District looks in-house, picks principal

Jill Burnes -
Jill Burnes
— image credit:

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

Jill Burnes will take over the helm at Enumclaw High School.

Burnes, who currently serves as an assistant principal at EHS, was named to replace outgoing principal David Dorn Friday.

District officials had narrowed the search to two candidates - Burnes and Kerry Mance, assistant principal at Squalicum High School, one of three high schools in the Bellingham School District.

“Jill Burnes is an outstanding educational leader with proven success in our district and will lead Enumclaw High School into the future as a flagship school in the state of Washington,” Superintendent Mike Nelson said.

Burnes came to the Enumclaw School District from Federal Way in 2000 to handle the Gates Grant. In 2004, when the district no longer needed a director for the Gates Grant, Burnes filled an assistant principal's position at Enumclaw High.

Burnes earned a bachelor of arts in education from Western Washington University and began teaching elementary school in Bellingham, Wash., in 1989. She moved on to teach in the Federal Way School District. In 1996, she became Federal Way's curriculum coordinating teacher and a year later project manager. In 1998, she was named the district's director of assessment.

She earned her master's degree from City University in curriculum and interactive instruction. She also holds Washington principal and superintendent certificates. Her principal certification also is from City University and her superintendent's credentials from Seattle Pacific University.

During her community forum interview, Burnes said, “I care about this place (Enumclaw High). I care about the students who attend here. I care about the families. I love working here.”

She said Enumclaw High is a strong school and she would like to help make it even stronger.

“I hope that we're able to build a really strong team here and make more improvements,” Burnes said.

Burnes described her management style as straight forward, collaborative, inclusive and team-oriented.

“I consider this an incredible honor and privilege to continue to serve the students and families in the communities of Black Diamond and Enumclaw,” she said.

The Enumclaw School Board is expected to hire Burnes at its April 21 regular meeting. She will begin her latest position July 1.

In other news, the school district's director of business and operations Tim Madden is retiring after 30 years in education. The district has posted his position with a closing date of April 18. Administrators hope to interview candidates by April 24.

The position is full-time with a salary between $99,000 and $108,000, plus benefits.

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