West Seattle schools: New principal for K-5 STEM, Ben Ostrom, moving from Highland Park Elementary; HP’s new principal coming from Wedgwood

Thanks to everyone who shared the news of this – Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda has announced a new principal for K-5 STEM at Boren, Ben Ostrom, who’s moving from Highland Park Elementary:

I am writing today to let you know that your principal, Shannon McKinney, is taking a leave of absence, starting at the end of the school year. I know you join me in thanking her for all of her efforts to establish and build the STEM program. She has been an exceptional leader for a new school community.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Ben Ostrom as your new Principal, effective July 1, 2014.

Mr. Ostrom comes to K–5 STEM at Boren from Highland Park Elementary, where he was Principal for the past four years. He is committed to STEM learning and your future expansion to a K–8 school, and will be a great fit for the K-5 STEM at Boren community. He is passionate about learning, and about students applying STEM subjects to understand and affect the world around them. Mr. Ostrom believes that families are our most important learning partners.

Prior to Highland Park, Mr. Ostrom served as Principal at Orca K–8 for seven years. Previously, he spent three years as Principal at Loyal Heights Elementary and has extensive classroom experience after teaching in the district for six years.

Mr. Ostrom’s professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University and a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. He also completed the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington. He received a Golden Apple Award for Educational Excellence from KCTS-Washington Public Television in 1999 and an A+ Award from the Alliance for Education in 1998. In 1997 he received an EDS Leadership in Learning award and Washington Software Foundation Innovation in Teaching Award.

I know Ms. McKinney and Mr. Ostrom will work together this spring to ensure a smooth transition. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Ben Ostrom to K–5 .

Ostrom will be taking over K-5 STEM in its third year, one which brings a new challenge because Arbor Heights Elementary will be co-locating with it in the Boren building for the next two years while the new AHES is built. Meantime, we don’t have the official district announcement on this yet but our friends at Ravenna Blog report that Chris Cronas, who has been principal at Wedgwood Elementary in the north end, is moving to Highland Park Elementary.

ADDED 9:09 PM: The original report of Cronas’s appointment came via Twitter but now it’s also on the RB website, here.

11 Replies to "West Seattle schools: New principal for K-5 STEM, Ben Ostrom, moving from Highland Park Elementary; HP's new principal coming from Wedgwood"

  • Wsea April 11, 2014 (9:08 pm)

    It’s been a while from the rotating door at SPS but it always happens. I wish they can create an environment for “awesome” teachers and admin to stay. Best of luck newbie. I wish they can clean house in some other schools in the area.

  • beef April 11, 2014 (10:04 pm)

    seriously, why does SPS do this? Principals aren’t even there through one student’s entire tenure at the school – how can a school expect to grow without consistent leadership/direction? or maybe they don;t matter?

  • evergreen April 11, 2014 (11:26 pm)

    Ostrom sounds like a capable Principal and I’m sure will do a fine job, but I am disappointed that McKinney stayed only two years. What is fricken wrong with this district? What are the hidden issues that keep driving away Principals? So confused.

  • West Seattle Mom April 12, 2014 (9:21 am)

    Why was Dr. McKinney taking a leave of absence? Is she going somewhere else? What is going on?

  • HPMom April 12, 2014 (11:09 pm)

    Does anyone know what letter went home with Highland Park Elementary families?

  • abokchoy April 13, 2014 (7:34 am)

    There was only an email that was sent to Highland Park families on Friday.

  • beef April 13, 2014 (8:22 pm)

    I like how they announce it friday after school before spring break. :P

  • cheshire April 13, 2014 (9:22 pm)

    Probably no hidden issues except that being a principal is an incredibly exhausting job (albeit rewarding in some ways) with limited pay and having to deal with politics and parents, etc.

  • sam-c April 14, 2014 (11:11 am)

    they said she is taking a leave of absence. who knows what the reason may be. if they wanted everyone to know, they would share it wouldn’t they? maybe let her/ them have some privacy on the matter.
    (and I don’t have any kids at any of these schools so i have no dog in this fight- and off topic, is there a better expression that means the same thing? dog fighting is so gross)

  • John April 14, 2014 (2:25 pm)

    According to a 2012 research study from Stanford University’s Center for Educational Policy Analysis, “More than one out of every five principals leaves their school each year.” So, Seattle’s principal turn-over rate is probably consistent with national norms. The study goes on to note, “We use longitudinal data from one large urban school district to study the relationship between principal turnover and school outcomes. We find that principal turnover is, on average, detrimental to school performance…Leadership changes are particularly harmful for high poverty schools, low-achieving schools, and schools with many inexperienced teachers…The negative effect of leadership changes can be mitigated when vacancies are filled by individuals with prior experience leading other schools.”

  • evergreen April 16, 2014 (11:26 pm)

    Sure, but what job doesn’t have stress. And they are well compensated at over 100K annually, I believe….as for Principal turnover being the norm across districts, is that really true? SPS reassigns them every 1-2 years like a newly shuffled deck of cards.

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