We're excited to announce new school principals and other new district leaders for the 2021-22 school year.
Our list will be updated. Please keep checking back.
- MEET CHINOOK'S NEW ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
- Meet Southgate's Next Principal
- Meet Desert Hills' Next Principal
- Meet Amistad's New Co-Principal
- Meet Our Next Special Services Director
- MEet Canyon View's Next Principal
Chinook Middle School’s new assistant principal is a Kennewick School District alum.
Jake Davis, who’s currently an administrator at Selah High School, graduated from Southridge High and did his student teaching in the district. He’s replacing Cathy Guajardo, who’s moving to Canyon View Elementary to become the principal.
“I am extremely excited to join the Chinook Middle School team,” Davis said. “I am looking forward to working with and collaborating with their amazing staff to support the successes of our students at Chinook.”
Davis has been Selah High’s assistant principal and director of athletics since 2018. He previously held that same position at Pasco High School from 2013 to 2018.
Before that, he worked as a science teacher and coach at Pasco High School and as a middle school teacher and coach in the West Grand School District in Kremmling, Colo.
Davis holds a bachelor’s degree in bio-kinesiology from Washington State University and master’s degrees in secondary education and educational administration from Grand Canyon University.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Jake to the Wolfpack,” said Chinook Principal Kevin Pierce. “He is a great addition to our team and I predict that staff, students and parents will be impressed with the leadership he will bring to Chinook.”
Southgate Elementary’s next principal is already part of the Dragon family.
Joe Jones, currently serving as the assistant principal, has been selected to take over for Dr. Bob Smart, who’s retiring.
“Over the past couple of years, the Southgate community has become my home,” Jones said, adding that he looks forward to partnering with the school’s staff, families and community to prepare for the upcoming school year and to continuing to build on Southgate’s success.
Jones has served as Southgate’s assistant principal since 2019.
Before that, he spent nearly a decade in the Othello School District as a teacher and administrator, including three years as assistant principal of Hiawatha Elementary and a year as the principal. He started his career teaching in the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas.
Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in history teaching from Brigham Young University, a master’s in educational administration from Lamar University and a school administration certificate from Whitworth University.
“We are excited to have Joe take over as principal at Southgate Elementary School,” said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “He has a firm understanding of Southgate students, staff and families after serving as the assistant principal for the past two years. We believe his strong leadership skills will fit in perfectly at Southgate.”
The Hawks will soon have a new leader.
Casey Gant has been chosen as the next principal of Desert Hills Middle School, replacing Principal Steve Jones, who’s retiring.
Gant is a familiar face in our district, as he’s been an assistant principal and athletic director at Kamiakin High School for the last nine years.
“I’m very excited about this new role. It’s a chance to continue the longstanding tradition of success at Desert Hills and build on that to continue to provide kids the best opportunities,” Gant said.
Gant has worked for 29 years in public education, including 22 years as an assistant principal and athletic director. He held that role at Mabton Junior/Senior High School from 1999-2001 and at Prosser High School from 2001-12 before making the move to Kamiakin.
Gant started his career as a teacher and coach in Mabton.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in secondary administration and a principal certification from Central Washington University.
“We are very fortunate to have an individual within our district who has the qualifications and experience as an administrator to lead Desert Hills,” said Jack Anderson, assistant superintendent of secondary education. “We believe – and Casey believes – that he is a good fit, and he’ll work tirelessly to serve the staff, students and parents of the Desert Hills community.”
An experienced school administrator has been named co-principal of Amistad Elementary.
Julio Blanco, who’s currently the assistant principal at Ridge View Elementary, will work alongside longtime Amistad Principal Andy Woehler.
Woehler plans to retire in about 1 ½ years, and the co-principal arrangement will help with a smooth transition for students, families and staff.
“I’m completely excited to begin this new journey with our Amistad Elementary family,” Blanco said. “Together, we will strive to make a difference in our students’ lives. This begins with our staff and flows to our students, parents and into our community. I’m ready for this amazing journey, together as one.”
Blanco has been assistant principal of Ridge View Elementary since 2018.
Before that, he worked as a behavior intervention specialist (dean of students), testing facilitator and school counselor in the Pasco School District, and as a probation counselor at the Juvenile Justice Center.
Blanco holds a master’s degree in school counseling from Heritage University and a principal certification from Gonzaga University.
“We’re excited to bring Julio on board at Amistad. He has a wide range of skills and experience that will be perfect for Amistad students, staff and families,” said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education.
Amistad has about 710 students and is the largest elementary school in the Kennewick School District.
An experienced autism and behavior specialist who’s spent the last 11 years working with Kennewick School District students will be our district’s next director of special services.
Lexie Buschbach starts July 1, taking over for Becca Anderson.
“I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen to lead our Special Services Department, and I look forward to meeting the needs of our differently-abled students alongside our amazing special education staff,” Buschbach said.
Buschbach holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction: applied behavior analysis from Arizona State University and a principal certification from Washington State University. She’s a board-certified behavior analyst and a non-violent crisis intervention instructor.
She’s worked with KSD students since 2010, and before that worked for the state Division of Developmental Disabilities and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“Lexie’s knowledge of Special Services programs, her ability to problem-solve and collaborate to address challenging learning situations, and her vision for the Special Services Department have made her highly respected within the department and beyond,” said Matt Scott, assistant superintendent of curriculum, assessment and professional development. “We are excited to have Lexie continue to provide expertise and leadership in her new role.”
Canyon View Elementary's next principal is a familiar face in the Kennewick School District.
Cathy Guajardo, who’s currently serving as an assistant principal at Chinook Middle School, has been selected to take over for Mark Stephens, who’s retiring at the end of the school year.
"I am thrilled to have been chosen to lead Canyon View's school community and to support our students, staff and families,” Guajardo said.
She’s been an assistant principal at Chinook Middle School since 2016.
Before that, she worked as a district instructional coach and taught at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School and Cascade Elementary. She joined KSD in 1997.
“We are excited to have Cathy Guajardo as the new principal at Canyon View Elementary,” said Rob Phillips, assistant superintendent of elementary education. “Her many years of successful experience as an elementary teacher, GLAD coach and building administrator make her a perfect fit for our elementary team.”
Guajardo has a master’s degree in professional development from Heritage University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. She’s a National Board Certified Teacher, Project GLAD consultant and trainer, and Google Certified Teacher. She holds a principal certification from Heritage University.