Submitted by Rene Carroll
Dr. Mary Templeton, Washougal School District Superintendent, was recently selected a 2018-19 “Superintendent to Watch” by the National Schools Public Relations Association. She will be recognized this summer at the 2019 NSPRA Seminar in Washington D.C. with the 14 other honorees from around the nation.
The award recognizes district leaders with less than five years of experience as a superintendent who exemplify dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core. Templeton was hired in Washougal in July of 2018 and is a first-time superintendent. She previously worked as a teacher for 15 years and an administrator in Spokane for the last 11.
“Communication is critical for letting our stakeholders know about the great things that are happening in our schools,” said Templeton. “It is exciting to help Washougal rise to become one of the top performers in the state of Washington.”
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the transformational leadership, community engagement, and relationship building Mary is engaged in,” said Cory Chase, WSD Board President, in a letter of recommendation sent in support of Templeton’s nomination. “She has demonstrated dynamic leadership, fast-paced decision making, and shown the value of strong communications in the district’s efforts. I’m proud of our district and am certain that Mary is on the right track to help us achieve great things.”
In his letter he went on to site examples of Templeton’s efforts including her connections with civic groups, parents and staff, her work to lead development of a new strategic plan, and her communications efforts during and at the conclusion of bargaining with the local teacher union.
“As one of several new superintendents in the region this year, Mary quickly became a highly respected leader among her peers,” said Tim Merlino, Superintendent Educational Service District 112 in his letter of recommendation. “Her knowledge and passion for education, coupled with a dynamic energy and warmth, has made her one of the ‘go-to’ superintendents in Southwest Washington.”
He went on to point out that Templeton’s style of “leading through listening” is a quality greatly admired by the more than 400 WSD employees she guides. “Mary effectively utilizes all communication strategies, both new technologies and traditional vehicles, to reach her audiences,” he said. “While her involvement in big-picture state-level education issues is admirable, she also takes time to visit one-on-one with a variety of stakeholders. She has made it her number one priority to get to know staff, parents and community members through conversations and in informal settings. She is always present in schools, hallways, classrooms, and athletic and performing arts events.”
“Our future is bright in Washougal,” said Templeton. “And with a continued focus on communication, we will make sure the community is involved with us as we exceed our own expectations and aspire toward excellence.”