Washougal names new high school head

Associate principal Sheree Gomez-Clark set to replace outgoing principal Aaron Hansen on July 1

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The Washougal School District has selected a new Washougal High School principal to replace outgoing principal Aaron Hansen, who was recently promoted to serve as an associate superintendent for the district.

Sheree Gomez-Clark, the high school’s current associate principal, will become principal at Washougal High on July 1.

Gomez-Clark, who has served as associate principal since 2015, said she is a believer in servant leadership, a philosophy in which the main goal of a leader is to serve. Servant leaders share power and prioritize the needs of their employees.

“I never ask somebody to do something that I’m not willing to do,” said Gomez-Clark. “I’m in the trenches, and I have to model what I expect from (my staff members). There will be a time and place for (me) to make decisions, but we’re in it together to move forward with integrity and rigor. I won’t sway from those principals.”

Gomez-Clark has served as an associate principal at WHS since 2015.

“Aaron Hansen gave me a lot of chances to build structures and systems within the school, and because of that support, I was allowed to grow and learn from my mistakes and build what we have now,” Gomez-Clark said. “My current role has prepared me in a positive way for what comes next.”

Before coming to Washougal, Gomez-Clark completed an administrative internship at Jason Lee Middle School in the Vancouver School District. She also worked at Skyview High School in Vancouver from 2004 to 2013, first as a paraeducator and then as a special education teacher.

Her experience as the Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) district director and member of the district’s multi-tier system of supports team stood out to the interview panel, according to Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton.

“Sheree brings an incredible passion for supporting all students and helping them reach their potential,” Templeton stated in a news release sent to media May 23. “Sheree lives in the community and is invested in seeing Washougal High School rise to be a top performer.”

Gomez-Clark has a graduate certificate in restorative practice, participates in Leadership Clark County’s leadership development program and is a trainer for the International Institute for Restorative Practice, a graduate school based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which, according to its website, focuses on “the study of restoring relationships, social discipline, emotional well-being and civic participation through participatory learning and decision making.”

Gomez-Clark also is working to obtain a doctoral degree in educational leadership from City University.

“She also brings experience in special education, family engagement, and maintaining current data for student growth, goal setting and achievement to her new role,” Templeton said, adding that she believes Gomez-Clark’s relationships with Washougal High staff, students and families will help the new principal “continue the great work being done” at the high school.

“Sheree is an excellent communicator,” Hansen said. “She understands how to identify a need, issue and/or complete situation, develop a plan, implement that plan and track effectiveness. I am amazed by her energy and desire to learn all she can, and it is infectious. She is highly collaborative and a tremendous teacher. She delivers outstanding professional development.”

Gomez-Clark said she would like to see Washougal High reach a graduation rate of at least 90 percent in the next two school years, with least 80 percent of students graduating with a plan for secondary education. According to the Washington State Report Card, the four-year graduation rate at Washougal High in 2017 was 83.5 percent.

“We’ve already done a lot of the transformational change, and we’re past the implementation stage of that. Now we’re refining the practices,” she said. “I’ve spent the last four years working with the leadership team and teachers to cultivate a positive culture and implement changes to make the best possible environment for students. I want to continue that momentum.”