Brian Patrick welcomed kindergartners on the first day of school in 2011, his second year with the district. File photo by Marcy Stamper

Brian Patrick welcomed kindergartners on the first day of school in 2011, his second year with the district. File photo by Marcy Stamper

By Marcy Stamper

Methow Valley Elementary principal Brian Patrick announced his resignation last week, saying he and his wife, Lori, a teacher at Liberty Bell High School, want to be closer to family in the Puget Sound region.

“When we moved here four years ago, one son was in Texas and one in Cheney,” said Patrick. “We were empty nesters and didn’t know where we would end up, so we decided to go on this wonderful adventure in the Methow Valley.”

Since then both sons have relocated to the Seattle area, and Brian and Lori also have parents, siblings, nieces and nephews in Western Washington.

“We’ve been thinking about it for a while. We ate Easter dinner alone and said, ‘something’s missing from this, and we miss our kids.’ We’re a really close family—life is short,” said Patrick.

Patrick announced his decision to staff on Wednesday (April 30) and included an announcement in the May newsletter that was sent to families last week.

The principal job at Methow Valley Elementary was Patrick’s first administrative position, and he plans to look for another leadership job. He said he is attracted by the challenge of working for a larger school district, possibly at the middle-school level. Lori Patrick, who taught at the Independent Learning Center and is currently an English teacher at Liberty Bell, will look for a teaching job, said Brian.

“This was my first principal job, and it’s been incredibly challenging and wonderful,” said Patrick. “It’s been a great learning experience—and humbling and fun.”

Patrick pointed to the school’s focus on early literacy skills, reading and writing as a success during his tenure. He also praised the collaborative work at the school, the high level of trust among staff, and the significant involvement of parents and families.

The district will meet in the near future with staff, families and community members to identify the attributes they seek in the next elementary principal, said Methow Valley Superintendent Tom Venable.

Judging by job postings for principals by the Association of Washington School Principals, many other districts are seeking new leaders as well, although ideally a search would begin in January or February, said Venable.

The district may consider an interim principal, said Venable. There are several people on staff who hold administrative certification and others who would need to renew that certification, so the district has numerous options, he said.

“There are challenges unique to the Methow Valley. Our location is our strength and our challenge at the same time,” said Venable.

In other staff news, the district will post an opening for a full-time mental health counselor for the elementary school in the next week or so, and will also be replacing two retiring staff members, welding teacher Barry Stromberger and head cook Audrey Warden.