The last day of school is bittersweet for students, staff, and families. After all, it is a time of celebration and change. This is especially true for the 2020-21 school year - a year marked by a number of successes amidst the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
The year also concludes with two notable goodbyes: The departures of HMS Principal Brian Lehner and HHS Principal Andy Schoonover. Both administrators will be leaving HSD at the end of this month to pursue new challenges in the field of education (see profiles below). Lehner will become the Co-Director of Field Experiences for the Department of Education at Washington State University-Vancouver and Schoonover will assume the role of Principal at Legacy High School in the Evergreen School District.
“Brian and Andy are special school leaders,” said HSD Superintendent Steve Marshall. “They love education and making a positive difference for students. Their leadership was really on full display this past year as we shifted to an online learning platform and, later, back to an in-person model.” He added, “We will miss having them in the HSD, but are excited for them and their new opportunities.”
The COVID pandemic presented a number of challenges to school districts and the HSD, along with a number of other county school districts, will continue to face COVID-related impacts next year. A drop in student enrollment has created a financial shortfall, necessitating a reduction in staff for the 2021-22 school year. While state and federal support provided some help, it is unfortunately not enough to restore staffing levels, including administrative staffing, to pre-COVID levels.
Interviews for both positions are expected to take place later this month with the hope of announcing the new principal hires in early July.
While there are difficulties associated with leadership changes and financial challenges, there are also new opportunities and possibilities. Community support for schools is always important, but it will become even more critical in the coming year at HMS and HHS as we find ways to fulfill our mission of preparing every student for lifelong success.
Join us in thanking Brian Lehner and Andy Schoonover for their service to the HSD:
Brian Lehner will conclude an 18-year career in the HSD that started in 2003 when he joined the district to help open Hockinson High School as the school's Business Teacher and Athletic Director. He later served as the HHS Associate Principal for six years before becoming its Principal in 2010.
In 2015, Lehner was named the Hockinson Middle School Principal and led the school as it transitioned from its former building to its new campus which opened in the fall of 2017.
Lehner's departure will not signal the end of his connection to the HSD, however. He will be the Co-Director of Field Experiences for the Department of Education at Washington State University-Vancouver (WSUV). In that role, Lehner will place and support student teachers at schools around Clark County - including Hockinson, his home for the past two decades. In fact, he anticipates that he will be back in the HSD this fall to supervise three WSUV student teachers.
While he will miss working with students and staff, Lehner is excited for this new professional opportunity. He is eager to use years as an evaluator and instructional leader to help grow the next generation of teachers.
Andy Schoonover became the Principal of Hockinson High School in 2018. Prior to coming to Hockinson Andy had spent 6 years as an administrator in the Battle Ground School District at Chief Umtuch and Pleasant Valley Middle Schools and Battle Ground and Prairie High Schools.
Schoonover departs Hockinson with gratitude. “I loved my time in Hockinson and am proud of what we accomplished as a school. I will always be proud to be a Hawk!” he said.
Schoonover will become the Principal of Legacy High School, which will be opening a new campus this fall. “The Legacy school building is amazing.” He added, “As I have at HHS, I look forward to supporting students in finding their unique gifts and pathway to success.” Legacy is an alternative school in the Evergreen School District.
Although he will no longer attend HHS athletic events and activities as frequently as he has over the past three years, he intends to continue to cheer on the Hawks - as well as his beloved WSU Cougs - in the future.