The Grant High School administration made a flurry of personnel moves Monday, announcing the hiring of three new vice principals and the departure of vice principal Kristyn Westphal. Principal Carol Campbell told Grant staff at the June 8 staff meeting that she is bringing in two faces who are familiar to the community onto her administrative team. They are:
Diallo Lewis, a counselor and the head football coach who coached the team over the last 10 years, will step down as coach to become a vice principal.
Liz Mahlum, who served as a counselor at Grant from 2003 to 2013. Mahlum left in 2013 to become a counselor at Scappoose High School. She lives in the town of Scappoose, Ore. and will continue to live there when she becomes a vice principal at Grant.
The third vice principal will be K.D. Parman, who currently works as an environmental and forensics science teacher at Roosevelt High School.
The new moves will increase the number of school administrators at Grant by one, something Campbell says is much needed. “There’s so many things that we could get involved in and I’m looking forward to having an additional administrator to help with that,” Campbell says.
Westphal, who has been at Grant for four years, will become principal at Hosford Middle School in Southeast Portland. Her new job starts July 1.
Lewis says he is looking forward to having a leadership position in the school. “Having the opportunity to lead in another way is something that is very interesting to me, and very appealing,” he says. “I wanted to take the opportunity and help move the school forward.”
Mahlum is excited about integrating back into the Grant community.
“It’s such a wonderful community to learn not only as a student but also as an adult learner,” she says. “So I’m really excited that I get to take this next step back at Grant, back where I started.”
The two new positions came open when Westphal decided to move and the midyear departure of then-vice principal Claudia Ramos-Tetz. Ramos-Tetz transferred in March to Boise-Eliot School.
The administrative team will look different next year, but will set themselves to an even higher standard. Campbell says creating a stronger presence in the school and reaching out to students will be a main focus of theirs for next school year.
“I’m hopeful that we will be able to do a better job of interacting with all the different aspects of Grant High School,” says Campbell.
A team of teachers, counselors, and administrators at Grant chose candidates from the district’s office pool of applicants. Grant faculty members conducted the candidates interviews.
Campbell is excited at the prospect of working with a new team, but recognizes that the loss of Westphal will leave a large hole.
“She’s amazing and highly competent at what she does,”says Campbell of Westphal. “She’s very hard to replace, and it’s gonna be an adjustment for all of us to not have her around.”
Westphal says she’s excited about her new opportunity, but will miss her old job.
“It’s bittersweet because I’ve really enjoyed being at Grant,” she says. “I really enjoy the students and community and staff and it’s been a good place to be.”
Campbell has faith in the new administrators and the strengths they’ll bring.
“I think that all three administrators bring different strengths onto the team,” she says, citing Parman’s strong instructional abilities, Lewis’s experiences with disciplinary action at Grant and Mahlum’s communication skills.
Campbell and the newly appointed vice principals will meet in the next two or three weeks to discuss goals and plan for the year ahead.
“We’re gonna get together to plan on how best to support all students,” says Lewis. “That’s definitely something I’m interested in, is trying to make sure that all students have an opportunity to have a great educational experience.”