2022-23 Leadership Announcements
We're excited to announce new school principals and other new district leaders for the 2022-23 school year.
- Highlands Middle School Assistant Principal
- Chinook Middle School Assistant Principal
- Lincoln Elementary's Assistant Principal
- Washington Elementary's Assistant Principal
- Chinook Middle School Principal
- Vista Elementary Assistant Principal
- Director of Nutrition Services
- Sunset View Elementary Principal
- Fuerza Elementary Principal
- Southridge High School Interim Principal
- Director of Learning Supports and Programs
- Lincoln Elementary Principal
- Director of Professional Development and Assessment
- Kennewick High School Assistant Principal
- Director of Secondary Education
- Principal of Legacy, Endeavor and Phoenix High Schools and the Juvenile Justice Center
- Southridge High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director
- Park Middle School Assistant Principal
- Highlands Middle School Assistant Principal
- Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
- Assistant Director of Special Services
- Kamiakin High School Assistant Principals
- Desert Hills Middle School Assistant Principal
A Tri-Cities native who's led schools in Idaho, Nevada and Washington is returning home to be Highland Middle School's next assistant principal.
Bryan McKinney is a graduate of Hanford High School in Richland.
"I am very excited to welcome Bryan to our Highland’s administrative team. He brings a strong depth of experience, cares deeply about kids and staff, and will be a welcome addition to our team," said Principal Lori McCord.
McKinney started his career as an elementary teacher in Idaho Falls. He then went onto work as vice principal of the K-12 Carlin Combined Schools in Carlin, Nevada, as principal of East Minico Middle School in Rupert, Idaho, and principal of McDermoth Elementary in Aberdeen. He also served as the Highly Capable director for Aberdeen School District.
McKinney holds a bachelor's degree and elementary education endorsement from Washington State University and a master's degree and administration endorsement from Idaho State University.
An educator with experience in instructional coaching and supporting student growth will be the new assistant principal at Chinook Middle School.
Jessica Sanchez will replace Jake Davis who was named the school’s new principal.
“I am thrilled to welcome Jessica to the Wolfpack. Her positive and enthusiastic personality will fit in great with the established culture at Chinook,” stated Davis. “Jessica is bringing great knowledge as in instructional leader. Additionally, Jessica has a strong ability to positively connect with staff, students, and community. Bringing Jessica to Chinook, is a major win for the Wolf Pack family.”
Sanchez has nine years of educational experience and has served as an instructional coach and reading interventionist at Emerson Elementary in the Pasco School District. Prior to that, she was a 2nd grade teacher at the same school.
She holds a associate degree from Columbia Basin College, a bachelor’s in education from Heritage University and a master’s in educational leadership from Western Governors University.
Kimberlee Farias, who was most recently an administrative adjunct and math teacher at Naches Valley Middle School, has been selected as Lincoln Elementary’s new assistant principal.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Farias into our Lincoln family as she brings a strong belief in building trusting relationships,” stated Principal Wayne Thomasson. “She has a wealth of instructional strategies from her time in the classroom and mentoring teachers throughout her career. We are excited to see where she will take our staff and students in their learning and social well-being.”
Her professional experience includes 9 years of teaching middle school math at both Naches Valley and Washington middle schools in Yakima. She also completed her administrative internship and led continuous online learning at Naches Valley Middle School.
Farias holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and middle-level mathematics from Central Washington University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University.
Farias replaces Daniel Garza who resigned.
Elizabeth Stiles, an educator with more than 27 years of experience in Kennewick School District, has been selected as the next assistant principal at Washington Elementary.
“Liz’s experience in instructional coaching, building leadership and social-emotional learning, make her a great fit for our Washington Tiger Team,” stated Principal Kim Lembeck.
Prior to working as an instructional coach, Stiles was the library media specialist and an English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Southridge. She started in the district as a 7th grade ELA and social studies teacher at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School. Stiles also has extensive experience coaching cheer, dance and serving as the advisor for ASB and the leadership class at Southridge High School.
Stiles holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a principal certificate from Eastern Washington University, as well as a master’s in education from Heritage University. She also earned her National Board Certification in teaching.
Stiles replaces Jen Veach who resigned.
Chinook Middle School's new principal won't have to travel far to take on the role. Jake Davis is currently an assistant principal at the school.
He's been chosen to replace Kevin Pierce, who's moving to the district office to be the new director of learning programs and supports.
