PRIEST RIVER — School district officials announced Friday that Joe Kren, currently superintendent for the St. Maries Joint School District, will become Priest River Lamanna High School’s newest principal. In a press release Friday. West Bonner County School District Superintendent Paul Anselmo praised Kren, saying that he “will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our district.” The decision awaits the school board’s approval before becoming final.
The announcement came within days of a three-person interview process that involved community members, district teachers and staff, parents, and students. Kren edged out local applicant Lynn Bridges and another applicant with roots in the greater Spokane area. In an email Friday, Kren said, “I am very excited about joining the team.” He credited his interest in the position to the stifling confines of life in an administrative office.
“After being out of a school building and in the district office for several years, I have been considering moving back to the building for quite some time. I miss the day to day contact with the students and teachers. When this position came open, I quickly began investigating the school and District and made the decision to apply,” he wrote.
Kren spent the past five years as superintendent at St. Maries Joint School District, which at 931 students in 2014-15 was a smaller district than West Bonner County School District’s 1142 students. According to state department of education statistics, Kren earned a base salary of $92,429 in 2016, nearly $5,000 more than Anselmo. Prior to his tenure in St. Maries, Kren served as superintendent at Potlatch School District and as superintendent and K-12 principal at North Gem School District. Earlier, he developed as a teacher and administrator during his 17 years at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind.
Notably, Kren, has served as a head varsity soccer coach for 11 years, as an assistant wrestling coach for eight years, and as an athletic director for two years. During his public interview May 23, he responded positively to questions about his support for sports by referring to his deep roots in sports as an athlete and as a coach. His daughter, who will be a sophomore in the 2016-17 school year, played freshman basketball at St. Maries High School this year. St. Maries High School had 275 students in grades 9-12 in 2014-15, compared with Priest River Lamanna High School’s 386 students in those same grades during that school year.
Kren said his first official day on the job will be August 15, “but I will definitely be in the district and the building before then.” Kren did not hesitate at all when asked last week if he would relocate to the school district if hired. Kren said he anticipates filling several teaching positions and a vice principal position over the summer.
In the press release, Anselmo thanked staff, parents and community members who attended in last week’s principal candidate forum for their participation in the interview process.