Principals coming to Forest Hills, Westridge elementary schools this summer
Local residents this summer will see two new faces, two new leaders.
In July, two new principals will come on board, Amy Blakey at Forest Hills Elementary and Tin Kha at Westridge Elementary.
“It’s a huge honor, and the district has such a huge reputation,” said Blakey, 42, who just moved to the area. “It’s phenomenal.”
She most recently served as the principal of Scandia Elementary School at Travis Air Force Base in California, leading the school to its fourth California Distinguished School Award. Blakey also has held several other roles in education: assistant principal at an intermediate school, a school district’s curriculum coordinator, regional school improvement coordinator at a junior high, teacher on special assignment for reading and literacy training, junior high school language arts teacher and elementary school teacher. She said she’s looking forward to meeting Forest Hills students and their families.
“I enjoy building relationships with the folks in the community,” she said.
Blakey, who grew up in the Portland metro area, received a bachelor’s in elementary education at Western Illinois State University and a master’s in education from Portland State University.
“I’m excited to just join the team, and I feel like I have a lot to offer,” said Blakey, who has three children, ages 7, 14 and 18.
Kha, 39, has been the principal of North Marion Primary School in Aurora, ince 2010. The Tualatin resident is thrilled to be working at Lake Oswego School District.
“I feel very, very blessed and fortunate to have this wonderful opportunity,” he said. “Lake Oswego has such a rich tradition of academia and parental and community involvement.”
Vietnamese is Kha’s first language; he speaks English fluently; and he also is literate in Spanish. He received a bachelor’s in liberal studies and a master’s in education at Vanguard University. He also has served as an elementary school principal, a middle school assistant principal, English language learners program coordinator for a school district, a teacher on special assignment (literacy specialist and vice principal) and as a statistical consultant at Vanguard University. He and his wife, Amanda, have two children, ages 6 and 4.
“My number one goal is to let people know who I am and just form as many relationships as possible,” Kha said.
There were 40 applicants for the two Lake Oswego elementary school principal positions, and the school district’s human resources staff handled interviews with 15 applicants. A selection committee interviewed the five finalists and appointed Blakey and Kha. The committee included a teacher, a classified employee, a parent from each school, two district administrators, Lake Oswego School Board member Sarah Howell, Lake Oswego Education Association President Laura Paxson-Kluthe, Superintendent Bill Korach and incoming Superintendent Heather Beck. The school board approved the principals’ appointments on Monday.
“I want to thank the hiring committee and the board for the opportunity to contribute to a wonderful district and my wonderful school,” Kha said.
Scott Lane, who has been at Westridge Elementary for nine years, retires on June 30, and Kha will take the helm July 1. Lane said he has mixed emotions about leaving because he’d like to take part in helping out while the district is in challenging times. Issues include a budget shortfall and the transition while Common Core State Standards are being implemented.
“I am going to miss everything about Westridge: the parents, the children and the staff, but I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to spend more time with my family,” said Lane, 61. “I’m going to be a stay-at-home grandpapa.”
Lane, a Hillsboro resident, and his wife, Wendy Ackley, have four children and three grandchildren.
Gwen Hill, who has been at Forest Hills Elementary for nine years, retires on June 30, and Blakey will take up the principal position on July 1.
“This is absolutely a wonderful school, a wonderful district to be part of, and ... I’m leaving this school that is so strong, and I just have loved every minute that I’ve been here,” said Hill, 61.
Hill, a Lake Oswego resident, is looking forward to seeing what opportunities await upon her retirement and to spending more time with her family: her husband, John Turchi; eight grandchildren; and four children.