"Jake brings almost a decade of middle and high school leadership experience to the Chinook principal position," said Rhonda Pratt, the district's director of secondary education. "In the past year, he has become a valuable member of the Chinook community and has shown a commitment and passion for supporting all students."
Davis has been an assistant principal at Chinook since 2021. Before that, he was assistant principal and director of athletics at Selah High School from 2018 to 2021 and at Pasco High School from 2013 to 2018. He worked as a teacher and coach at Pasco High and West Grand Middle School in Kremmling, Colorado, before moving into school administration.
Davis holds a bachelor's degree in bio-kinesiology from Washington State University in Pullman and master's degrees in secondary education and educational administration from Grand Canyon University.
An experienced instructional leader with a passion for helping students succeed will be the next assistant principal of Vista Elementary.
Daren Fickel starts on July 1. He replaces Wayne Thomasson, who's stepping into the role of Lincoln Elementary principal.
"Daren’s student-centered focus and strong leadership skills will be a great addition to the Vista family," said Vista Principal Jennifer Behrends.
Fickel is currently the vice principal at Mabton Junior Senior High School, a position he's held since 2020. Before that, he was principal of Christian Worship Center Academy in Zillah for three years, and he spent 10 years teaching in Sunnyside, Maple Valley, Kent and Mercer Island.
Fickel holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Northwest University, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Seattle Pacific University and an administrator certification from Gonzaga University. He is also a National Board Certified Teacher.
Christine Benson will be the next director of nutrition services for the Kennewick School District. She'll step into the position in November when the department's current director, Sam Shick, retires.
Benson currently serves as assistant director.
"Christine has demonstrated excellent leadership in her career in Kennewick schools, helping to expand meal programs and support education in the community. Her experience collaborating with staff and administration to deliver nutritious meals is a tremendous asset," said Sodexo District Manager René Suruda.
Sodexo is our district's food service partner.
Benson has worked in Kennewick School District since 2014, including as catering supervisor at Tri-Tech Skills Center and then as nutrition services field supervisor and assistant director of nutrition services.
Before that, she worked in the private sector as a cook, catering manager, personal chef and catering business owner. She also taught elementary school for seven years.
Benson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a teaching certification from Gonzaga University, an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from Boise State University, and numerous food service certifications.
A school leader who focuses on communication, collaboration and building relational trust will be the next principal of Sunset View Elementary.
Megan Biever starts on July 1, replacing Heidi Guizar, who's resigning.
"Megan Biever brings a strong skill set to Sunset View Elementary. She has expertise and experience in many areas that we believe will be valuable for Sunset View and the Kennewick School District," said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education.
Biever is currently the associate principal of Robert Frost Elementary in the Lake Washington School District, a position she's held since 2020. Before that, she was an assistant principal and dean of students in the Franklin Pierce School District from 2017 to 2020 and she taught at Collins Elementary in that district from 2010 to 2017.
Biever holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of North Carolina, a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from Concordia University, and a master's degree in educational leadership and program administration and an administration certification from the University of Washington Tacoma.
A proven leader with a background in dual language education has been chosen as the next principal of Fuerza Elementary.
Dora Johns starts on July 1. She replaces Jaime Silva, who's resigning.
"We’re excited to have Dora Johns on board at Fuerza. She brings a whole career of experience in dual language and bilingual education," said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education.
Johns is currently an assistant principal of Grandview Middle School, a position she's held since 2018. Before that, she taught in the dual language program at Park Middle School, and she was a bilingual teacher at Whittier and Livingston elementary schools in the Pasco School District.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, a master's degree in teaching from Washington State University and an administrative certificate from Heritage University.
A familiar face is returning to Southridge High School to serve as the interim principal for the 2022-23 school year.
Ron Williamson starts on July 1, replacing Principal Molly Hamaker-Teals, who's resigning. The permanent position will be re-posted next school year.
Williamson has a long history with Southridge High. He was the school's first-ever principal, joining our district in 1994 as Southridge's planning principal ahead of the school's opening the following year.
Williamson stayed at Southridge until 2008 when he became our district's assistant superintendent of secondary education. He retired in 2020 after a 42-year career in education, and then he returned for the 2020-21 school year to oversee our district's new online programs.
A Kennewick School District administrator who strives to listen, build relational trust and offer support to colleagues, students and families, is stepping into the role of director of learning supports and programs.
