Bell replaces former principal Carlos Sequeira, who abruptly resigned in early March for personal reasons

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - Ken Bell, left, is congratulated by teacher Terrill Smith, Monday, following the announcement that he would take over as the new Sherwood High School principal.At an early-morning meeting for staff in the Sherwood High School media center April 29, Superintendent Heather Cordie announced that Associate Principal Ken Bell would become the new principal July 1, and Bell could finally breathe a sigh of relief after carrying around the secret since the previous Thursday.

Bell, who was hired as one of SHS’s two associate principals less than a year ago, was told Thursday, April 25, by Cordie that he had been chosen to replace former principal Carlos Sequeira, who abruptly resigned in early March for 'personal reasons' after less than two years on the job.

‘This is my dream spot (Sherwood) and my dream job,” Bell said in his office following the announcement. “I couldn’t have been more thrilled or excited or humbled. The hardest part was keeping it quiet when I was so excited. I told Heather that I looked solemn, but it was hard to keep my feet on the ground. And I had teachers’ conferences all day Friday, so I had to face the staff one on one.”by: BARBARA SHERMAN - Ken Bell will keep his office at Sherwood High School as he transitions from associate principal to principal on July 1.

Bell previously worked at Sunset High School in Beaverton for the past 17 years, where he was a business education and social studies teacher from 1995 to 2010 as well as the attendance coordinator from 1999 to 2003; from 2010 to 2012, Bell was a member of the Sunset administrative team serving as the student education plan and profile coordinator as well as student supervisor.

Prior to Sunset, Bell taught business education and social studies at Pendleton High School from 1992 to 1995; and he was head cross country and assistant track coach at Aloha High School from 1989 to 1992. He also was head cross country and track coach at Pendleton (1992 to 1995) and Sunset (1995 to 2005) as well as assistant football coach (2009 to 2010) and assistant girls basketball coach (2005 to 2010) at Sunset.

Bell earned a bachelor of science in social science in 1991 at Portland State University, a master’s degree in the art of teaching in 1996 at Lewis and Clark College, and his initial administrative license in 2011 at Portland State University.

“I love Sherwood,” Bell said. “It was always a leader in so many ways and pushing the envelope for changes. It is a community that loves its kids and makes education a priority.”

Bell first applied for a job as SHS associate principal two years ago but didn't get it.

“I didn’t apply anywhere else,” he added, waiting a year and applying again, when he was successful.

“Becoming principal was something I really wanted and hoped for, but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Bell said. “This essentially was my goal.”

At the “stand-up” meeting in the media center, Cordie told the staff members that she appreciated their input on the qualities they wanted in a new principal, which was a major influence on Bell’s promotion. She explained that as she met with staff members on the Friday before spring break, they openly shared their thoughts and opinions.

“I appreciate your courage and honesty,” Cordie said. “That day we were ready to post the position nationwide, but truly because of your input, we didn’t post the position externally.”

Cordie said that over spring break, she reflected on the staff’s comments and decided to post the position internally when she came back to work.

“We had very strong candidates, and every one had the qualities and characteristics you said we needed to move forward,” she said.

A committee made up of district personnel, two School Board members and residents interviewed the applicants and recommended BARBARA SHERMAN - Ken Bell, who was just named the new Sherwood High School principal April 29, is congratulated by Superintendent Heather Cordie in the media center following the announcement.

After Cordie announced his name at the staff meeting, Bell thanked everyone, especially Associate Principal Brian Bailey “for his support and friendship,” and added that the position of SHS associate principal would be posted that afternoon to “add a new member to our outstanding team.”

“Let’s have a great end to the school year,” he added. “It’s a great day to be a Bowman – especially today.”

As the teachers exited the media center, they were given a prepared statement to read at the beginning of the first period about Bell’s appointment so that the students would hear it at school first.

Back in his office, Bell said that he and Bailey had divided up the associate principal duties this past year – with Bell responsible for freshmen and seniors, and Bailey for sophomores and juniors; they also divided up the departments, with Bell responsible for social studies; career technical education; and arts.

“We did it based on our strengths and to give us more experience,” he said.

As for the process used to select the new principal, Bell said, “I felt really good about it, but I was nervous because I really wanted the job. A lot of this job is making sure we do the right things. There is already a lot going right around here, but we want to find ways to get even better.”

One aspect of the transition will be easy for Bell – he won’t even have to change offices, but he noted, “If I’m doing my job right, I shouldn’t be spending much time in here – I try to get around as much as I can and use my iPad to check email when I get the chance.”

Bell lives on Cooper Mountain with his wife J.J., and they have three children – Alan, 20, who attends Pacific Lutheran University; Kacie, who is a freshman at Sunset; and Jackson, 6, who is in kindergarten. However, Bell added, “I’m hoping to make a move to Sherwood.”

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