Kimble chosen to lead Priest River Elementary

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PRIEST RIVER — Connie Kimble has accepted the offer to become Priest River Elementary School’s next principal, said West Bonner County School District business manager Jennifer Phillips Tuesday.

Connie Kimble has a background as an educator in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, where she worked as a K-12 counselor from 2002-2007 and then as a career and work based educator from 2007-2012. From 2012-2014 she worked as a counselor and as a deputy principal in Istanbul, Turkey and in Morocco. At Monday’s principal candidates forum held at the elementary school, Kimble said she had learned a lot during her time in administration overseas. She currently works with middle schoolers at an arts academy in Pueblo, Colo.

Kimble said she was motivated to seek the position in part because she still has a daughter and four grandkids in Bonner County. She indicated that she would want to live very close to the school, as her current and recent positions involved a commute of one mile or less, she said.

She said one of her strengths is that she is fair. “I make an effort to look at all sides of things before I make decisions unless an immediate decision is required. I’m good at seeing all sides of the story.”

When asked why she would like the position at an elementary school, she said “I’d like to be at the elementary level in order to work with kids whose hearts and minds are still open, young, willing, and malleable, who don’t know it all yet.”

Kimble expressed a desire to help kids find their niche in life, and said she was passionate about learning.

“I love learning, I love education. I’m always taking some new class, learning some new thing. I believe in a growth mindset, that there is no end to the learning journey, and that learning is forever.”

Parents, faculty, staff, and school board members quizzed finalists for the Priest River Elementary School principal position at a public forum here Monday. Some audience members asked the same questions of each candidate on topics such as student discipline, thoughts on kitchen staff, the role of counseling, and time management. Though they came before the forum audience at separate times, Kimble and her two fellow principal candidates expressed similar views in support of the mainstays of modern public schools, such as student-parent-teacher-administrator collaboration, community involvement, positive motivation and student-centered teamwork.

The public was invited to fill out comment forms which would be used in the decision making process by West Bonner County School District Superintendent Paul Anselmo.

Chris Warren also hailed from the Lake Pend Oreille School District, where he both serves as treasurer on the board of the Forrest Bird Charter Schools and works as a second-grade teacher at Farmin Stidwell Elementary School. He said after a career in business administration, he moved into education first as a parent classroom volunteer and then as a teacher.

Trina Freddi currently teaches at Priest River Elementary and has been in the school district since 2003. As a teacher, she said she had worked to increase parental involvement, and had experience across the elementary grade spectrum from kindergarten through middle school. She demonstrated her commitment to public education by volunteering in the school cafeteria even when taking a year off of work to recover from leukemia, she said.

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