When the doors at Peninsula High School open again in September, a familiar face will be missing from the campus.
After 7 years as principal (13 years oat PHS), Tim Winter is leaving PHS to take over as superintendent of the Clarkston School District, which is located on the Washington side of the Snake River south of Spokane.
“It’s just across from Idaho,” Winter said.
He’ll be responsible for managing Clarkston’s seven public schools, with a total student population of about 2,200.
By comparison, PHS has approximately 1,400 students.
“It’s been an amazing experience being here at Peninsula,” Winter said. “One of the best things has been the people –– the students, the staff, the parents and the people in the community.
“It’s a great place to live and work and raise a family and there hasn’t been a single day when I’ve not looked forward to coming to work. And when you can spend your time with about 1,400 high school kids, that makes for a pretty exciting day,” he said.
He’ll miss the friends he’s made in Gig Harbor and on the Key Peninsula, he said. “But I think change is part of life. We’re always going to miss things, but we’ll come back and visit.”
His first day on the new job is July 1.
Being in Clarkston will be something of a homecoming for Winter and his wife. He taught there for four years in the late 1990s.
“We love the community and Eastern Washington,” he said. “And it’s an opportunity to stretch myself and to grow professionally.”
Winter hopes to be remembered “as someone who really cares about people and relations and that we’ve had a lot of success here,” he said.
“Our success is measured in test scores and also in the quality of student who leaves our building after four years. I think the perception of the community is that PHS is a place where kids want to come and they feel like a part of something bigger than just themselves,” Winter added.
PHS Assistant Principal Melissa McNeish called Winter a natural servant-leader.
“He is the most thoughtful, caring, passionate, intelligent, inspiring, fun and relational leader I have ever worked with. He values people and empowers them to be their best self, to ‘be awesome’ and be part of a team with a vision,” she said.
“He’s a ‘we’ person, not an ‘I’ person. We’ll miss him tremendously.”
According to Winter, the Peninsula School District is currently getting input from the PHS staff “to learn what they want the new principal to be like.”
When the district has reviewed all the staff input, a job search for Winter’s replacement will begin.
“Our work is not finished,” McNeish said, “and Tim’s influence will continue on as we strive to be the most awesome school in the country.”