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Three experienced administrators hired

WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors approved the hiring the following administrators during its May 16, 2017 school board meeting. 

Facilities and Operations Director 
Walla Walla Public Schools announces Mike Kay has been named Director of Facilities and Operations. He replaces current director Dan Johnson who is retiring in August. 

Kay brings vast experience in public education leadership to the district. In addition to having classroom experience, he has been an administrator at the secondary and central office levels. Kay has been employed by the Hermiston School District since 2004 and is currently the Executive Director of Operations. In his current role at Hermiston, he oversees facilities, transportation, career and technical education, food service, print shop, athletics and activities, and student home builders. Under his leadership, Hermiston was the first school district in Oregon to implement the full suite of the School Dude facility management system. Walla Walla Public Schools also uses School Dude. 

"Superintendent Smith worked with Mike Kay for nine years in Hermiston and reports he has seen first-hand his amazing skills in action and ability to foster a positive culture within the department," said Human Resource Director Liz Campeau. "Kay also assisted Superintendent Smith with the $70 million bond project as well as a $5 million athletic stadium build during their years together in Hermiston." 

Kay also has past administrative experience in the Hermiston School District as the Director of Athletics and Activities, Support Services and as an assistant principal. Previous to his employment in the Hermiston School District, Kay had nine years of administrative experience in the Medford School District specializing in Alternative Education and Athletics. He was named the Hermiston School District Administrator of the Year in 2009 and received the National Association of Agricultural Oregon Educators Outstanding Administrator Award in 2010. 

Kay holds an Administrative/Superintendent's license. He earned his Master's Degree in Education Policy, Foundations and Administration from Portland State University and has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Distributive Education from Oregon State University. 

"Walla Walla Public Schools is a very exciting place to work and I look forward to the opportunity," Kay said. "Education has been a great fit. I enjoy watching students grow and develop the skills needed to succeed. It's neat reconnecting with them 10 to 15 years later and learn our involvement had a tremendous impact in their lives." 

Director of Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach 
Walla Walla Public Schools named Mr. Victor Vergara the new Director of Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach.Vergara will report to his new assignment July 1

This new position represents one component of many to be implemented next school year as part of the Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors strategic planning efforts to increase Latino/a outreach and close the achievement gap, according to Superintendent Smith. 

"In addition to Mr. Vergara's role, many other ambitious steps are being taken to improve student engagement and learning outcomes," said Superintendent Smith. "A Latino community liaison will be hired and additional after school and summer school opportunities for students will be implemented. We will also offer additional middle school elective experiences beginning this fall and add competitive middle school soccer next school year." 

Vergara was named Oregon's 2012 Middle School Principal of the Year. He was also honored with the 2016 Distinguished Latino Educator of the Year award and is currently President of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators. He is a two-time recipient of Oregon's closing the achievement gap award. 

For the past three years, Vergara has served as high school principal for the Academy of International Studies, a Bilingual High School in Woodburn, Oregon and Head of Schools for the International Baccalaureate for all four High Schools in Woodburn. Previous to his high school principal position, he was Principal at Woodburn's Valor Middle School for six years, a school that offers Bilingual Education to its students in Spanish and/or Russian. 

"Significant accolades have been earned by Woodburn School District over the last 10 years which has achieved incredible success despite extremely challenging demographics, lauding one of the state's highest graduation rates for Latino and ESL students at near 90%," said Superintendent Smith. "The results experienced at both schools under Mr. Vergara's leadership are nothing short of exceptional." 

Vergara emigrated from Chile 18 years ago with no English skills. He worked extremely hard to master the English language and soon enrolled in college, according to Smith. 

"After graduating he began his educational career teaching bilingual education at the 4th and 5th grade levels for seven years before assuming the assistant principal position at Valor Middle School in 2005," Smith said. "He is currently defending his doctoral dissertation to be completed this summer on the topic of culturally responsive school leadership for Latino/a student success." 

Edison Elementary Principal 
Walla Walla Public Schools named Dr. Julie Perron the new principal of Edison Elementary School. Current Principal Dr. Jennifer Cowgill is returning to the classroom to help develop the district's new middle school Spanish World Language Program. Her last day as Edison Elementary Principal is June 30. Dr. Perron will report to her new assignment July 1

Dr. Perron was one of three finalists for the highly-competitive position. Perron is fluent in Spanish with strong skills in additional languages. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, a Master of Arts in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, and a PhD in Leadership Studies. Her dissertation was a case study on the efficacy of dual language and the important components of leadership that must be considered. 

She currently serves as a school principal of Whitaker Elementary, a Title One elementary school in California. She maintains an impressive sixteen-year track record as an elementary building principal, with extensive experience in dual language school leadership. Before assuming her first principal role in Cornelius Elementary, a dual-language school in Forest Grove, Oregon, she served as an English Language Development Specialist and elementary dual language teacher. In addition to her elementary education leadership experience, she has also served as an adjunct professor at various universities, including Eastern Washington, Whitworth, Gonzaga, and currently National University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Advanced Reading Methods, ELD Methodology, Second Language Acquisition, Leadership and Collaboration, and Leadership and Change among others. Dr. Perron has also consulted for various school districts in the areas of Sheltered English for Academics, Equity and Diversity and Social Justice, as well as English Language Development strategies, Common Core, and building school community. 

"We are absolutely delighted that we were able to recruit someone with such deep expertise and experience like Dr. Perron to our district," said Superintendent Smith. "No doubt she will serve as an integral asset to all of us in our transition to a wall-to-wall dual school and help elevate Edison to become Washington State's most sought-after dual language school!" 

WALLA WALLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS • 364 South Park St. • Walla Walla, WA 99362 • Phone: 509-527-3000 • Fax: 509.529.7713

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