Kevin Pierce starts on July 1 in the position that formerly was titled director of federal programs. He's taking over for Alyssa St. Hilaire, who will be the district's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
"Kevin is an innovative leader who has worked to develop supports and programs to provide students with improved learning outcomes throughout his career," said Matt Scott, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and professional development. "He will do a great job of supporting building staff and students as we work to close the achievement gap and utilize program funding to support student learning."
Pierce is currently the principal of Chinook Middle School, a position he's held since 2015. Before that, he was the principal of Park Middle School from 2008 to 2015 and assistant principal at Highlands Middle School from 2005 to 2008. Pierce joined the district in 1992, teaching at Desert Hills and Highlands middle schools before moving into school administration.
Pierce holds a bachelor's degree in middle level English with a minor in special education from Central Washington University and master's degrees in education and school administration from Heritage University.
A student-first leader who emphasizes collaboration with colleagues has been selected as the next principal of Lincoln Elementary.
Wayne Thomasson, who's currently the assistant principal at Vista Elementary, starts on July 1. He replaces Tony Langdon, who's resigning.
"Having taught at all grade levels K-5 and served as an assistant principal for the past five years, Wayne brings a broad range of experience to Lincoln Elementary,” said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education.
Thomasson has been the assistant principal at Vista since 2018. Before that, he taught for a year at Sunset View Elementary, for 12 years in Everett Public Schools and for three years in Seattle Public Schools. He also held leadership positions in his previous districts, including principal designee.
Thomasson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Idaho and a master's in education administration from Seattle University. He also holds a K-12 principal certification.
A collaborative leader who's focused on staff and student learning has been chosen as the next director of professional development and assessment for the Kennewick School District.
Tina Brewer, who's currently the district's math and science coordinator, starts on July 1. She replaces Lori Butler, who's retiring.
"As an experienced teacher and district-level curriculum specialist, Tina understands the professional development needs of all staff. She is also focused on the role of assessment in instructional design and evaluation, which will be valuable to the district. We are excited to have her move into this position," said Matt Scott, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and professional development.
Brewer joined the district in 1993, and she's worked as a teacher, a mentor through the Peer Assistance and Resources (PAR) program, and as math and science coordinator. She's also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
Brewer holds a Bachelor of Arts in K-8 education, K-12 reading and early childhood education from Central Washington University and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University. She's set to complete her educational leadership certification from Washington State University in July 2022.
An experienced school leader who strives to create strong partnerships with colleagues and the community and who works to ensure learning gains and post-secondary success for all students has been chosen as the next assistant principal of Kennewick High School.
Stacy Estes, who's currently an assistant principal at Walla Walla High Schools, starts on July 1. He replaces Chad Littrell, who's set to become the district's next assistant director of special services.
"Stacy is an experienced school leader who excels at building positive relationships with students, staff and parents," said Principal Ron King. "He's a great fit for Kennewick High and will immediately be able to contribute to our ongoing efforts to make our school an accepting and welcoming place for everyone."
Estes has been assistant principal of Walla Walla High School for 11 years. Before that, he spent nine years as assistant principal of McLoughlin Middle School in Pasco. He's also served as dean of students and intervention coordinator at Pasco High School, taught special education in the Bethel School District in Pierce County, and served as an adjunct education professor at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
Estes holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and secondary education from Eastern Washington University and master's degrees in professional development education and educational administration from Heritage University. He also holds a principal certification from Heritage.
A seasoned school leader who strives to collaboratively serve students, staff, families and the community as a whole has been chosen as Kennewick School District's new director of secondary education.
Rhonda Pratt, who's currently principal of Chief Joseph Middle School in Richland, starts on July 1. She replaces Jack Anderson, assistant superintendent of secondary education, who's retiring.
“We are excited to have Rhonda join our district. She is an experienced building leader who has been successful in building collaborative cultures and brings a strong background in supporting the implementation and improvement in instructional practices at the building level," said Matt Scott, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and professional development. "Rhonda is committed to engaging with secondary principals in the further development of their leadership capacity and supporting their work towards continuous improvement to provide students with outstanding educational opportunities.”
As director of secondary education, Pratt will work with district and building leaders to develop and implement systems to support instructional leadership, school improvement and success for all students.
Pratt has been principal of Chief Joseph Middle School since 2019.
