Chris Beals, who has held the No. 2 position in Enumclaw School District leadership, is headed for a new professional opportunity.
Beals, who served the district in a variety of roles over the course of 28 years, is officially leaving Aug. 13. He has accepted a position with the Washington Association of School Administrators.
At WASA, Beals will again team up with Mike Nelson, the Enumclaw native who spent 21 years with his hometown district. Nelson returned to Enumclaw in 1999 as assistant superintendent and was elevated to the superintendent post in January 2007. Nelson stepped down in 2020 to join WASA.
Beals came to the Enumclaw district after spending a decade as a classroom teacher in Ohio and in both the Kent and Auburn school districts.
He began his Enumclaw School District tenure when he was named principal at Black Diamond Elementary; at the time it was still a relatively small school, serving just 180 students. After six years, he was chosen to serve at the district level as the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, a role he filled for six more years. He then moved to Sunrise Elementary School where he spent nine years as principal. For the past seven years he has served as director of instructional technology and assessment, as well as most recently serving as deputy superintendent.
With Beals’ departure, Jill Burnes has agreed to serve as interim deputy superintendent. She will be wearing two hats, continuing in her role as the district’s director of teaching and learning. Among her previous posts were stints as assistant principal and principal at Enumclaw High.
This latest move adds to a list of notable changes in the Enumclaw School District. At the administration level, Ed Hatzelbeler left his post as director of finance and operation to take over as superintendent of the Orting School District. At the building level, there will be four new principals in place when school resumes after Labor Day. Those changes include the following:
• Jill Barrett left her post atop the Enumclaw Middle School staff, ending a four-year run, when she was tabbed to be the K-12 electives coordinator for the Auburn School District. The Enumclaw district moved quickly to fill her position, hiring Anthony (Tony) Clarke away from nearby Bonney Lake High School. A former teacher and coach, Clarke recently completed his sixth year as assistant principal at BLHS.
• at Enumclaw High School, Phil Engebretsen logged two years in the top office after serving EHS as a coach, teacher and vice principal. Now he’s moving into a newly-created post at the district administration level and is being replaced by Dr. Rod Merrell, a longtime educator who has filled a variety of roles during his career and comes to Enumclaw from the Marysville School District, where he most recently served in an administrative role as director of secondary education.
• at Sunrise Elementary School, Kyle Fletcher stepped away from the principal’s post to take over from Hatzenbeler as the district’s director of finance and operations. Taking the Sunrise reins is Lea Tiger-Tice, a 16-year veteran of the Enumclaw district who has served in a variety of roles.
• at Byron Kibler Elementary, Mimi Brown has departed for a job with the Everett School District. Taking over will be Travis Goodlett, plucked from the Auburn district where he most recently worked as an assistant principal at Chinook Elementary.