After a decade at Coupeville High School, Principal Duane Baumann will step aside after this school year.
He is moving to the Port Orchard area to be near family, he said.
As he reflected on his time in administration at the school, he noted its small size accounted for some of the job’s most rewarding moments as well as some of its biggest challenges. Overall, he said he’s going to miss the community, staff, students and parents when he leaves.
Baumann and his family moved to Central Whidbey 10 years ago when he was named the assistant principal/athletic director at the middle/high school. He later became special services director, managing programs such as English language learning and the learning assistance program.
He briefly went back into the assistant principal position before becoming the high school’s principal four years ago.
“You get to be a little of everything,” he said of being in administration.
Before moving to Whidbey Island, he’d been a teacher at high schools for 12 years in Texas and Kent, Wash. His father had also been a teacher, he said, and in college he found he had a knack for instruction as a tutor.
“It turned out to be something I really liked,” Baumann said.
After working in bigger schools, he appreciated all the opportunities to get to know the students and their families in Coupeville.
Baumann said his favorite part of the job was getting to see the teenagers’ growth from ninth graders to seniors who are about to step into the “real world” and their adults lives.”
But the district’s small size also meant he didn’t have some of the administrative support larger schools might have, such as an assistant principal position, which doesn’t exist at the high school anymore. But, although he admitted he wouldn’t miss fire alarm calls at 2 a.m., he said he did appreciate the chance to “be a part of everything.”
He’s proud of the work he started as an assistant moving to an alternating A and B class schedule to create more time for the students to take electives. His tenure has seen several highs and lows, he said, including the severe budget cuts of 2010 and then the slow rebuild of programs.
He’ll be sad to go, he said, but the timing was right. His twin sons graduated from CHS last year. He’s not sure he’ll stay in education, although he said it’s likely.
The position will be advertised in February, Superintendent Steve King said.
For his successor, Baumann only leaves with one piece of advice and one word of reassurance:
“Take care of everyone,” he said. “And just know you’re in a great place.”