The Washougal School District has a new superintendent.
The WSD Board of Directors unanimously agreed to hire Dr. Mary Templeton as the next superintendent of the district during a special meeting on April 27.
Templeton currently works as Spokane Public Schools’ human resources director for certified personnel, a role she has held for four years.
Over the past nearly three decades, Templeton has worked as a teacher for 15 years, and in administrative roles as dean of students and as an assistant principal.
“After spending time in the district this week, it was clear that there are great things happening here, and that the community, staff, school board and parents are committed to excellence for all of our students,” Templeton said in a press release. “I look forward to leading the Washougal School District with this vision for excellence into the future.”
Templeton will begin in her new role July 1.
She replaces outgoing Washougal Superintendent Dr. Michael Stromme, who announced his resignation earlier this school year and will rejoin the Vancouver Public Schools district as the associate superintendent for administrative services in July.
Templeton’s contract is not yet finalized, but Marian Young, WSD’s director of human resources said the new superintendent will likely earn a salary comparable to Stromme’s, which is currently set at $156,669 a year.
Templeton recently earned her doctorate degree from Washington State University and has held a superintendent credential since 2015.
“Dr. Templeton brings a solid educational and professional background to the job. She also has a positive attitude and high energy level that will be valuable to our community,” Washougal School Board President Cory Chase said. “Dr. Templeton is dedicated to providing the best educational experience possible to all Washougal students. We are excited to welcome her to our district and are looking forward to the work ahead.”
Templeton graduated from Aloha High School in Aloha, Oregon. She has Clark County ties, however, with family in La Center, and a grandfather who once worked for a Camas freight company. She said the position in Washougal drew her attention, because she would be returning to an area close to home.
Templeton said she intends to be an advocate for public education at the local and state levels in her new role as Washougal’s head of schools, and wants to make sure the district is connecting with elected officials at the city and state level to ensure that all students are reaching their potential.
“We all have potential and the interest is to make sure that there is not a gap between potential and where (students) are,” Templeton said. “So that they are leaving high school with soft skills (and) community building skills … to make sure they are moving toward the next steps in education and career.”
During her time in Spokane, Templeton said she worked at affluent as well as high-poverty schools.She plans to use her experiences to listen to parents and community members and, she hopes, build strong relationships.
“Ultimately, (it’s) about listening, valuing partnerships and collaborating with parents and building strong bonds between school and home that help students achieve,” Templeton said.
A former teacher, Templeton added that she is eager to support teachers, grow alongside them and help make sure the district and community are valuing their educators and providing the resources teachers need.
“When you start off as a brand-new teacher, you are optimistic about students and their futures and then you realize how true that is when you get in the classroom,” she said. “But first you have to build relationships.”