By JAMES EIK
The front office at Medical Lake High School is changing somewhat for the 2012-13 school year, specifically with the assistant principal position.
Chris Spring, the school's current athletics director will share assistant principal duties with principal John McSmith, following the departure of Darlene Starr, who took the principal's position at Michael Anderson Elementary. Spring's official title is now assistant principal/athletic director at the high school.
Starr's duties, which included discipline, safety and security at the high school will be split between McSmith and Spring. The assistant principal also coordinates fire and safety drills, and helps with observing and evaluating teachers.
“Those things will be shared between the two of us,” McSmith said. “It's highly doable and it'll take planning and thinking outside the box. But, we'll continue to provide the service this high school has always given.”
In addition to the shared duties at the school's administration level, the high school is operating with one less counselor this year. McSmith will help balance the gap, and said the front office has worked hard to ensure a strong start to the regular school year, which begins Sept. 5.
“We'll have to work smarter,” he said.
One of the things that may change, McSmith said, could be timeliness of communication due to the increased workloads. Despite the challenge, he said the front office will still work to return phone calls on the same day.
The reductions in staffing meant some extra work over the summer, but the high school will return with the same programs and accessibility from years past.
“We went from five people doing the same job down to three,” he said. “But we've planned all summer, we've got things lined out.”
McSmith said the school is hoping to hire a game manager to help fill some athletics duties. Among those include setting up games and ensuring the preliminary items, like making sure gates are open, are completed.
Spring is entering his seventh year as the high school's athletic director.
“Hiring him was probably the smartest thing I've ever done,” McSmith said, who described Spring as gifted at organization, and being in tune with the Medical Lake community.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.