Sarah Condreay, an 11-year teaching veteran at Sumas Elementary, will take the reigns as the new principal of Sumas next year. And she'll do so in an entirely new building, welcoming both students and the community to a fresh educational experience.
"It feels really hopeful," she says. "These last few years have been hard and draining on everyone, from teachers and staff to kids, families and the Sumas community. It feels hopeful to move into a new building."
Current Sumas principal Megan Vigre will transition to the district office as the new director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Condreay has spent two years working side-by-side with Vigre as she learns the intricacies of leading an elementary school. "Megan's good at seeing big system things and she's good at asking questions—what kinds of things can we implement in every classroom in our school that will impact our kids in math and reading?—and then working on those things with teams of teachers," Condreay says.
Condreay started out teaching math and science at Sumas when elementary teachers were specialized in subjects. She then became a teacher leader about 10 years ago and added a master's degree in instructional leadership. For the past seven years, she has worked as a teacher on special assignment, both teaching math in the classroom and helping lead the district's effort on math instruction. For the past two years she has served as an administrative intern at Sumas, learning the principal position.
Matt Galley, superintendent, says Condreay has already demonstrated her ability to work closely with staff and facilitate teacher growth in her recent roles. "She has also been an integral part of the Sumas staff and community for her entire 11-year career and will maintain the wonderful family culture they have created," he said. "Next year was always going to provide an opportunity for Sumas to re-vision as they moved into their new school. With the massive impacts of the flood and now a new principal, it adds even more significance. Sarah and the entire staff at Sumas will do a wonderful job of working with students and families to recreate an amazing culture in their brand-new building."
For Condreay, staying connected to students and teachers is the ultimate best-case scenario. "I think I really love teaching and being in the classroom and that has been my passion for as long as I can remember," she says. "I also really love making sure all spaces and classrooms are places kids can thrive. I like that the principal role allows me to work with teachers and work as a team for that big picture school community where every classroom is a place where kids love to come to school."
Sumas students will get an early taste of life in the new building at the end of this school year. The fifth grade "moving on ceremony" will take place in the new building, which will officially open to students in fall 2022. The entire school body will be at the new building for that day, the first big event in the new space, a celebration for the entire Sumas community. And it will be a celebration Condreay is excited to use to kick off a season of hope at Sumas.