District names new principal

The South Whidbey Board of Education has approved the hiring choice of Superintendent Bob Brown for Langley Middle School principal. Hired was Rod Merrell, an assistant principal in Mountlake Terrace.

Merrell lives in Coupeville with his wife and three children.

“This is a great community,” Merrell told a group of middle school staff and parents recently. “I can make a difference at Langley Middle School.”

When asked how he would maintain staff morale, Merrell said supporting the entire staff is important.

“And, getting together to celebrate the good things that are happening at school. My door is always open,” Merrell said.

Merrell was chosen from three finalists; Randy Heath, an assistant middle school principal in the Franklin Pierce School District and Greg Willis, former principal at Langley Middle School.

Willis left the district last year after 20 years in South Whidbey schools for a principal’s position in the Edmonds School District.

The hiring process did cause some concern in recent weeks. Several members of the middle school hiring committee said their voices were not heard during the hiring process. A group of 20 middle school staff members attended the March 27 school board meeting and urged board members to slow down the hiring process. As a result the decision was delayed two weeks while District Superintendent Brown met with staff members to explain the criteria he used in his hiring decision.

“I think Rod will be good for the staff and students at the middle school,” Brown said.

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