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Lewis wows district, earns top Ordway post

Dr. Robert Lewis has been named Ordway’s fourth principal.  - Courtesy of Wake County Public School System
Dr. Robert Lewis has been named Ordway’s fourth principal.
— image credit: Courtesy of Wake County Public School System

The school’s new principal hails from North Carolina.

There’s a new face for the biggest desk in school.

Dr. Robert Lewis will become the fourth principal in the history of Ordway Elementary School, the district announced this week.

Lewis will leave his current position as principal at Millbrook Elementary Magnet School in Raleigh, N.C., to succeed Glen Robbins, who is retiring from the Bainbridge Island School District on June 30.

“I’m very excited to dig in and get going,” Lewis said. “I was so impressed by the quality of people I met, from faculty to parents. I’m really looking forward to coming back up there.”

Lewis, along with his wife and two children, will likely move to the island this summer. He already has family in the Seattle area, including a stepdaughter and grandchildren.

Bruce Colley, assistant superintendent for administrative services for the Bainbridge district and a former principal at Ordway, said both he and Robbins, along with district and school staff, are “thrilled” with their new hire.

“Following the interview there was a collective ‘wow,’” Colley said. “We were impressed by everything about him. He has a wealth of experience and a broad area of expertise. And we received nothing but glowing recommendations.”

Paula Trantham, assistant principal at Millbrook, was among those who touted Lewis.

“He is an absolutely outstanding educator,” she said. “He makes every decision with the best interests of the students in mind and he works collaboratively with his staff. I’ve already cried my tears that he’s leaving.”

Lewis was principal at Millbrook for 10 years and implemented the International Bacca­laureate Organization Primary Years Pro­gram­me, a national non-profit effort to promote greater cultural understanding and a more rounded educational experience.

He earned a B.A. in English from Gettysburg College and a Master of Education from Shippensburg State University in Pennsylvania.

He earned a Ph.D. in special education and educational administration from the University of North Carolina in 1984.

Lewis began his career as a “head teacher” in Pennsylvania in 1975 before moving on to various administrative positions in North Carolina.

He has published articles in Principal Magazine and Education Week, and served on the North Carolina State Fatality Prevention Committee.

Though he’s proud his past work, Lewis said he’s bringing no specific agenda to his new role.

“I want to work with the community to do what’s best for the students,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.”

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