Leach takes over as principal of LHS

Dale Leach, principal, Lakewood High School -
Dale Leach, principal, Lakewood High School
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LAKEWOOD Lakewood High School will have a new principal by the time its 2007-2008 school year starts.
Dale Leach comes to the job with five years in the Oak Harbor School District and 20 years in the education field, but in many ways, he approaches teaching the same way he did coaching.
I was coaching basketball at the college level and was disenchanted with the experience, said Leach, whose friend suggested he apply for a job coaching girls basketball at Shorecrest High School. At the end of the season, the principal called me into his office and asked me if I wanted a job. He told me, Youve got a good way with the kids. Education needs people like you.
Armed with his history degree from Seattle Pacific University, Leach sought to connect history to his students lives and teach them what he calls the unwritten curriculum of life skills.
Kids need to find meaning in the things theyre studying, Leach said. Education cant be compartmentalized. When youre teaching history, youre still teaching grammar and spelling. Students cant just regurgitate facts. When you teach World War II, you have to connect it to World War I, because the reason Hitler rose to power was because the Treaty of Versailles stunk.
Leach became more animated as he went on, smiling and leaning forward in his chair as he talked faster. Even as he laughed and apologized for getting off on a tangent, he admitted that he feels strongly about integrating curricula and emphasizing the context and real-life applications of school subjects.
At the same time, Leach assured school staff and parents, as well as the surrounding community, that hes not entering into his role as principal with a pre-existing agenda.
My game plan is to listen, ask questions and learn as I go, Leach said. I want to support the school in building on its successes, seeing where improvements could be made and moving in that direction.
Leach believes that Lakewood High School should produce not just good students, but good citizens with the skills to contribute to the workforce and the world as a whole.
Whatever their next steps are after high school, we want them to be people we can be proud of, said Leach, who looks forward to becoming a part of the Lakewood community. Its a cohesive community. Its rural enough that there are still horse farms in the area, but its close to urban life too. Im excited to start the school year.

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