SANDPOINT — With his old Sandpoint High School Bulldog letterman jacket hanging in his office window for all to see, the school’s new principal David Miles II said his return to SHS has been “fantastic.”
“It is just really exciting to be walking down the hallways, having memories flood back of not only when I was in high school here as a student, but also in high school here as a teacher,” Miles said.
Miles graduated from SHS in 1995 where he was taught by his predecessor and now superintendent of the Lake Pend Oreille School District, Tom Albertson. Miles returned to Sandpoint after graduating from the University of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in public communication and earning his teaching certificate in 2001. From 2002 through 2012, he taught speech for a time, and then primarily world history among various other social studies classes at SHS. Within that time, Miles said he spent two years in administrative assistance and then a year as an interim vice principal at SHS.
For the past six years, Miles was the principal of Boundary County Middle School in Bonners Ferry. He took over for Albertson as the SHS principal in July.
With the first week of school behind him, Miles said it went “really well,” with a positive atmosphere and supportive staff. Because of his history at SHS, Miles said he is able to support the teachers as well, looking back at what he needed and the support administration gave him to know what they need from him.
“I think staff are excited to see me back, which has been really cool,” he said, adding that there are, of course, some new staff as well.
The students have also been supportive of their new principal, he said. Each morning, Miles greets them at the front entrance, shaking hands with as many of the students as possible. The gesture, which has helped to create a welcoming atmosphere over the past week, has become has become a welcome expectation among some of the teens, he said.
“They come in with their hand ready to shake mine, whether I am ready or not,” he said. With 1,040 students at SHS, it is a bit different from the approximately 325 students at Boundary County Middle School, he said. The administrative experience at Bonners Ferry helped prepare him for the role nonetheless, he said. While there were some challenges during the first week, none of them were unexpected. With the number of students, the most daunting task will be trying to learn names, he said.
“I came in and I felt really prepared,” Miles said. “Having that previous experience as a principal, even know it was a smaller school, really set me up for knowing what I was going to find here at Sandpoint High School.”
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.