Enumclaw Middle School will have a new principal in the fall

After four years as principal at Enumclaw Middle School, Jill Barrett announces her departure

Jill Barrett

Jill Barrett

Add one more name to the list of new principals who will greet students and staff when Enumclaw schools open for business the Wednesday following Labor Day.

It was recently announced that Jill Barrett has her post atop the Enumclaw Middle School staff, ending a four-year run. Her next challenge will be the K-12 electives coordinator for the Auburn School District. The Enumclaw district has posted the vacancy statewide with a goal of filling the job “as soon as possible.”

The Enumclaw School District moved quickly to fill her position, hiring Anthony (Tony) Clarke away from nearby Bonney Lake High School.

In announcing the new hire, the district said the decision came “after a thorough but urgent search, vetting and interview process.”

Clarke is no stranger to those in Enumclaw administrative circles. He was one of the finalists not long ago during a search for a new principal at Enumclaw High.

Clarke has spent 23 years in the education profession, starting in California. In 2005 he moved to Bonney Lake High as a teacher and wrestling coach and eventually transitioned to building-level administration. He recently completed his sixth year as assistant principal at BLHS.

With Clarke’s hiring at Enumclaw Middle School, there will be four new principals leading the district’s eight school buildings in the fall. Here’s the rest of the leadership update:

• 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. He 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 as the Enumclaw School District’s director of finance and operations. He replaces Ed Hatzenbeler who formerly worked for the Orting district and was tabbed as that district’s new superintendent. Taking the reins at Sunrise Elementary 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.

For Barrett, the next step in her professional journey will be a homecoming of sorts. She was raised in Auburn until her family moved to Whidbey Island prior to her junior year of high school.

“Over the past 36 years, Auburn has had a magical pull on me,” Barrett wrote in a note announcing her departure from EMS. “I have left many times for various reasons, but have always returned. Auburn School District is where I have spent 15 of my 21 years in the profession of education.”

As part of her departure, Barrett offered high praise for her former colleagues.

“I have been on a learning trajectory these past four years at Enumclaw Middle School unlike any before,” she wrote. “Ferociously, I have been taking notes capturing the skills and talent of our staff in creating a truly amazing learning community; quality of instruction, love/care/support for our students, collaboration with colleagues, special services for our students, relationships with our community. At the end of this fourth year, I can say that I am a better educator and leader because of what I have learned from the staff at EMS.”

She also gave a farewell nod to the students who have roamed the EMS halls during her four years in the building. “Their self-advocacy, leadership, stick-with-it-ness, joy and angst of being a middle schooler, and their perseverance through this past year have captured me as no other student body has before,” she wrote.

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