New principal focuses on quality instruction, kindness
By Marcy Stamper
An educator described as “an ambassador of kindness” has been selected as the new principal of Methow Valley Elementary.
Brian Patrick, dean of students at Enumclaw Middle School, received the highest ranking from both the hiring committee and community forums held last week to evaluate six finalists for the job, according to Methow Valley superintendent Mark Wenzel.
As dean of students, Patrick has shared responsibilities with the principal at the 550-student school in western Washington, focusing on the school’s leadership team and on setting the tone and vision for the school. Of the two administrators, he had more direct involvement with students, including handling disciplinary issues, he said.
Patrick helped guide the school in the professional learning communities model, an approach also used in this district. The system concentrates on identifying what students should know and how to measure their progress, along with how to engage those students who learn a concept quickly and those who have more trouble picking it up, said Patrick.
“The most bang for the buck in intervention and enrichment is daily quality instruction,” he said, underscoring his focus on teachers and students.
“I teach kindness and compassion – I used to teach chemistry and physics,” said Patrick, who was a science instructor before becoming an administrator. Before that, he was a geologist at the university level, but made his first career switch when his children were young and he found himself too busy with his work and research to be fully involved in family life. “It’s the best decision I ever made,” he said.
Patrick also co-founded the Enumclaw Adventure School, which emphasizes learning through experience and instruction organized around a particular theme.
Patrick found his way to geology through his passion for rock climbing, often exploring the North Cascades. He remains very involved in outdoor activities and coordinated the Enumclaw ski and snowboard program.
Patrick plans to be in the Methow next week to start settling in. The school district will organize an event in August to introduce him to the community, said Wenzel.
Photo submitted by Brian Patrick: New MV Elementary School principal Brian Patrick has a strong background in outdoor education.