Seattle Public Schools principal changes officially announced

As reported here last Friday, Sanislo Elementary principal Debbie Nelsen is leaving after this school year, with Ernie Seevers from AS #1 Pinehurst coming in. The district has now sent the official announcement of principal changes districtwide (including Concord Elementary, the South Park school that’s part of the West Seattle South cluster) – read on:

Seattle Public Schools Principal Appointments for 2009-2010

Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D., and Chief Academic Officer Carla Santorno have announced principal appointments for the 2009-2010 school year that are a direct or indirect result of the capacity management process. On January 29, the School Board approved the final recommendations for capacity management, which is a key strategy in Seattle Public Schools’ Excellence for All five year plan to ensure excellent instruction in every classroom.

As an important first step in building a strong learning community at each school, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson and CAO Santorno are announcing a series of leadership changes. Seattle Public Schools is committed to a strong academic start for fall 2009 for every student at every school and in every program. Additional appointments will be announced in the coming months.

“With the capacity management plan approved, we want to begin implementation as soon as possible in order to be ready for next year,” said Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. “Making these decisions now strengthens the newly appointed principals’ ability to work in collaboration with the current principal, staff and families as plans are made for the 2009-2010 school year. We know that high quality educational leadership in our schools is a key strategy for academic success.”
The principal appointments will become effective July 1, 2009.

Chief Academic Officer Santorno said, “Announcing these appointments will allow families to make school choices with the knowledge of who will lead the buildings and programs most directly affected by the decisions on capacity management. We welcome new and returning families to join us for the next school year.”

Appointments include:
JANE ADDAMS K-8 (new program for 2009-10)

One element of the board-approved capacity management plan is to establish a new K-8 school at the Jane Addams building. This action is one of multiple steps taken to meet the demand for school capacity in Northeast Seattle. A program design team will work to develop details of the curriculum. The new program will include advanced learning, a K-8 world language emphasis, a strong arts program and integrated services for special education that serve as a model for the entire district. The program will be led by co-principals, Mr. Christopher Carter (middle school emphasis) and Ms. Debbie Nelsen (elementary school emphasis).

Christopher Carter has been appointed co-principal at the Jane Addams building, with an emphasis on the middle school grades. Mr. Carter served as the principal at the African American Academy for one year. He previously worked in Seattle Public Schools for several years, teaching at the elementary and middle school grades. Before his appointment to the African American Academy, Mr. Carter served as assistant principal at Pacific Middle School in the Highline School District, was a house administrator and teacher at Mercer Middle School in Seattle and also taught at Horace Mann Elementary School in Long Beach, California.

Mr. Carter has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington and holds a masters degree in teaching from City University and a principal’s certificate from Western Washington University.

Debbie Nelsen has been appointed as co-principal at the Jane Addams building, supervising the elementary grades of the school. As a 17-year veteran of Seattle Public Schools, Ms. Nelsen spent two years as principal at Sanislo Elementary, six years as principal at Sacajawea Elementary, two years as head teacher at John Hay Elementary and eight years teaching at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. She was also nominated for the distinguished principal award in 2007-2008 by Seattle Association of Elementary School Principals.

Ms. Nelsen received her Bachelor of Education in elementary education and a master’s degree in education in teaching/administration from Western Washington University.

Roy Merca has been appointed principal at Alternative School #1 @ Pinehurst. A dedicated educator with extensive experience, Mr. Merca has been with Seattle Public Schools since 1986 and principal at Summit K-12 for the past three years. Previously he worked as a teacher at Sharples Alternative High School, and later taught at Alki Elementary. Since 1988, Mr. Merca has been at Summit K-12 where he has been a teacher, program assistant, assistant principal and principal.

His professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Eastern Washington University, a Master of Education in School Administration and P-12 Principal Certification from
Western Washington University.


