Valley resident Crosby Carpenter takes over in July
Crosby Carpenter, principal of the Chelan School of Innovation and associate principal of Chelan High School, will start as principal of Liberty Bell High School (LBHS) on July 1.
Carpenter, who’s been commuting to Chelan from his home in the Methow Valley for the past four years, was selected last week by the district’s teacher/leader team, said Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable.
“I’m passionate about creating meaningful, personalized educational pathways for all students that expose and prepare them for the widest range of post-secondary educational, career and life opportunities possible,” Carpenter told the school district after his selection.
“There was a clear consensus and unanimous support from administrators and the teacher/leader team responsible for making the final decision,” said Venable.
“It was truly a reflective process,” with a focus on what we’re doing well as a school district and on upcoming challenges and opportunities — and the best person to lead us through those steps, said Venable.
Reference checks with superintendents, principals and counselors who’ve worked closely with Carpenter commended his work with students, said Venable. Carpenter empowers students to be their best selves and intervenes early to prevent problems from escalating, they said. He uses dignity, respect and relationships — instead of power — to provide guidance to students.
Visible around school and the campus, Carpenter holds students accountable through mutual respect and handles discipline without embarrassing a student, they said.
His colleagues in Chelan praised Carpenter’s communication skills and ability to connect with all stakeholders and students, said Venable.
Carpenter is comfortable addressing conflicts and having “difficult conversations” with students and staff. He establishes clear boundaries, they said.
In his interactions with staff, Carpenter builds trust and inspires teachers to be their best, said his colleagues.
“They made it very clear they are deeply saddened to lose him, but they’re excited for us,” said Venable.
Carpenter grew up in Snohomish before attending Western Washington University. After graduating with a degree in natural resource management, he joined Teach for America and taught physical and environmental science on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.
After that, Carpenter had a decade-long career as a building contractor in Seattle before obtaining a master’s degree in education and returning to teaching. He taught entrepreneurship, economics, marketing, sustainable design, architectural design and construction at Granite Falls High School, a small rural school in western Washington.
The Chelan School of Innovation is an alternative high school affiliated with Big Picture Learning, where education is based on each student’s interests and incorporates real-world experiences. The Independent Learning Center in the Methow Valley incorporates similar principles in its approach to education.
At the public forum during his interview last week, Carpenter described himself as curious, courageous, and empathetic at heart. “I’m very relationship-based,” he said. “Before you make big decisions, you must get to know people in the community and watch, learn and lead collaboratively,” he said.
As he related a story about putting chains on his car in the dark in a snowstorm on the way back to the Methow from Chelan, Carpenter told the public forum that he believes he has a good sense of humor.
“I value the opportunity to work collaboratively with an exceptional group of students, teachers, and community members to create a vibrant school culture based on empathy, civic engagement, critical thinking, student agency and reflection,” Carpenter told the school district after his appointment.
The interview team included some 25 staff, parents and community members. They also solicited feedback from the public about Carpenter and three other finalists.
Carpenter lives in the Methow with his wife, Andria (also a teacher in Chelan), and their dog, Oskar. His interests include mountain biking, skiing, traveling, drinking coffee and cooking.
LBHS principal Deborah DeKalb is retiring at the end of the school year.
Elementary school principal search
The school district is in the process of recruiting a new principal for Methow Valley Elementary, with principal Bob Winters retiring at the end of the school year. The district has already held meetings with staff, parents and community members to help identify the qualities and characteristics people would like to see in the next elementary principal. The district is accepting applications through Friday (Feb. 15).
The district followed a similar approach in the search for a high school principal. District leaders will evaluate that process to see if any adjustments should be made as they search for an elementary principal, said Venable.