North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

ASD selects next AHS principal

Current Bainbridge High School principal Duane Fish chosen to lead Arlington High School

 

Courtesy Photo

Duane Fish

Bainbridge High School's principal Duane Fish will become the next principal at Arlington High School and plans to begin on July 1.

The Arlington School District's Board of Directors confirmed the selection of Fish as the next principal of their main high school on April 10.

Former AHS principal Brian Beckley left to take a job with Everett Public Schools last September.

Fish is a 13-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department who transitioned into education in 2006.

At the time both his mother-in-law and father-in-law were going through health problems and so his family decided to move to Michigan to be closer to them.

"So at that time I had to make the decision if I wanted to continue in law enforcement or pursue different options," he said.

While in Seattle he had already spent time leading kids as a coach of the Sumner Valley Wolfpack football club.

That coaching work got him involved in collaborative programs with local schools, including facilitating a program where he talked to classes about gun violence.

"So I really got my taste for teaching from those programs," he said.

His father-in-law encouraged him to get into education because of his work there.

"He is a big reason why I got into education. He always felt I would be a good teacher because of how I coached kids," said Fish.

In Michigan he taught criminal justice, constitutional law and criminology and built a criminal justice program at his school from the ground up.

He was encouraged to get into education leadership by his superintendent and went to the University of Michigan to earn his Master of Public Administration/Educational Administration as a result.

Fish was then hired as principal of the Michigan Lawrence Junior/Senior High School soon after. When he started, the school tested in the bottom quarter of the state, and when he left they were testing in the top quarter, he said.

"I'm really proud of the work of the staff and students and how we turned that school around," he said.

Wanting to return to the Pacific Northwest, he took a job as principal of Bainbridge High School.

Fish accepted a job at Arlington High School because he said it was a better family fit. He and his wife have two adult sons.

"We want them to be able to put their roots down near us when the time comes," he said, and that was more realistic in Arlington compared to the elevated real estate costs in and around Bainbridge Island.

His wife is also a social worker. "She has worked very hard to support families and kids that many people give up on and I'm very proud of her for that," Fish said.

At Arlington High School he hopes to create good students and good citizens, he said.

"I'm hoping to bring to Arlington a positive, pro-kindness approach to the school," Fish said. "We want top academic graduates who are college or career ready, but we also want students who are just good people," he said.

He hopes to listen first to locals on where they want to see the school go as well.

"I want to understand precisely what the kids, staff and parents want to see in this school," he said. "I want to see what's important to them so we can work hard to make that vision come to life."

Fish said that it will be a collaborative effort as well, with more than just himself working toward those goals.

He said he enjoys the small town feel in Arlington and reminds him of small towns he used to live in.

"It's really neat when you have a community that rallies around their young people," he said. "A community that really wants to serve the kids well, and if I can be a part of that, I'm excited about it."

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