Trish King is retiring from The Island School after 14 years as the institution’s Head of School.
She is retiring after a career in education that spanned more than 40 years of administration and teaching, including positions in Louisiana, Central Oregon and Bainbridge Island.
Coming from a family of educators, King taught English and theater in both private and public schools in the early years of her career. When she was hired at The Island School in 2005, Shelley Neeleman, the president of the board of trustees at the time, said King “matched every single one of the qualities we sought from ‘creating and maintaining a clear vision for the school’ to ‘getting down on her knees to play with children.’”
Dan Miller, current president of the board of trustees, said working King has been a pleasure.
“Her devotion to our mission, values and our children has been paramount in her 14 years here,” Miller said.
King will step down at the end of June. Amanda Ward, currently an associate principal at Bainbridge High School, will become the next Head of School on July 1.
King described her position as “the best job in the world!”
Every school day morning, she could be found greeting students at the front door of The Island School.
King is passionate about education that emphasizes developing good people. When she arrived at The Island School in 2005, she told the search committee, “I believe in creating an environment that celebrates each individual and that offers a humane balance between challenging work and healthy fun.”
She believes education that includes flexibility and “people skills” in addition to academics, art and athletics, equips children for the jobs of the future, and she makes sure her students are valued for more than academic skill.
King recently shared her passion for her job with a trio of young reporters from the school’s newspaper.
“I love being a Head of School,” she told the budding journalists. “I love what a Head of School gets to do.”
“This was the first school I found that did what was best for kids instead of doing what is easiest for adults,” she added.
Her devotion to education extends well beyond The Island School.
She serves on both the Board of Governors of the Northwest Association of Independent Schools and its accreditation committee, and is past chair of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. For these organizations, she frequently visits other schools to guide them in best practices, speaks at educator trainings and affects policy to provide excellent education to many children.
In 2014, Trish’s critique of standardized testing was an audience pleaser at Ignite Bainbridge, the island’s version of a TED Talk evening. She is motivated about doing what’s best for children in our schools, not what profits the test making industry: “Just imagine – if we took that $1.7 billion spent on standardized testing and invested that in hiring the best teachers, providing them with better resources, reducing class sizes and differentiating learning for individuals, what a revolution we might see in classrooms across America.”
King was the second Head of School at the independent elementary on Day Road; The Island School was founded in 1977 by Kelly Webster, Nancy Leedy and Dave Leedy, and Webster retired as Head of School in 2005.
Under King’s care and guidance, The Island School campus has grown to its full potential. In 2008 the school completed its building plan to include Webster Hall, named in honor of Kate and Holt Webster, early supporters of the school. Webster Hall houses a multi-purpose gym, classroom, performance stage and kitchen.
In retirement, King said she looks forward to spending more time with her husband, Paul, and her kids and four grandkids.