Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cascade School District navigates leadership changes at High School and Middle School

James Swanson, current principal at Icicle River Middle School (IRMS), has been named principal at Cascade High School (CHS) beginning the 2024-25 school year. Michael Miller, current IRMS assistant principal, will take the helm at IRMS. Rudy Joya will leave CHS for the Eastmont School District at the end of this year.
James Swanson, current principal at Icicle River Middle School (IRMS), has been named principal at Cascade High School (CHS) beginning the 2024-25 school year. Michael Miller, current IRMS assistant principal, will take the helm at IRMS. Rudy Joya will leave CHS for the Eastmont School District at the end of this year.
COURTESY OF CASCADE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Posted

LEAVENWORTH – Cascade School District (CSD) is undergoing significant administrative shifts as it navigates both leadership adjustments and budgetary challenges. Earlier this month, Rudy Joya, the current principal of Cascade High School (CHS), announced his departure at the end of this school year. Current Icicle River Middle School (IRMS) principal, James Swanson, will take the helm at CHS beginning with the 2024-25 school year. Following this change, Michael Miller, the current IRMS assistant principal, will move to the principal’s office.

Swanson and Miller were appointed last week by Cascade School District Superintendent Tracey Edou, who asserted that the internal transfers were chosen to both mitigate uncertainty in the district during budgetary challenges and protect existing staff positions. “We’re trying to protect people’s jobs as much as possible," Edou affirmed, emphasizing that while “these decisions were separate from the budget issues,” there is need for cohesiveness amidst ongoing challenges.

Joya, who has been at CHS since 2017, the last two years of which as principal and the preceding as assistant principal, is leaving CHS to become assistant principal at Grant Elementary School in East Wenatchee, citing personal reasons for his decision. “The switch has to do with my five children,” he stated. Last August, Joya and his family were unexpectedly presented with the opportunity to adopt the brother of their youngest (adopted) son, a circumstance that prompted his reassessment of career priorities. “Family and the time commitment of being a high school principal are not compatible in my case," he added.

Swanson, a native of Moses Lake and graduate of Washington State University, comes to CHS after two years in the corner office at IRMS. Before that, he was a middle school principal in the South Whidbey School District and taught in the Wenatchee and Tonasket districts. Swanson’s vision for CHS includes fostering a culture of collaboration, trust building, and addressing immediate challenges, such as the gap left by the choral department’s elimination. “We're trying to work with outside entities to try to do something [regarding the choir] for this coming year until the budget is solvent,” he explained. “One thing I plan on doing is an audit with the staff and students to see what their current narrative is about the high school and what they would like to continue and what they would like to see slightly different. I’m excited and appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to seeing where we go.”

As Miller steps into the role of principal at IRMS, he brings with him twenty years of experience as a middle school assistant principal, nineteen of them at the North Thurston School District in Olympia. Previous to that, Miller taught in Tacoma Public School as a 7th grade English teacher. 

As part of the belt-tightening and staff adjustments recently announced by CSD for next school year, Anika Bibby will remain in her role as assistant principal at CHS, albeit with a reduced schedule. The assistant principal position at IRMS will not be filled.

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