Albertson outlines 120-day plan for district

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) Tuesday’s Lake Pend Oreille School District meeting was the first for former Sandpoint High School principal Tom Albertson, second from right, as he took on his new role as the district’s superintendent.

PONDERAY — It was a new perspective for Tom Albertson as he attended the Lake Pend Oreille School District meeting on Tuesday.

He is no stranger to the meetings, having sat through them as an audience and staff member in his capacity as a teacher, assistant principal and principal of Sandpoint High School for many years. On Tuesday, however, he faced the audience as head of the district in his new role as superintendent. LPOSD board chair Cary Kelly welcomed Albertson, and said the board is happy to have him as superintendent as it gets them “off and running” as the next school year approaches.

“It puts us so far ahead of if it had been anyone else who wasn’t as familiar with the district,” Kelly said.

The first meeting of the fiscal year for the district was a brief one, starting with an introduction to Albertson as he briefly went over a 120-day plan he created, as well as the search for a new SHS principal.

Albertson’s 120-day plan outlines his immediate goals with the district, with five areas of focus. The first, gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of the district with what he called a “listen and learn” tour, which started his first day on the job, July 1. Other areas of focus include building a collaborative relationship with the board of trustees, establishing positive relationships with staff and community members, outlining challenges that lay ahead, and addressing immediate — a new SHS principal.

The application posting for principal position closed this past Monday with 15 applicants, Albertson said. In the meantime, the classified and certified staff at SHS were given a form to fill out that would give Albertson an idea of the characteristics they are looking for in a principal. With 25 responses, Albertson said he decided to interview five or six of the applicants, rather than two or three as would be typical, in order to honor the staff’s input.

“We felt that there were five or six that met their criteria, and I really want to honor their work,” Albertson said.

Albertson said they will make a decision by Monday as to who the new principal will be.

In the final order of business for the evening, the board approved a call for trustee elections. Board clerk Kelly Fisher said two of the trustee zones are coming up for election in November, including Zone 1, currently held by Purley Decker, and Zone 4, held by vice chair Geraldine Lewis.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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