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Mountain View Junior High principal announces resignation

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By Teresa Herriman, The Courier-Herald

After seven years as principal at Mountain View Junior High School, Dan Anderson has decided to move on. He announced his resignation last week to parents and staff, effective at the end of the school year.

"This is the longest position ever in my career," he said. Although he doesn't have an offer for the next job, he's confident a new challenge will present itself. It's not an unrealistic expectation for Anderson, who has taught in Australia, Guam and various schools throughout the Seattle area. Anderson was also the planning principal in charge of Mountain View when it was built and managed the technology budget for the district.

Anderson attended UW on a track and cross country scholarship and taught in Edmunds before a visit to the placement office at UW resulted in an unexpected opportunity to teach in Australia. Although he was a science teacher, he was asked to teach P.E. based on his track experience. After three years, he returned to the Northwest to teach math, science and P.E. at O'Dea, a private high school in Seattle.

Another visit to the UW placement office found him flying off to teach in Guam. "It was a great experience," he said. "Guam was like Hawaii in the '60s." Teaching 30 kids representing six different nationalities helped Anderson learn how to work with diversity. He spent three years at the high school there, teaching and coaching volleyball and basketball. "I had a great time coaching," he said. When it was time to return stateside, Anderson found another challenge - he was the seventh teacher in the same year for a class at Bethel High School in Spanaway. "And it was only December!" he said. "For the first couple of weeks, it was a tough job, but I had already taught so many different students, I was confident with my ability."

About the time he got tired of commuting from his home in Puyallup, his mentor, Dave Rich, encouraged him to take administration classes. Anderson completed his coursework at Western Washington University and applied for a one year, non-renewing contract to teach at Sumner High School. One day, he was called out of class by the principal to speak with district school superintendent, Donald Eismann. Eismann offered Anderson a position as assistant principal at Lakeridge Junior High, but Anderson was skeptical. He reluctantly agreed to the job as long as he could return to teaching after one year. "I didn't want to be an administrator," Anderson said. Eismann kept adding a year at a time until Anderson had been an administrator for five years. It was that experience, however, that led to another terrific opportunity - the chance to be planning principal for a new school. "That is an opportunity few people ever have," Anderson said. "It was a great experience."

Anderson expected his stint at Mountain View to last a few years, not seven. "Each year has been a joy and it has certainly kept me busy," he said. "But it's time to do something different now." Anderson is open to all options, but is hoping to find a place where he can make an impact. He will spend the next two weeks putting his resume together and check out his options. "I'm a very lucky person," he said. "I have fallen into great opportunities."

Anderson planned his departure to coincide with the middle school transition that will happen in 2005. "This is a good opportunity for someone to come in before the middle school switch," he said. Anderson cites exceptional parental involvement and a strong staff as positives for the next principal. The person who takes Anderson's job "will figure they'd died and gone to heaven," he said. "It's a wonderful place to be."

Teresa Herriman can be reached at therriman@courierherald.com

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