By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Renker was hired by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on Jan. 15 as a leadership coach at the Olympia Office of Student and School Success, or OSPI, and will begin working part time in that position as soon as her new job duties are clear.
Renker has been principal at Neah Bay for eight years and an employee in the Cape Flattery School District for 20 years.
During Renker's years as principal, test scores at the small, mostly tribal high school have been steadily improving.
She raised expectations for math, engineering, science and technology achievements, and made planning for college part of the school's culture.
Renker pointed to college attendance as her proudest achievement.
In 2012, 79 percent of the school's seniors enrolled and attended college classes that fall, a number that is 19 points above the state average, she said.
The Cape Flattery School District posted the job opening Jan. 6 to prepare to find a replacement before Renker departs for Olympia in June.
She said she is unusual in that her doctorate was earned in the field of anthropology.
She later worked for her school administrator's qualifications.
“I'm an anthropologist in a principal's suit,” Renker said.
The combination of anthropology and education perspectives has created a unique blend of Makah culture and history with the traditional school system.
“It has informed a lot of what we do here,” Renker said.
The OSPI position's exact duties have not yet been defined, but she said it will involve working with school administrators in districts and schools that have a high tribal or other unique cultural influence in their communities, which are listed as being “priority or at risk.”
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.