Before that, she was principal of Tapteal Elementary in West Richland from 2008 to 2019 and assistant principal of Hanford High School in Richland from 2003-2008. She also worked as a high school teacher for eight years.
Pratt holds a Bachelor of Science degree and teaching endorsements from Washington State University, a master's degree in educational technology from City University and administrative credentials from Eastern Washington University.
A Kennewick School District alum is set to be the next principal of Legacy, Endeavor and Phoenix high schools and the Juvenile Justice Center.
C.D. Williams starts on July 1, replacing Paul Osborne, who's resigning.
"We are fortunate to find C.D. He is passionate about kids and excited to begin his journey at Legacy, Phoenix, Endeavor and the Juvenile Justice Center," said Jack Anderson, assistant superintendent of secondary education. "C.D. comes to us with a wide range of experiences and talents. He is eager to connect to families, students and staff. We are very honored to welcome C.D. to the Kennewick School District."
Williams is currently principal of Kiona-Benton City Intermediate School, a position he's held since 2017. Before that, he was assistant principal, athletic director and ASB advisor at Kiona-Benton City Middle School for three years, and he spent eight years as a middle school math teacher in the Pasco School District. He also previously served as acting administrator and taught English, history and math at Jubilee Christian Academy.
Williams, who graduated from Kamiakin High School, has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Eastern Washington University and a master's degree in teaching and educational leadership from Heritage University. He also holds an administrative certification from Heritage.
Southridge High School's next assistant principal and athletic director is an experienced administrator and coach who strives to engage with students, families, staff and the community as a whole.
Rick Wells starts on July 1, replacing Tim Wood, who's resigning.
"Rick brings a passion for athletics and activities that is contagious. His focus will be on promoting and building culture that connects students and families to Southridge. He is data driven, organized and excited to work in his dream job. We are proud to welcome him into the Southridge family,” said Principal Molly Hamaker-Teals.
Wells currently serves as an assistant principal at Hermiston High School, and he previously served as the school's dean of students.
Before moving into school leadership, he worked as a teacher for about a decade at Hermiston High and other schools in Oregon and Idaho. He also has extensive coaching experience, including serving as assistant head football coach at Hermiston High.
Wells holds a bachelor's degree in business management from Whitworth University and a master's degree in education from the University of Phoenix. He also holds an Oregon principal license.
An experienced and accomplished educator has been selected as Park Middle School's next assistant principal. Alexia Waggle starts on July 1, replacing Nathan Cummings, who's moving to a different school district.
"We look forward to having Alexia join Park’s administrative team. She is an experienced administrator whose skills and passion for kids will be an asset to our school," said Park Principal Shaun Espe-Amaya.
Waggle currently works as an assistant principal in the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District in Newman, CA. She's also held learning director and instructional coach positions in that school district, and she's worked as a teacher in districts in Oregon and California.
Waggle holds bachelor's degrees in education and in human development and family science from Oregon State University, as well as a Master of Education degree from the school.
A lead teacher and administrative intern at Highlands Middle School has been chosen as the school's next assistant principal.
Jordan Pies starts on July 1, replacing Steve Naccarato, who's retiring.
"I am excited for Jordan to join our leadership team. His passion for kids and his background will positively contribute to the culture and growth at HMS. We are very lucky to have him on board," said Principal Lori McCord.
Pies has worked at Highlands since 2018. In 2021, he served as an acting assistant principal at the school, and he was Ridge View Elementary's summer school principal that year. He's also worked as an adjunct professor at Heritage University since 2019.
Before joining the Highlands staff, Pies was a teacher, athletic director and coach at Liberty Christian School. He also served as a chaplain at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, and he's a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
Pies holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies K-8 degree from Western Governors University, a master's degree in Christian leadership from Liberty University and he will graduate in June with a master's degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University.
A skilled administrator with experience leading a Kennewick School District department has been chosen as the new assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
Alyssa St. Hilaire, who’s currently the director of federal programs, starts on July 1. She replaces Matt Scott, who’s set to become the assistant superintendent of K-12, starting July 1.
As assistant superintendent, St. Hilaire will lead the teaching and learning team to oversee curriculum, professional development, assessment, Career & Technical Education (CTE), and federal programs.
“Alyssa is well-prepared to take on this role,” said Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent. “Her knowledge and expertise, passion for serving students and families, and collaborative approach in supporting schools and staff will be beneficial in helping us to achieve our goals for all students.”
