New superintendent rolls up her sleeves

Dawn Tarzian helps with improvements at middle school

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New Washougal School District Superintendent Dawn Tarzian spent a recent afternoon with maintenance department members Bob Widner (pictured) and Al Seaman, making improvements to Jemtegaard Middle School.

Who said a superintendent always makes others do the dirty work? Not the case for Dawn Tarzian, who rolled up her sleeves and worked with the Washougal School District four-person maintenance crew recently.

She spent the day working with Washougal School District maintenance staff members Bob Widner and Al Seaman. They replaced ramps outside the portables at Jemtegaard Middle School. The team removed old non-skid material and replaced old boards for the ramp system, while grounds crew members Rod Heller and Jackie Walker cleaned up the landscaping.

“As an educator it is easier to feel comfortable in a classroom than behind the wheel of a school bus, on a mower, cleaning a restroom, or preparing a breakfast or lunch,” said Tarzian. “The truth is that many of our district employees play essential roles in the learning of our students though their jobs rarely focus on the classroom.”

Tarzian added that before applying for the superintendent job, she drove to Washougal to scout out the area, and was impressed by how well-kept the school grounds were.

“When I found out it was just a four person crew, I was amazed,” she said. “I knew I had to meet them.”

A few weeks after Tarzian started her new job, she did just that.

“They put me right to work,” she said. “I have learned that the best way to find out about what is going on in your district is to roll up your sleeves and go work side-by-side with your staff.”