Helen Haller Elementary in Sequim to get new assistant principal

SEQUIM — The commute for Allyson Cundiff just got a little longer.

A Poulsbo resident who works at a Bremerton school serving students in prekindergarten through third grade, Cundiff is preparing to make the commute to the North Olympic Peninsula as Helen Haller Elementary School’s newest assistant principal.

“Sequim is a beautiful location,” Cundiff said. “I was lucky to get an opportunity to work there . . . to be working at a place people to choose to go [to] and retire.”

Cundiff earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Western Washington University and has taught kindergarten and second grade, with positions in Nevada and Washington.

For the past three school years, she’s been a reading specialist at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center.

Cundiff said she knew she wanted to get into the education field by the time she was a third-grader.

“I was a struggling reader and didn’t necessarily have the best support system,” Cundiff recalled.

In turn, Cundiff began tutoring younger students — “making sure they didn’t struggle and suffer,” she said.

That helped her understand her own reading struggles and carried on into her teaching career.

“I feel like I can use those strategies and techniques [to help],” she said.

“I like seeing their confidence go up. That’s a big thing for me, to feel positive [and] know they’re growing.”

Cundiff and husband Zach have two children: 4-year-old Annabelle and 7-month-old Nicholas.

Cundiff is planning to commute to Sequim from Poulsbo because her husband has a commute himself: He works in Fremont, a community on the shores of Seattle’s Lake Union.

Becky Stanton, assistant principal at Helen Haller in 2015-16, moves into the lead administrator’s role this fall after current Principal Russ Lodge took a principal position in the Deer Park School District just north of Spokane.

Stanton said the staff at Helen Haller will focus on targeted intervention, both in academic and behavioral fields.

Cundiff’s role, Stanton said, will include some instruction leadership, leading some grade-level teams and evaluation of teachers.

“She’s got to be able to do it all, and I think she can,” Stanton said.

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Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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