Greg Imel has been appointed principal at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. Mr. Imel is an award-winning administrator with Seattle Public Schools since 1980. Mr. Imel has been the principal of Dunlap Elementary School for six years and was principal at Whittier Elementary School for six years. During his tenure at Dunlap Elementary, Mr. Imel was involved in literacy/writing initiatives including Washington Reading Corps, the Global Reading Challenge, an annual Poetry Slam, as well as the Powerful Writers program.

His professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Albion College, a masters of education from the University of Washington and administrative credential from Western Washington University. Mr. Imel was awarded the John Stanford Outstanding Administrator Award in 2002.


Dr. Norma Zavala has been appointed as principal of Concord Elementary. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has worked in Seattle Public Schools as a principal, teacher and educator for 18 years. Dr. Zavala has served as principal at Bailey Gatzert Elementary for six years, was previously the program coordinator for Seattle Public Schools’ Migrant Education Program, was the head teacher at Bailey Gatzert and worked as a multi-age blended classroom teacher at Gatewood Elementary. She has also worked at Arbor Heights Elementary, and Denny and Madison Middle Schools.

Dr. Zavala’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physiological Psychology from the University of Washington, a masters degree and principal credentials from the University of Washington’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the College of Education at the University of Washington. Dr. Zavala also has her superintendent’s credential. She currently serves on the board of the Martin Luther King Foundation and is involved in the Latino Education Achievement Project.


Winifred Todd has been appointed principal at Dunlap Elementary School. Ms. Todd has been with Seattle Public Schools for eight years, having served as principal since 2003 at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, where she previously was the assistant principal. She was also assistant principal at COHO/NOMS (now Salmon Bay) in 2000-2001.

Prior to her time with Seattle Public Schools, Ms. Todd was an instructional facilitator, area coordinator, resource teacher and speech and language pathologist for the Special School District of St. Louis County. Her professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Marquette University and masters degree in Education Administration from the University of Missouri. She is also a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Sandra Scott has been appointed as principal of Hawthorne Elementary School. She has been an educator with Seattle Public Schools for 20 years, including her current position as principal of Concord Elementary School where she has served for the last seven years. During her tenure at Concord, Ms. Scott led the development of the Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program and International School Program model.

After beginning her career in Seattle Public Schools at Broadview Elementary, Ms. Scott taught for 10 years at Leschi Elementary School. She then served as a STAR Consulting teacher before accepting the leadership position at Concord Elementary School in 2002. Ms. Scott graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from City University and Principal Administration credentials from Antioch University.


Gregory King has been appointed principal at Lowell Elementary School. Mr. King is in his first year with Seattle Public Schools and is currently principal at T.T. Minor Elementary. In his work prior to joining Seattle Public Schools, Mr. King has supervised Clayton County and Holmes Elementary staff in Georgia, where the school served advanced learners, general education students and students needing special education services. As an assistant principal, he directly supervised advanced learning programs including curriculum development and professional development.

Mr. King’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Prairie View A&M University. He plans to continue his doctoral program in Educational Leadership at a Seattle university.


Ernie Seevers has been appointed principal at Sanislo Elementary School. An educator with over 25 years of experience, Mr. Seevers is currently in his fifth year as principal at AS #1. Having worked with Seattle Public Schools for fifteen years, he has also been an educator in the Lake Washington and Tacoma School Districts, teaching middle and high school math and science.

Mr. Seevers has a Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education with a concentration in math education from North Georgia State College and a master’s degree from Antioch University.


Julie Breidenbach has been appointed as principal at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. While principal at Lowell Elementary for five years and three years at View Ridge Elementary, Ms. Breidenbach worked extensively with advanced learners, general education students and students needing special education services. With seventeen years of teaching experience, she previously served as an educator for three years at the Hood Canal School on the Skokomish Indian Reservation, and overseas with schools under the Department of Defense.

Ms. Breidenbach’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Washington State University and a Masters of Education from the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction. She received her principal credential from Western Washington University.

1 Reply to "Seattle Public Schools principal changes officially announced"

  • Thomas February 9, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    And Whittier continues to suffer with the worst principal in the district. Why couldn’t we have Greg Imel back? Julie Breidenbach subbed at our school and was great!


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