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New administrators appointed at Kent School District

The Kent School District Board of Directors approved the appointment of new administrators June 26.

"In filling these important school and district roles within the district's leadership team, I am confident that every one of our newest colleagues will promote our mission and serve our students, staff, and communities with distinction," said Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas.

Mary Anderson is now the assistant principal at iGrad Academy. She is the student achievement specialist for the district. Her degrees are from Western Washington University.

Alene Arakawa is now the assistant principal at Millennium Elementary School. She was formerly an administrative intern at Meridian Elementary School. Her degrees are from Willamette University and University of Washington.

LySander Collins is the new assistant principal at Mill Creek Middle School. Her previous position was as the educational assistant at the school. Her degrees are from Central Washington University, Heritage University, and Grand Canyon University.

Miles Erdly is the new principal at Horizon Elementary School. He was previously principal at Covington Elementary School. He holds degrees from the University of Washington and City University.

Jill Geyen is a new assistant principal at Kentridge High School. She had been working as the dean of students at River Ridge High School in the North Thurston School District. Her degrees are from the University of Washington and Heritage University.

Ron Hartley is now the principal at Meeker Middle School. He was formerly the assistant principal at Kent-Meridian High School. His degrees are from California State University, Long Beach.

Debra Hillary is now director of labor and employee relations for Human Resources. She was previously an HR manager for King County. Her degrees are from the University of Arizona.

Jay Hirst is the new assistant principal at Kentwood High School. He was previously the assistant director of Inclusive Education—Secondary. He has degrees from Central Washington University and Gonzaga University.

Emrie Hollander is the new assistant principal at Neely O'Brien Elementary School. She was the educational assistant at Pine Tree Elementary School. She holds degrees from the University of Washington.

Kaaren Kim is the new assistant principal at East Hill Elementary School. She was previously the educational assistant at East Hill. She holds degrees from Washington State University and Lesley University.

Stephanie Knipp is now the principal at Kent Mountain View Academy. She had been serving as the middle and high school principal at Seattle Christian Schools. She holds degrees from Washington State University and City University.

John Kniseley is the new principal at Kentwood High School. He was previously serving as principal of Hazen High School in Renton. His degrees are from the University of Southern California and City University.

Byron Lillie is now an assistant principal at Kentridge High School. He was previously the principal intern at Newport High School in the Bellevue School District. His degrees are from Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington.

April Margaritis is now the assistant principal at Daniel Elementary School. She was most recently the principal at S.T.E.A.M. Academy, a magnet school in Benton Harbor, Mich. Her degrees are from Andrews University and Western Michigan University (Extension).

Moriah Martin is a new director of Human Resources. She was formerly the assistant to the associate superintendent of HR & Development for Montgomery County Public Schools. Her degrees are from Southeastern University and Johns Hopkins University.

Clay McAllester is a new director of Human Resources. He was formerly the director of certificated personnel services with the Elk Grove Unified School District in California. He holds degrees from Clarion University and Nova Southeastern University.

Mike McCarthy is the new principal at Covington Elementary School. He was formerly the assistant principal at Lakota Middle School in Federal Way. He holds degrees from Northwest Nazarene University and University of Washington.

Ron Ness is the new assistant principal at Kent-Meridian High School. He was previously the assistant principal and athletic director at Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way. He holds degrees from University of Puget Sound.

Brixey Painter is now the assistant principal at Kentlake High School. She has been the dean of students and an administrative intern with Franklin Pierce High School. She holds degrees from Western Washington University and Pacific Lutheran University.

Lori Paxton is now the career and technical education (CTE) coordinator for the district. She was previously the CTE instructional coach. Her degrees are from Central Washington University and Keller Graduate School of Management.

Jeff Pelzel is the new director of Professional Development. He formerly served as principal of Meeker Middle School. His degrees are from Heritage College and Central Washington University.

Dani Pfeiffer is the new school improvement officer for the district. Her previous position was principal of Scenic Hill Elementary School. She holds degrees from Oklahoma State University and Western Washington University.

Travis Smith is now the principal at Crestwood Elementary School. He is the former curriculum supervisor in the Tumwater School District. His degrees are from Evergreen State College and Eastern Washington University.

Karen Stevens is the new coordinator for PK-6 literacy, social studies, and highly capable for Instructional Services. Previously she was an achievement analysis program specialist in Instructional Services and the Century 21 district project director with the Washington Alliance for Better Schools.

Dr. Laura VanDerPloeg is now the coordinator of secondary literacy and social studies for Instructional Services. She was recently a literacy and leadership consultant. She holds degrees from University of Michigan and Columbia University.

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