Port Angeles High School principal resigns for job in Southern California
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
Port Angeles High School Principal Garry Cameron, right, will depart the school district after tonight’s graduation ceremony to take a position at a Southern California school. Assistant Principal Jeff Clark, left, was named interim principal for one year, beginning Monday.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Garry Cameron's last act as Port Angeles High School principal will be to preside over the class of 2014 commencement ceremony tonight.

He announced early Thursday morning that he has taken the job of principal of Upland High School 35 miles east of Los Angeles, a facility that is three times larger than Port Angeles' high school.

After the ceremony at 8 p.m. today at Port Angeles High School at 304 E. Park Ave., he will turn over the reins of the school to current Assistant Principal Jeff Clark, who will begin a year's stint as interim principal Monday.

“It's a wonderful place to work,” Cameron said Thursday of Port Angeles High.

“I've really enjoyed all of the people here. I'm going to miss a lot of people.”

Cameron on Thursday submitted a letter of resignation to the Port Angeles School District, with letters to school staff, students and parents.

On Wednesday evening, he accepted the job. His salary is to be negotiated.

“We wish him all the very best and will miss his leadership in the district,” said Superintendent Jane Pryne.

The Port Angeles School Board will vote on Cameron's resignation and Clark's selection as interim principal at 7 p.m. June 26 at the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center, 905 W. Ninth St.

Cameron said he applied for the job several weeks ago and flew to Upland for an interview while several representatives of the Upland school district visited Port Angeles.

Cameron's contract with the Port Angeles district is through June 30, but he will take remaining vacation days to move his household to Upland, he said.

The 3,500-student Upland High School is located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, and has already completed its school year.

Enrollment

Port Angeles High's enrollment is about 1,150 students.

Cameron was hired as principal by former Superintendent Gary Cohn, beginning work July 1, 2009.

A native of Washington state, Cameron grew up in Marysville. His wife, Victoria, has family in Southern California.

He spent 16 years there, first as a U.S. Navy officer and later during his education career, Cameron said.

Cameron began his teaching career in Washington state in 1999 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the Marysville School District, where he taught math and coached girls tennis.

He taught middle school math and high school social studies in the Hemet Unified School District in Southern California from 2000 through 2002 and was an assistant principal at the district's West Valley High School when he was hired by Port Angeles in 2009.

He served as an officer in the Navy from 1988 through 1995, leading combat coordination and surface warfare teams as a lieutenant during the first Persian Gulf War.

Cameron received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Washington in 1988, a master's degree in teaching from the University of Puget Sound in 1996 and a doctorate in education through the University of Southern California in 2010.

Interim principal

Clark has been assistant principal at Port Angeles High since 2005.

“We wish Jeff all the very best as well and have every confidence he will successfully lead the high school,” Pryne said.

No plans are currently in place for seeking a permanent principal, according to district officials.

Clark said Thursday he plans to apply as permanent principal when the district opens the job to applications.

For now, he is concentrating on a smooth transition.

“My goal this year is to make progress on things that have already been started,” he said.

Those include the implementation of Common Core standards, the shift to the Smarter Balanced Assessment system, the Positive Behavior Intervention System and a new state system for teacher evaluations.

Clark received his bachelor's in liberal arts from The Evergreen State College and earned a bachelor's in English with a minor in education and a master's in school administration from Western Washington University.

He also completed requirements for principal and administrator certification at Western Washington University.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 12. 2014 5:29PM
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