2021 press release.

Queen previously worked at Mukilteo School District and Shoreline School District.

School board action

At their Dec. 5 regular meeting, Sequim School Board directors voted to elect officers, unanimously re-electing Eric Pickens as president and Patrice Johnston as vice president while electing Larry Jeffryes as the board’s legislative representative and Michael Rocha its representative to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Board members also got a first look at a proposed policy to concerning “the presence of firearms and other dangerous weapons” on school property, featuring language and stricter-than-required language suggested from state school board leaders.

The policy proposes that “no district employee may bring any firearm or dangerous weapon onto any District property without prior authorization of the superintendent” and that no one granted temporary use of district property may “possess, or allow its guests to possess, firearms or dangerous weapons on district premises.”

Directors plan on reviewing the policy at future meetings for possible adoption.

“[This policy is] balancing people’s right with the safety of the kids and the staff,” Johnston said. “I think this policy does a good job trying to balance those.”

Strategic planning plans

Sequim School District leaders are planning for the future and looking for its closest shareholders to lend a voice.

District leaders have set a timeline for building a district-wide strategic plan, with as many as nine meetings between January and June of 2023 to develop a vision for Sequim schools.

“Strategic Planning is a focus on the future,” Sequim schools superintendent Regan Nickels noted in an email to district families in early December.

“It is the means by which the school district and the community contribute toward defining priorities, making decisions, and setting goals for our school system. In the end, a guiding document will be developed to articulate the goals, objectives, and desired measurable outcomes.”

Meetings are set for 6-7:30 p.m. on nine Thursdays — Jan. 12, Jan. 26, Feb. 9, March 2, March 16, April 13, May 11, May 25 and June 8 — at the Guy Cole Event Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.

Nickels will lead gatherings through an introduction to the planning process, followed by round table discussions to share perspectives and to brainstorm ideas.

RSVPs can be made by calling the school district office (360-582-3260) but are not required, Nickels said.