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Rogers, Mitchell to be named new school building heads

It is just a matter of getting the formalities out of the way. The Sunnyside School Board is expected to approve the naming of two new building principals at tonight's (Thursday) meeting.

Current Harrison Middle School Assistant Principal Doug Rogers has been tentatively named as the new planning principal for Sierra Vista Middle School. Rogers will work as a half-time planning principal during the construction of the new school and will also maintain his duties as a half-time assistant principal at Harrison Middle School. Rogers will then become the full-time principal at Sierra Vista when the school opens in the fall of 2006.

K.C. Mitchell will have some big shoes to fill at Outlook Elementary School as he will be taking over the building from current Principal Cathy Mears at the start of the 2006 school year. Mitchell is the current assistant principal at Outlook Elementary School. Mears will be retiring at the end of the 2005-06 school year after more than 20 years at the helm at Outlook.

"I am pretty excited," said Rogers. "I think it will be a good opportunity."

Rogers, 36, brings to his role at Sierra Vista nearly a decade of administrative experience. He has been assistant principal at Harrison Middle School for four years and prior to that was an assistant principal and principal in the East Valley School District for another four years. He has also taught in the Selah and Wapato school districts.

Rogers grew up in Naselle, Wa., graduating from a class of 22 students. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in education from Central Washington University in 1991. In 1996 and 1997, Rogers earned his Masters degree in education and administrative credentials from Heritage College.

Rogers said one of the reasons why he wanted the job at Sierra Vista was a chance to assume that leadership role while building on the vast success that has taken place at Harrison. The new middle school is scheduled to house sixth and seventh grade students the first year and then the eighth grade wing will be built the following year.

Next school year, Rogers will be focusing on making the transition for staff and students to the new middle school go as smoothly as possible.

"We have such an awesome staff," said Rogers.

Sierra Vista will be staffing many of the teachers and para-professionals already working at Harrison Middle School.

"I am going to be as visible as I can at Chief Kamiakin," said Rogers, citing the need to make his presence known to the students who will be entering his new school.

"Opening up a new building is going to be exciting," said Rogers.

Rogers said there are a lot of small things that go into a new school, such as choosing the school colors and the mascot, that will help define the building. He said he is looking forward to working on those issues.

"It is something simple like that, that makes that school," said Rogers.

Rogers said he also wants his school to be open to students, family and the community as much as possible.

"We are the home away from home for these students and it needs to be that as much as possible," he added.

Rogers is excited about the opportunity to head up the new middle school, which in many ways will lay out the future for education in Sunnyside school buildings.

"I am pretty fortunate to be given a shot," said Rogers. "I hope I do the community well."

Mitchell, 31, grew up in a small rural agricultural community in Kansas until he was 16. His family then moved to Yakima. He has been the assistant principal at Outlook Elementary School for three years. Prior to that, Mitchell taught at Cottonwood Elementary School in the West Valley School District for five years. He has an Associate of Arts degree from Yakima Valley Community College with a specialty in early childhood education. He then received his Bachelor's from Central Washington University, specializing in elementary and special education. While working in West Valley, Mitchell earned his kindergarten through eighth grade administrative credentials from Heritage College.

Mitchell said he wanted to take over the principal duties at Outlook because the staff is doing wonderful things with students.

"Outlook is going places," said Mitchell. "I am really excited to be here."

During the 2005-06 school year, Mitchell will be working with Mears on learning even more of the ropes that goes along with the principal role.

"It will be a year of learning," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he has enjoyed his time at Outlook very much and wants to continue building on the things Mears, he and the staff have put in place.

"The staff that is at Outlook cares so much about the students," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said Mears has taught him a lot about what it takes to be a good administrator.

"I have really learned from her about caring and trusting the people you work with," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said he also learned the importance of how the students come first in education.

Mitchell said one of his goals is to continue to build on the success Outlook has had. He wants to make sure the mission of the staff is clearly defined while increasing their involvement with building activities. Mitchell said he wants to make sure to use the school improvement plan at Outlook, which a lot of hard work has gone into, he added.

Mitchell said he enjoys working with elementary students because they are so receptive to learning.

Mitchell added he wants Outlook to be a place the students, staff and community can come to and enjoy.

"(I want) to have it be a powerful place of learning," said Mitchell.

The new opportunity to take over as head of a school is exciting for Mitchell.

"It really is what I was hoping for," said Mitchell. "It is absolutely exciting."

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