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Bainbridge school board welcomes new principal

The Bainbridge Island School Board met its newest principal at its last meeting.

Melinda Reynvaan, who will take over as the new principal for Ordway Elementary School, isn’t exactly an unfamiliar face on the island, though.

Reynvaan was a former teacher at Ordway, as well as an administrator at Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School, before taking over as principal of Green Mountain Elementary School in Central Kitsap.

Reynvaan spent part of last week getting reacquainted with Bainbridge, and popped by Ordway before her reintroduction to the school board June 18. She takes over for principal Robert Lewis, who is returning to his home state of North Carolina.

The selection process for a new principal was extensive, school district officials said.

Julie Goldsmith, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the school district, said a committee made up of staff, parents and others reviewed the candidates, and Reynvaan was asked to give a presentation on her vision for the school.

“We put Melinda through a lot,” Goldsmith said.

She also recalled the background check once Reynvaan was a finalist.

“One of the things I’m looking for when I do those background checks is listening to the response of people,” Goldsmith said. “I’m sad to say, but I really like to hear them get emotional ... ‘We don’t want to lose her.’”

“That is exactly what we heard,” Goldsmith said, recalling a comment by a PTA leader: “I want to tell you terrible things about her because we love her. We do not want to lose her.”

Goldsmith recalled how a school secretary also said Reynvaan was one of the best administrators she had worked with during her 20-plus year career.

“We’re excited,” Goldsmith added. “I can’t tell you how many people have told me what a good job our committee did.”

Reynvaan told the school board that she felt people were happy to see her again.

“It has been an extremely welcoming experience from the district, from the staff and the families,” Reynvaan said.

She visited the school last Thursday as Ordway was getting ready for summer break.

“I was so excited I wanted school to start,” she said.

“So now they might think I’m a little bit off,” Reynvaan said with a laugh.

“It’s just so wonderful to be back. I’m excited to start this journey here.”

District officials said they were, too.

“It’s a pleasure to have stolen you,” said Bainbridge School Board Member Mike Spence.

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