Five years after presiding over the move of Schmitz Park Elementary‘s staff and students into the newly built Genesee Hill Elementary, principal Gerrit Kischner is moving on. Seattle Public Schools has just announced that he’s being transferred to Thornton Creek Elementary in North Seattle after the school year ends, and assistant principal Liz Dunn will succeed him. Here’s the letter Kischner sent to the school community:
Dear Genesee Hill Families and Community,
I’m writing today to share some news that may come as a surprise to many of you. On July 1st, I will be transferring to be Principal of Thornton Creek Elementary. While I am very sad to be leaving the community that I have been privileged to serve for thirteen years – time for a full generation of students from Kindergarten to graduation — I am also thrilled to announce that Liz Dunn has been tapped to replace me as Principal of Genesee Hill.
This news came as a surprise to me, and I did not ask for this transfer, but I am ready to take on this substantial challenge at Thornton Creek, a school which has struggled with frequent leadership turnover since its long-time principal retired. I hope that I can help to build the same collaborative community spirit that has made my job such a joy here in West Seattle.
While the substantial changes we have all faced in the last year make the timing of this transition somewhat difficult for many of us, Genesee Hill is in a great position heading into this next chapter. After year-after-year growth and the construction of a new building, we have thrived as a community. Ms. Dunn’s deep knowledge of the families she has served for now twenty years will give her an opportunity to bring a new leadership lens to the things we return to and the new lessons we have learned throughout this pandemic. In many ways, it’s a perfect time to make this transition, and I will be dedicated in these remaining months to laying the groundwork to make that possible.
There are too many people to even start thanking individuals for everything you have done to make Genesee Hill a great place for kids over these years. I will make every effort to connect in the coming months.
With that, best wishes for a restorative and hope-filled Spring Break.
Kischner’s 13 years at Schmitz Park/Genesee Hill is one of the longest principal tenures in West Seattle.