Hillcrest Elementary School welcomes new principal

Paula Seaman, new principal at Hillcrest Elementary School, takes a moment to greet second-grade student Shawn Owens on the first day of school. - Rebecca Olson / Whidbey News-Times
Paula Seaman, new principal at Hillcrest Elementary School, takes a moment to greet second-grade student Shawn Owens on the first day of school.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson / Whidbey News-Times

When Hillcrest Elementary School students started school Sept. 6, fellow students weren’t the only new faces at the school. A new principal, Paula Seaman, greeted students and staff, all smiles as she directed kids to their classrooms and asked how teachers’ summer vacations went.

“It’s just a wonderful place to work!” Seaman exclaimed, her high energy, personable disposition obvious as she pointed out the flowering courtyard cleared by Navy personnel over the summer and the new flooring installed in hallways and classrooms.

This is Seaman’s ninth year working for the Oak Harbor School District. She worked at Crescent Harbor Elementary School as a Title I teacher for six years, then worked as an administrator at Broad View Elementary School for one year. Last year, she acted as project manager for the Department of Defense grant to improve literacy skills at the elementary level. She spent some of that time working as a literacy coach at Hillcrest Elementary School.

Becoming a principal has been on Seaman’s mind for years. The position at Hillcrest opened up after Laura Schonberg, the principal for four years, requested a transfer to become assistant principal at North Whidbey Middle School. She wanted to return to the challenges found at the secondary level in a position similar to the one she’d held before coming to Oak Harbor, according to Joe Hunt, school district communications director.

“The opportunity came up at the right time for me and I wanted to stay in this community,” Seaman said, adding that she loves Oak Harbor and its Navy presence.

Hillcrest has 603 students enrolled this year and Seaman said the school will give them a wonderful education.

“The staff is absolutely amazing. They’re very focused on children. It’s just a great place for kids and everybody is so focused on what’s important,” Seaman said.

Her focus as principal this year will be on differentiated instruction, a model that emphasizes giving students instruction in the areas individually needed, and supporting teachers and staff so that everyone works together better.

“We’re all going to move forward together,” Seaman said.

She also plans to educate the community about the levy to ensure it will pass.

“I’ll make sure the community knows how important it is,” Seaman said.

The excitement of the first day of school continued for Seaman even as children entered their classrooms.

“It feels like home,” she said. “It’s just a great place to be. I love coming to work everyday. I get up in the morning and look forward to coming to work.

“Hillcrest is unstoppable this year!”


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