Washougal High names principal

Mark Castle replaces Sheree Gomez-Clark, who left for Camas School District

The Washougal School District has named Mark Castle as Washougal High School’s next principal, replacing Sheree Gomez-Clark, who accepted a job at the Camas School District in July.

The district also announced Tracey MacLachlan as its new director of teaching and learning, taking over for former assistant superintendent Renae McMurray, and Heather Kassel as Columbia River Gorge Elementary School’s interim principal, replacing MacLachlan.

“We are excited to welcome these successful leaders to new roles on our leadership team. They are student focused, innovative and committed to excellence,” Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton said. “We encourage professional growth for all staff, including the superintendent, and we are excited for the energy Mark, Tracey, and Heather bring to their new positions.”

Castle has served as an associate principal at Washougal High since 2017. He has “built strong relationships with students and staff, and has a great vision for the future of the school,” according to a news release.

“During his tenure, Mark was integral to the creation of the (school’s) ninth-grade academy and the on-track program,” Templeton said. “He played a key role in increasing the graduation rate, which has risen from 74% to nearly 90%.”

Before joining the Washougal School District, Castle served as a math teacher and administrator at Evergreen High School in Vancouver. He graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and received an administrative credential through Washington State University-Vancouver.

MacLachlan served as the principal of Columbia Gorge Elementary since the school opened in 2017 and previously worked as an elementary principal in Ridgefield and a teacher in the Camas School District.

MacLachlan has a “strong passion for literacy, understanding the critical role that literacy plays for students to access the curriculum in other subject areas, (and) worked at the university level teaching pre-service teachers for 11 years, where she cultivated a love and passion for education in people entering the teaching field,” according to the news release.

MacLachlan volunteers as part of the International Literacy Association, an organization that curates reviews of children’s literature and provides copies of donated materials to school libraries. She has an undergraduate degree in childhood development from San Jose State University (San Jose, California) and a graduate degree in cross-cultural teaching from National University.

“Her passion for supporting students and staff to achieve successful outcomes, ability to build strong relationships and vision for excellence will serve her well in this new role,” Templeton said.

Kassel brings more than 15 years experience as a teacher and instructional coach to her new position at Columbia Gorge Elementary. Previously, she supported instructional leadership and facilitated and coordinated professional development activities for teachers across the district in various roles, including principal of the district’s summer school program.

“Her leadership skills were clearly evident during her administrative internship under the supervision of Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School principal Brian Amundson,” Templeton said. “Heather’s experience as a principal for summer school, mentor for new teachers, instructional coach, and administrative intern have provided the skills needed to be successful.”

Kassel completed her undergraduate work in elementary education at City University and earned a masters degree in educational leadership and principal certification through Western Governors University.