PRIEST RIVER — Finalists competing to become the next Priest River Lamannna High School principal met community members Monday afternoon to introduce themselves and answer questions. The three finalists included former Washtucna School District Principal Brent Seedall, current St. Maries Joint School District Superintendent Joe Kren, and current Priest River Junior High School Counselor Lynn Bridges. In addition to meeting the public, each candidate also interviewed behind closed doors with an eight-member panel.
Around 40 students, school district teachers and staff, parents, and community members attended the event. Each had the opportunity to fill out evaluation forms ranking each candidate, which would be used as part of the school district’s decisionmaking process.
Seedall originally hails from the farmlands of southern Idaho and has spent most of his nearly 30 years in education in the greater Spokane area, including time as assistant principal at Sandpoint Middle School. He said he wants the position in Priest River because he cares about kids, wants them to be successful, and has a lot to offer. Seedall has worked as a substitute teacher for the past year because budget cuts eliminated his position in Washtucna. He has been married for 31 years and has four children. Seedall said his family is fixed in their current location in Spokane and would not relocate to the area but would be very involved in community events. He has successfully navigated long commutes for many years, he said, including 12 years as principal at Deer Park Middle School.
Kren recently resigned his position as superintendent of the St. Maries school district. He said his family would relocate to Priest River. Kren is a Chicago native and is married with children, one of whom is a 5’9 girls’ high school basketball player, he said. Kren began his educational career by working for 17 years in various positions at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind before becoming superintendent at the North Gem School District for three years, then five years as superintendent at the Potlatch School District, and five more years as superintendent in St. Maries. Last November he was named the Idaho State Superintendent of the Year by the Idaho School Superintendent Association. He said he wanted to come to Priest River because he had been out of the classroom and away from the students too much as superintendent. He shared many proverbial sayings with attendees during his public interview Monday and left the adults and students smiling due to his humorous, confident manner.
Bridges has lived in the Priest River area for 37 years and currently works as a guidance counselor at Priest River Junior High. She has worked as a classroom teacher as well, she said. Bridges said that working overseas as a school principal gave her a deep appreciation and passion for public education in the United States. She believes strongly that education is the key that unlocks the doors of opportunity for students, she said. Bridges said she is concerned with making students into informed citizens who can earn decent wages and lead the community in the next generation.
All three candidates responded positively when asked if they would support higher level courses, promote athletics, encourage extracurricular activities, and combat low graduation rates.
The interview panel’s input will carry the most weight in the hiring process, but West Bonner County School District Superintendent Paul Anselmo holds the primary hiring authority said Jennifer Phillips, school district business manager. The school board will then have the final say, Phillips added. Anselmo said the decision would be made Tuesday and announced by the end of the week after contacting all references and candidates.
Earlier this year, current PRLHS principal Roy Reynolds decided it was time to move on. Anselmo thanked Reynolds for his service at the May 18 school board meeting. “Thank you for the privilege of serving,” Reynolds replied.
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