Another West Seattle principal change: Gatewood Elementary

Another West Seattle school is changing principals. Just forwarded by a parent at Gatewood Elementary:

Today I’m announcing a leadership change at Gatewood Elementary that is effective for this coming school year.

After serving as your principal for eight years, Ms. Rhonda Claytor has been appointed principal of Leschi Elementary.

One of the things that the Leschi community is excited about is that Ms. Claytor works collaboratively with staff, families, and community members. Thank you for working with her to create a great learning community at Gatewood.

Ms. Carmela Dellino, Executive Director of K-12 schools for West Seattle, will lead the process to identify a new principal for Gatewood. We will move quickly to form a hiring committee and will keep you informed of the process. We are committed to finding a strong principal who is a great fit for your community, and who will build on your many successes.

Please join me in thanking Ms. Claytor for her years at Gatewood Elementary.


José Banda
Seattle Public Schools

Gatewood is the fifth public school in West Seattle with a principal change for next year, after Madison Middle School (here’s our story from last month), Sanislo Elementary (here’s our story from April), Lafayette Elementary (here’s our story from April), and Chief Sealth International High School (here’s our story from last month).

2:43 PM UPDATE: Since we published this, a sixth change has been announced (Alki Elementary).

PHOTO CREDIT: Inset photo of Rhonda Claytor is by Gail Ann Photography.

12 Replies to "Another West Seattle principal change: Gatewood Elementary"

  • sb July 3, 2013 (12:41 pm)

    Rhonda has been the driving force of Gatewood’s achievements the past 8 years. She hired and led amazing teachers, crafted a budget to derive value from each dollar, inspired the students, and engaged the community to achieve greatness. Our family thanks her.

  • Paul July 3, 2013 (1:02 pm)

    Rhonda has created a strong and healthy culture for students, teachers, and families at Gatewood. Bummed to see her go but I know Gatewood Elem will continue to be a great place for our kids. Good luck Rhonda with your future role at Leschi.

  • Observer July 3, 2013 (1:09 pm)

    sb- Agreed. Best of luck to you Rhonda.
    What the hell is the district doing with all this shuffling? No one is around the buildings at this time of year to vet a candidate. So the boobs downtown will step up and put one of their cronies in charge. This doesn’t look good for the quality of leadership in our district.
    I doubt Carmela has had any say in this decision as she is one of the most competent administrators around in spite of her superiors.

  • calmdownsea July 3, 2013 (1:23 pm)

    We could only hope that Schmitz Park would get a new principal- then we wouldn’t be losing all of our GREAT teachers there.

  • WS mom July 3, 2013 (2:00 pm)

    Carmela was integral to our successful Lafayette principal search, and I can only imagine she will ensure the same care is taken with Gatewood. It’s a bummer that Rhonda is leaving, but people should feel confident that with Carmela behind the wheel another great principal will be found. Honestly, there isn’t a better duo then Shauna Heath and Carmela when it comes to finding good leaders for our schools.

  • Sailor July 3, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    WS mom- There are many who would disagree with you.

  • Que July 3, 2013 (8:54 pm)

    Rhonda’s leadership at Gatewood has been remarkable. Her steadfast presence and ability to nurture a real community of learners has made for an environment where the teachers, staff, students, and parents all have felt supported and valued. My participation in the school both as a parent and as a community volunteer has been nothing shy of transformative for me, and it has been my honor to work with her. Leschi is incredibly lucky to have Rhonda at the helm. She is dedicated, principled and a joy to work with. Thank you, Rhonda, for all that you have given us at Gatewood, and best of luck at Leschi.

  • Jaime July 3, 2013 (9:26 pm)

    Carmela did a great job hiring shauna heath – refresh my memory how long did she stay at Lafayette?

  • A July 4, 2013 (9:51 pm)

    Why is it my comments don’t appear when they are negative??
    Rhonda was horrible and I am more than happy to see her go. She’s the main reason we hate this school. She checked out awhile ago. Good riddance Rhonda and good luck Leschi. Oh, and here’s a good one – this was written by Rhonda on the Gatewood website: “Please welcome the new leadership, and know that I am only an email or phone call away if you need anything.” She didn’t answer emails when she was at Gatewood. Is she saying she will now that she isn’t there?? Come on. Give me a break. It’s time for you to go.

  • brandon July 4, 2013 (11:22 pm)

    Calmdown, I would hardly call the principal at SP a problem. More likely, over zealous parents. Gerrit is a great leader weeding out poor staff.

  • JS July 5, 2013 (7:28 am)

    Carmela did not hire Shauna Heath. That was the previous Executive Director, Aurora Lora.
    Comment by JS.

  • ILoveWestSeattle July 15, 2013 (7:24 pm)

    -I’ve copied and pasted the same message on the principal change for Alki
    Every school in West Seattle with a new principal change EXCEPT for Madison has been given a voice in the process. Why the Madison staff, families and communities no receiving the same respect.

    A large majority of teachers signed a petition and sent it to the SPS board and Marty McLaren and no response has been issued. The PTSA has also written a letter inquiring about the lack of input for our 2nd consecutive ‘interim’ principal and not response has been issued that I have heard.

    Now, lets talk the interim process and how there was ZERO process for the last interim principal and very serious concerns were to SPS re: his performance and nothing was taken into consideration. When the staff finally got a sit down the SW regional director at the time they were informed that the permanent placement had already be decided with out ANY feedback from staff or families. Now, this upcoming school year Madison has a new interim principal who has been co-principal at a triage highschool for students who have been suspended or expelled and require Behavior Modification education. The interim has only a 1-2 years of adminstration experience in a large comprehensive secondary school and now Carmella Delino has a new job.

    Brass tax: as a member of the Madison community with over 9years personally invested in the school I want to know:
    1. How will the interim process be different from last time?
    2. What is SPS plan for reviewing performance?
    3. With 5 new principals and a new regional directer what plan does SPS have for supporting Madison since we are the ONLY school that has not had a voice in this principal placement?

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