Jon Wollmuth is up for the challenge of stepping into a new community while traversing his educational career path.
For the last 13 years, Wollmuth has served as the principal of the Middleton and Archer Glen elementary schools in Sherwood, Oregon, and come July 1, he’ll take the reins in that same role at Island Park Elementary. After a decade as Island Park’s principal, David Hoffman will retire on June 30.
Wollmuth is excited to become the “lead learner” at Island Park. It’s an opportunity for him to “be a listener, be a relationship builder, be a learner, and then together as a team, move forward in directions that we feel that are the right steps to take,” he said.
Another important aspect of Wollmuth’s leadership style was solidified about 14 years ago when a colleague encouraged him to pursue the administration side of the school experience. Asking questions and listening to parents, staff and students to reach a common understanding is the best piece of advice he was given during that time of transition from classroom teacher to principal, he said.
While researching the Island community and school district prior to his interviews, he was drawn to locals’ support of and involvement in each level of education. Mercer Island felt like the right place for him.
Following three interviews for the job, Wollmuth received a confirmation call on April 4. A solid second interview with administrators, staff members and parents had Wollmuth feeling especially good about the school district and community.
“I’ve tended to be drawn to communities that are very tight knit. A lot of that has to do with the schools themselves kind of being a centerpiece, particularly for families that have students in the schools,” said Wollmuth, noting that his current school district in Sherwood — located 18 miles from Portland — also has a strong community feel and size similar to the Island.
“Aside from his experience as a school leader in two of the four Sherwood elementary schools, we were very impressed by his contributions to the school district, passion for the role of elementary principal, focus on students, and undeniable desire to join the Mercer Island School District,” said Deputy Superintendent Fred Rundle.
Wollmuth, 51, graduated from the University of Oregon in 1993 with a bachelor of arts degree in English, and received his master of arts in teaching from Pacific University in 1996.
He launched his teaching career in 1996 in the Tigard-Tualatin School District in Oregon, and also taught in the Lake Oswego School District in Oregon and at the International School of Zug and Luzern in Switzerland.
The Island school board introduced Wollmuth as the new principal at its April 21 meeting and he visited Island Park the following day to meet students and staff.