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Hale the chief

"Photo: In a surprise move, Doug Hale on Monday night was appointed interim principal of South Whidbey Intermediate School.Jim Larsen / staff photoJohn DeForest resigned unexpectedly last week as principal of South Whidbey Intermediate School, but the position was not vacant for long.Monday night, the school board unanimously appointed Doug Hale to the position on a one-year interim basis.Hale, vice principal at South Whidbey High School for the last two years, will be someone the third-through-fifth graders at the intermediate school can really look up to -- literally. At 6 feet, 7 inches tall, he will tower over the students as well as the staff.Following the school board's action, Hale described himself as surprised by his quick promotion to principal. I was asked to fill in on an interim one-year basis, he said. I thought it was a real show of confidence. I feel very honored. About 10 intermediate school staff members attended the board meeting to lament the loss of DeForest and give their support to Hale. It was really heartwarming, Hale said of remarks made by veteran teacher Kathy Callahan. He (DeForest) did an outstanding job. According to Hale, DeForest cited personal, family matters for his decision to leave. That's all he shared, he said.DeForest's resignation was announced to staff by e-mail last Wednesday, said Hale. DeForest formerly directed Bayview High School, and became interim principal at the intermediate school last year following the resignation of Patricia Toombs. Just this spring, DeForest was appointed permanent principal after being commended by the school board for a job well done.Monday night, Hale wasn't even sure when his first official day on the job would be, but he planned to come in Tuesday to get started. This was a goal, to become a principal, he said. But he also regretted leaving his duties at South Whidbey High School, and added that he would be happy to return there next year if that is the school board's preference. I'd go back with no qualms, he said.But for now, at least, it's Principal Doug Hale.Meanwhile, the transfer will leave a vacancy at the high school, but Principal Mike Johnson told the board he supports Hale's decision to take the new job. This is a great opportunity for him, Johnson said. We'll survive at the high school.Hale and his wife Kathy have two daughters, Sarah, 8, and Jessica, who starts kindergarten this year. They make their home in Bothell. "

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