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Candidates seek top spot at Edison Elementary

Three candidates are vying to head Edison Elementary School.

The principal position was filled this year by Joel Chavez, who stepped in for the short term following former Edison principal Julie Perron’s promotion to director of the Walla Walla School District’s equity and dual programs and Latino/a outreach.

Jennifer Foster, Ann Gray and Jon Wetzler are the three front runners for the Edison spot. All are bilingual, a requirement for the job, said district spokesman Mark Higgins.

Edison parents and staff are encouraged to meet the candidates Jan. 16, 4-5:30 p.m., at the school library. Attendees will be asked to complete candidate feedback cards and be present, if possible, for all three candidate sessions. Interpretation services will be available.

Jennifer Foster is the associate principal at Mercer Island High School in the Seattle area. There she is part of building and district leadership teams, an instructional coaching committee and district instructional materials selection committee.

She received her administrative degree from the Danforth Leadership Program at the University of Washington. Foster worked for 12 years in the Snoqualmie Valley School District as a secondary instructional coach, as well as teacher and department chair for Mount Si High School’s world language department.

She has also worked at Oregon State University, instructing and supervising student teachers and teaching college-level Spanish, led nearly a dozen student travel groups to Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru, and completed the Margins Social Justice Immersion Program.

Ann Gray is an assistant principal, state and federal programs director for the Shelton School District on Puget Sound. She oversees dual language support, title grants and early learning initiatives.

Before that Gray was an elementary principal at Muckleshoot and worked for Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services. She spent 16 years in Federal Way Public Schools, including overseeing the district’s language acquisition plan, and was employed for a decade in Seattle Public Schools where she supported principal leadership development.

Gray has a bachelor’s of science in special education and Spanish from University of Texas, as well as a developmental psychology degree from the University of California.

Jon Wetzler is a bilingual training instructor and curriculum developer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in Georgia. His experience includes 21 years as a high school counselor and teacher, some of that time at Oregon’s Mountain View High School and as lead counselor at Woodburn High School near Portland.

Wetzler served more than 20 years in the Army National Guard, recently retiring at the rank of major. He holds a master’s of social work degree from Portland State University and received his administrative license at the University of Oregon.

For more information, call the district at 509-527-3000.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers education in the Walla Walla Valley. She also writes a column, Home Place, usually highlighting family life and slices of local life.