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Administrative changes on horizon in Sunnyside schools

Musical chairs...chances are that's what several administrators in the Sunnyside schools will be playing come this fall.

Pending Sunnyside School Board approval later this month, several administrators will be taking on roles in 2011-12 that are different from the ones they had this past school year.

The numerous changes stem from the departure of administrator Eric Sylling, who's been hired as a principal at one of Spokane's high schools. Heidi Hellner-Gomez has been selected to replace Sylling as the new Sunnyside School District Summit/MERIT director. She's worked the past couple of years as principal at the all-kindergarten Sun Valley Elementary School.

According to Sunnyside Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole, half of Hellner-Gomez's time will be spent on site at Sunnyside High School. The remaining part of her work schedule will be spent at the school district's administrative offices.

Harrison Middle School Principal Janie Hernandez is slated to move into the principal's office at Sun Valley with the departure of Hellner-Gomez. Ironically, Hernandez's teaching credentials are in elementary education.

The musical chairs will continue with Outlook Elementary School Principal Robert Bowman filling the void left by Hernandez at Harrison Middle School. Like Hernandez, Bowman may be better suited to his new job at HMS, considering his administrative credentials are centered on middle school education.

The one vacancy that remains, obviously, is the principal's seat that Bowman will no longer occupy at Outlook Elementary School. Cole said approximately five "in-house" administrators have already expressed an interest in that job, and that interviews will be conducted within the next few weeks.

The switching of jobs by the principals already on staff, Cole reiterated, is contingent upon the school board's approval, expected at the directors' regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, June 30.

Assuming the musical chairs plan gets a thumbs-up from board members, Cole said local school district patrons shouldn't expect a drop-off in performance levels, nor any major changes at any of the affected schools.

The principals in question, Cole said, "...are all high quality administrators who we're confident will keep it going forward."

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