Angela Bacon, the new principal of Toledo Elementary School, as of July 1.
The Toledo School Board has chosen to hire local resident Angela Bacon as the next Toledo Elementary School (TES) principal after outgoing principal Lisa Hull resigned last month to pursue a career with the Mary M. Knight School District.
Assuming the position July 1, Bacon had previously worked for Toledo between 2006 and 2009, during which time she helped form Toledo High School’s alternative learning program, and since 2011 had been serving as principal at Castle Rock Elementary School.
“I’m pretty invested in this community,” she said of living in Toledo, adding she will have two teenagers attending the high school this fall. “It’s a great place to raise kids.”
Of her 20-year career as an educator, Bacon said she feels she has not spent a year where she did not learn something new about instruction and administration, stating she has learned to benefit from “specialized” teachers who focus on individual subjects and share students, rather than teachers who find themselves having to be experts in all fields.
“I’m a hands-on learner,” she said, adding she views teachers as those who facilitate a student’s learning process rather than impose a rigid curriculum.
But Bacon isn’t simply tasked with filling the shoes of past administrators. As of this next school year, TES has been classified as a “Priority” school by Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) due to its recent history of low reading and math scores.
Based on standardized test data collected between 2011 and 2013 among third through fifth graders, TES has consistently scored below state averages in reading and math, with 2012 seeing all three grades levels below the average for both subjects by margins as significant as 29 percentage points (in the case of fourth-grade math).
In order to ensure these scores are improved, OSPI is holding TES and the district to a higher level of accountability and has required them to create an action plan outlining how they intend to increase test scores, while keeping in mind the specific needs of the students and community.
“The big piece is we’re in it together,” said Bacon of the issue, stating she intends to take a very active role in the classroom to personally support and encourage students and staff.
“I think kids benefit from structure and consistency,” she added of children with challenges both scholastic and disciplinary, stating she intends to work with kids to help them set and reach personal goals, and to follow through on their progress.
After the district board met during a special meeting Thursday to discuss their hiring options, Superintendent Sharon Bower said the choice to hire Bacon had been unanimous, adding, “Mrs. Bacon brings a wide variety of administrative experience working with schools in improvement.”
Steps toward TES’s progress out of Priority status are expected to be discussed during upcoming school board meetings as administrators prepare for the next school year.
Bower also noted, while TES is considered Priority, Toledo Middle School is not in such academic distress, though it is considered a “Focus” school due to improvements needed in its disabilities services, while Toledo High School was awarded by OSPI in April for overall excellence and improvements in math.