ARLINGTON – After a long search the Arlington school board Monday night confirmed Duane Fish as the next principal of Arlington High School.
Fish will succeed Brian Beckley, who left after six years to take a position with Everett Public Schools.
The other finalist, assistant principal Christine Hinojosa, was appointed last September as interim principal.
Fish has served as principal of Bainbridge High School since July 2015 and also served as principal of Lawrence Junior/Senior High School in Lawrence, Mich. from 2012-15. He earned his bachelor of science in Public Administration and Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University and his master of public administration/educational administration from the University of Michigan.
His career in education began in Seattle, where he served as a facilitator for a middle school program, even while maintaining his job as a detective with Seattle in 1997. His seven years in law enforcement overlapped his transition into education. “Duane brings five years of experience as a successful principal in two school districts and six years of high school teaching experience in the area of Career and Technical Education,” Superintendent Chrys Sweeting said.
Fish said he looks forward to relocating to the Arlington area, while they prepare to shake their island fever. “I’m going to be doing my level best to get to know the community first – staff, students, parents,” he said.
Fish said his leadership style relies heavily on collaboration, teamwork and listening. “This isn’t a ‘me’ thing; this is a ‘we” thing,” he said. “What we accomplish as a school is largely due to everyone’s contributions. We succeed or fail based on how well we perform as a team.”
Parents, staff and administrative colleagues at Bainbridge have described Fish as a visionary leader who has inspired students and the community.
“Duane has an amazing capacity to turn around programs,” Sweeting said. She cited special education programs and career and tech-ed programs as two examples where he has overseen change and seen the programs grow.
Fish said to move the needle in any district, regardless of demographics or the size of the school, the goal must be the same: giving a high school experience for every student that is second to none, whether it’s for struggling students, highly capable students or all in between.
When Fish took his first job as principal in Lawrence his high school was performing in the bottom quarter of schools statewide. Three years later they were succeeding at the 75th percentile.
In Arlington, a comprehensive selection process was conducted and the field was narrowed to three semi-finalists. The candidates underwent interviews and reference checks, and attended a community forum. Two finalists were selected and additional reference checks and site visits were conducted. Feedback was gathered through participants involved in the search process, as well as stakeholders through an online survey.
Fish and his wife, Michelle, a social worker, have two college-age sons with baseball in their blood. Zach was Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in 2014 at Oklahoma State University. The catcher was recently released by the Chicago White Sox organization and serving a political internship. Younger brother Matt is a left-handed pitcher at Lewis-Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho. He was a member on the 2016 NAIA world series national championship team.
“Arlington as a community is the perfect fit for the type of family we are,” said Fish, who will start his new job July 1.