GRANDVIEW - Students and staff at Grandview Middle School will have a new principal for the 2011-12 school year, but the gentleman stepping up is a familiar face for many at the district.
Paul Voorhees, a graduate of Eastern Washington University, recently accepted the position of lead principal at Grandview Middle School. Marking his return to the school district, he says "feels like home."
Voorhees was a high school teacher in Grandview for two years, teaching advanced placement geography, health, physical education and history, before leaving to work as an assistant principal in the Wahluke School District.
Voorhees says he originally began college thinking he would go into law school, but a chance to coach a middle school basketball team led him to change his major to education.
After graduation, he found positions at a variety of school districts, but moved to the Grandview area with his wife Laura, a native of Costa Rica, because of the Hispanic population and the small schools.
Voorhees says that when he left Grandview for his new position with the Wahluke School District he knew he'd gladly return if the right position became available.
That position did. Through conversations with Grandview School District Superintendent Kevin Chase, Voorhees became aware of a plan to have two fully functioning principals at the middle school. Voorhees is being termed the "lead" principal, but 2010-11 middle school principal Jack Dalton will remain as co-principal.
The two principals are still deciding what their day-to-day roles will encompass, but Voorhees says he'll focus a great deal on curriculum and instruction while Dalton will work more with the students.
Grandview Middle School Assistant Principal Carol Bardwell and Dean of Students Holly Camp will also remain at the school to support the two top administrators.
Voorhees says of his position, "My biggest role is to support the work that's already been started here. I believe great schools are made by great teachers, and then second to great teachers are great principals."
Voorhees says the school has made great strides in supporting teachers in improving their practices, setting goals and focusing on achievement, and he will be another person at the school focused on furthering their work.