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Bainbridge School District selects new Blakely principal

Reese Ande will start as Blakely Elementary principal July 1. - Hudson
Reese Ande will start as Blakely Elementary principal July 1.
— image credit: Hudson's Photography/Courtesy Photo

The Bainbridge Island School District has selected Reese Ande as the new principal of Blakely Elementary.

Ande succeeds Ric Jones, who is retiring after 18 years in the position.

“Elementary has been one of my passions,” Ande said. “Being a teacher in grades first and fourth for 10 years and working with the young kids has been one of my joys. When I came to (Kingston High School) to be an assistant principal it was about building experience, which was to get back and do what I wanted to do and be at the elementary level at the leadership level.”

Ande was one of 62 applicants for the position. The district posted the position in December and interviewed seven candidates in February.

Unable to reach a consensus, the district extended the search, said Assistant Supt. of Administrative Services Bruce Colley.

Colley said the district interviewed seven more candidates last week and then selected Ande, who lives on Bainbridge Island.

“His administrative experience, when coupled with his elementary teaching background, makes him an ideal candidate with a breadth of experience,” Colley said. “It’s nice to have a K-12 perspective. He also had the unique experience in Alaska – in a pretty remote place. That’s a unique opportunity that not many people have had.”

Ande, who has been a teacher and administrator in Alaska and Washington for 13 years, joined Kingston High School as the first assistant principal in 2007.

“It was a pretty amazing experience as an assistant principal,” Ande said. “You’re exposed to a variety of interactions and experiences. I feel pretty strongly that these experiences have really added and shaped who I am as a leader. Then you add the fact that we were a brand new school. We had an opportunity to build our culture from the ground up.”

Prior to Kingston, Ande spent five years as a fourth grade teacher at Ordway Elementary, where he completed an administrative internship.

Ande also taught first and fourth grade in Aniak, Alaska for five years. He served as athletic director for the middle school and high school.

Ande said returning to work on the island is a perfect situation.

“I’m very appreciative to (the North Kitsap School District) for giving me an opportunity, but I also think it’s important to work in the same community where you live, and that’s a really big deal to myself and my family. We’re very rooted. We live in the same house that my wife was raised in.”

Ande’s wife teaches art at Wilkes Elementary, where their daughter is also a student.

Ande earned a bachelor’s degree in K-8 Elementary Education at Western Washington University and completed his master’s in Education and Educational Leadership at Seattle Pacific University in 2005.

“What I want to do is just continue to build on the accomplishments that Blakely has done on their own,” Ande said. “I just want to add to that in any way possible.”

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