Chimacum principal resigns: Whitney Meissner accepts position in La Conner School District

Allison Arthur aarthur@ptleader
Posted 2/14/17

Whitney Meissner plans to resign as principal of Chimacum High School once her employment status as superintendent of the La Conner School District is confirmed. The resignation would take effect …

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Chimacum principal resigns: Whitney Meissner accepts position in La Conner School District

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Whitney Meissner plans to resign as principal of Chimacum High School once her employment status as superintendent of the La Conner School District is confirmed. The resignation would take effect June 30.

Meissner, 46, said her family is from the Skagit Valley and she’s been talking about moving back to that area. She graduated from Sedro-Woolley High School.

“Over Christmas, they said, ‘Isn’t it kind of time for you to come home?’” she said. And about that same time, the position of superintendent came up in La Conner. The La Conner School Board announced its choice for superintendent on Feb. 10.

Meissner, who has been with the Chimacum School District for 14 of her 25 years in education, expects to formally resign at the end of February, to be effective when her contract expires June 30.

Meissner’s son, Jack, graduates from Chimacum High School this year, and her daughter, Molly, is planning to go to Belgium as a Rotary exchange student next year. Molly then would be graduating next year from La Conner High School, Meissner said.

La Conner’s school district has 631 students; Chimacum has 1,069 students.

Meissner reflected fondly on her years in Chimacum.

“We’ve worked hard to make a climate of ensuring the schools are safe for kids, and we’ve added advanced placement and strengthened the CT [computer technology] programs,” she said of some of the things she helped accomplish. “And we keep redesigning the foods and horticulture programs. It keeps improving.”

As for the two failed attempts to approve a bond last year, Meissner said, “The Chimacum community has always been supportive of schools. Bonds are hard to pass. I think the levy will pass,” she predicted.

Meissner said small towns and small schools like Chimacum are tight-knit communities, and the hardest thing about leaving Chimacum will be leaving the people.

“I know I’m going to miss the kids and the staff and the community. It’s been home for 14 years,” she said. “When we got here, my kids were 2 and 4 years old.”

“It’s been amazing,” she said of the reaction so far to her decision to move on and step up to a higher position.

“I’ve had a wonderful, positive reaction from La Conner, and my family and a lot of people in Chimacum are saying, ‘Happy for you, sad for us.’

“Sometimes change is really good, and I have the best of hopes of them filling the position with someone who loves kids and school,” she said.

As for her advice to the next principal, it was simply, “I think my hope for the next principal is that they come in and lead with their heart.”

It is likely that the job of principal for Chimacum will be posted before she technically submits her resignation, Meissner said.

COMMENTS FROM OTHERS

Superintendent Rick Thompson, who was in Olympia Monday at a legislative conference, said in an email, “I am very happy for Whitney. She has worked hard for many years in Chimacum serving a small district in many roles and has received an excellent career opportunity as Superintendent of LaConner.”

Meissner’s news was greeted on her Facebook page with “congratulations” from dozens of people.

“Chimacum school district should be very proud to have you for as long as they have. You will be deeply missed,” wrote Chris Kauziarich.

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