St. Hilaire said that, “as a lifelong community member, I look forward to serving the school district in this role and supporting the teaching and learning of our staff and students."
St. Hilaire has been director of federal programs since 2019.
In that role, she oversees and implements the district’s federal programs, including Title I, II, III and IV, and she supervises family engagement practices, the district’s Migrant and Bilingual programs, and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP.
Before that, St. Hilaire served as the district’s bilingual coordinator from 2014 to 2019, and she was principal of Highlands Middle School from 2011 to 2014.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree (Spanish major, mathematics minor) from Eastern Washington University, a master’s degree in Spanish language and literature from the University of Northern Iowa and administration credentials from Heritage University.
An experienced school leader has been chosen as Kennewick School District's next assistant director of special services.
Chad Littrell, who's currently an assistant principal at Kennewick High, starts on July 1. He replaces Dr. Jennifer Allen, who's leaving the district.
"Chad brings a wealth of administrative experience and a passion for students who are receiving special services. We're excited about all he'll bring to our team," said Lexie Buschbach, director of special services.
Littrell has been an assistant principal at Kennewick High since 2016. He also previously held assistant principal posts at Clover Park and Federal Way high schools and served as Federal Way High's interim principal.
Before becoming an administrator, Littrell was a school counselor. He also has a background in law enforcement, working as a Tacoma Police dispatcher and a law enforcement specialist in the U.S. Air Force.
Littrell holds a bachelor's degree in human development from Azusa Pacific University, a master's degree in counseling from University of Puget Sound and an administrator certification from University of Washington-Tacoma.
Two experienced educators are set to join Kamiakin High School's administration team as assistant principals. Read on to learn more about Katie Mauseth and Fatima Scotto-Rodriguez.
Katie Mauseth, who’s currently dean of students at Bryan High School in Omaha, Neb., will come on board July 1 as an assistant principal.
“Katie is a proven leader who brings a wealth of skill, experience and knowledge. We know that she’ll be a great asset to our Kamiakin Braves team,” Principal Chris Chelin said.
Mauseth has served as Bryan High's dean of students since 2021.
Before that, she was a curriculum specialist and academic data representative at Burke High School in Omaha for six years. She’s also worked as a classroom teacher at Burke and at Pasco High School, and she taught at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Mauseth holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University and master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction and in educational leadership from Concordia University and the University of Nebraska, respectively.
Mauseth grew up in the Tri-Cities and graduated from Pasco High.
Fatima Scotto-Rodriguez, who currently works as a K-12 EL certificated specialist and college professor, will come on board as an assistant principal at Kamiakin on July 1.
“Fatima is a skilled and dynamic leader who’ll be a strong advocate for students. We know she will make a great addition to our Kamiakin Braves team,” Principal Chelin said.
Scotto-Rodriguez has worked as a K-12 EL certificated specialist for Yelm Community Schools since 2020. Before that, she was a Spanish and AVID instructor at Yelm High School, where she also served as World Language Department chair and ASB advisor.
Scotto-Rodriguez also is currently a diversity in education professor at Centralia College, and she's worked as an ESL instructor and Spanish tutor at Saint Martin’s University.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Portland and a master’s degree in teaching with endorsements in Spanish and ELL from Saint Martin's University.
A new assistant principal will join Desert Hills Middle School this summer, and she's a familiar face in the Kennewick School District.
Rachel Groth, who's currently an assistant principal at Kamiakin High School, will start in her new role at Desert Hills on July 1.
She'll replace Assistant Principal Dan Meyer, who's retiring.
“We look forward to welcoming Rachel to Desert Hills,” said Principal Casey Gant. “She brings administrative experience and a skill set that will help our building continue to grow. Her passion for staff and students is evident in all she does, and we look forward to adding her to our team as we continue to build on the great culture and traditions at Desert Hills.”
Groth has been an assistant principal at Kamiakin for four years. Before that, she taught for seven years at Kennewick High School, Kiona-Benton City High School and Grandview Middle School.
Groth holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and secondary education from Western Washington University, a master’s degree in literacy and a reading endorsement from Washington State University and administrative credentials from Gonzaga University.
She said she’s excited to become a Desert Hills Hawk.
“Over the last four years at Kamiakin High School, I have enjoyed building relationships with the entire Kamiakin community. I look forward to joining the Desert Hills team and building new relationships with students and staff in the upcoming school year,” she said.