West Seattle schools: Five elementary principals leave; four replacements announced

Five of West Seattle’s nine public elementary schools will have new principals this fall.

When we reported last week on the latest departure, at Lafayette Elementary, it was the third one we’d heard about after Alki and Roxhill; then a commenter informed us that Sanislo Elementary‘s principal had also left; and when following up with Seattle Public Schools communicators this week, we learned that West Seattle Elementary‘s principal has moved on too.

Four of the five departing principals already have been replaced. Here’s the rundown on the departures and, where applicable, replacements:

ALKI ELEMENTARY: Shannon Hobbs-Beckley has left after three years; we published her announcement in May, as she told the Alki community she was headed to Brazil to work at “an American school.” Rena Deese, previously head teacher at Leschi Elementary, is succeeding her.

LAFAYETTE ELEMENTARY: Robert Gallagher announced his departure last week, also after three years. His replacement has not yet been chosen.

ROXHILL ELEMENTARY: Sahnica Washington has left, also after three years. Tarra Patrick is succeeding her; she most recently served as a middle-school principal in Marysville.

SANISLO ELEMENTARY: Bruce Rhodes has left, also after three years, to become principal at the El Monte, Calif., school where he once worked as a teacher. His successor is Erika Ayer, most recently principal at Daniel Bagley Elementary.

WEST SEATTLE ELEMENTARY: After six years, Vicki Sacco has left to become a principal-development coach for the district. WSES assistant principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers has been promoted to succeed Sacco.

In addition to all this, as we learned in the Lafayette-departure announcement, the principals’ supervisor, Executive Director of Southwest Schools Israel Vela, has departed, too, for the Kent school district, after three years in the SPS role. No replacement announced yet.

13 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Five elementary principals leave; four replacements announced"

  • Michelle July 22, 2016 (5:05 pm)

    Three years. Intriguing.

  • Joe Dirt July 22, 2016 (5:23 pm)

    A lot of turnover in general at SPS. Wonder what’s going on at SPS?

  • Joe Dirt July 22, 2016 (5:24 pm)

    I mean what’s going on to prompt 5 to leave at the same time.

  • writingonthewall July 22, 2016 (5:44 pm)

    You need only read between the lines. The district is rife with dysfunction and three years is LONG for some positions. The district is a revolving door with very few people making it their lifetime employer.

    • Joe Dirt July 22, 2016 (7:44 pm)

      I was being sort of rhetorical. I’ve seen it first hand. Have kids in the sps schools.

  • Chris July 22, 2016 (6:04 pm)

     It must be a grueling job. You have to balance the interests of parents, the district, teachers, and  students.   After the strike last year it must be impossible 

  • fatkitty July 22, 2016 (6:46 pm)

    3 years?  3 years is the number that I heard from someone who is in Admin who said that the last 3 years of the teaching career is what they base the pension on.  So most people would want to stay in their highest paying position for THREE YEARS.  Then they are out.

  • W July 22, 2016 (8:29 pm)

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the new paperwork burden for enhanced teacher evaluations required by the state in the last year or two.  It may affect principles who have to find new staff when teachers leave,  and/or if the school doesn’t provide additional staff to handle the added administrative burden required for the reviews.

  • Lame July 22, 2016 (9:40 pm)

    Welcome to our kids world. My poor child has seen about 5 principals in 5 years. Thankfully it’s only elementary school. Not worth paying for private at this age. 

  • BrassyMomma July 22, 2016 (11:37 pm)

    Thank God Gallagher is going away. He was just awful towards a few of us single parents, specifically to gay-identified moms. Two of my friends are also non-custodial parents and he was just terrible to them as well – withheld records, wouldn’t treat them equally as parents, refused to make appointments with them, and always seemed to take the side of the “more traditional” appearing parent. I am thrilled to know he’s leaving. I just hope the next principal isn’t worse. 

  • prayforrain July 23, 2016 (12:08 am)

    I’ve had 3 kids at Lafayette over 10 years and we went through 7 principals, iirc.  

    Good principals were run out over bulls–t and bad ones who should have been fired were re-assigned to other schools.  Same with vice principals. 

    I love my neighborhood and want SPS to be top notch at every school but the administration is a mess and needs to be called out.  

  • Chico July 23, 2016 (7:47 am)

    As a teacher in West Seattle I am thrilled that Israel is out. That guy was so ineffective it is unbelievable. 

  • Ferrywalker July 24, 2016 (11:42 pm)

    Lafayette also lost its Assistant Principal, Dr. Ybarra. Anyone know what’s up with that? She was awesome. 

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