Foothills Elementary’s Cushman named Principal of the Year

Foothills Elementary School Principal Mark Cushman chats with White River School Board member Jean Lacy regarding his Principal of the Year award.

Quick on the heels of Foothills Elementary School earning its second straight recognition as a Washington State School of Distinction, Principal Mark Cushman has been named Pierce Region Elementary Principals Association Principal of the Year.

Chuck Eychaner from the Sumner School District and president of the association presented the award, along with a cordless drill as a gift, to Cushman during the White River School Board’s Dec. 14 meeting.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that Mark Cushman is the distinguished Principal for this Year,” Eychaner said. He added the award is a tribute to the deep and professional commitment Cushman has for his school and district.

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible team at both the building and district level,” Cushman said, looking around the room packed with Foothills staff as he thanked them.

“This award represents your work as well,” he said.

“I am a very fortunate and blessed man,” Cushman said. “I am surrounded by amazing people and when you let them do what they do best they do amazing things, and that’s what they do at Foothills.”

The Foothills staff in turn listed 10 things that make Cushman a great leader, including, to the chuckles of those who aligned with him – he’s a Husky.

More seriously, it was noted, Cushman respects the staff; has a sense of humor; knows the kids by name and their parents; has an open-door policy; is visible at the school, including helping in the kitchen; puts students first; honors the staff’s time; and treats the staff as professionals. Finally, it was noted, he whistles, so staff members know when he’s coming or can detect his mood.

Deputy Superintendent Janel Keating called Cushman a veteran, supportive member of the school district leadership team and thanked his family, which also packed into the room, for their role in his success as well.

“Everything Mark does for the White River School District, his family is part of and we want to thank them for that,” Keating said.