The first time Patrick McClure ever came to Lynden was more than five years ago when he interviewed for the vacant assistant principal position at Lynden Middle School. That first-ever visit proved to be a life-changer. After one visit he wanted to come back. And now he wants to stay.
“I love this town,” he says. “Working here and living here is a great opportunity for my family and great professionally.”
McClure makes that next move professionally this school year, taking over as the principal at Isom Elementary School, filling the role vacated when David VanderYacht moved into the district office as the new assistant superintendent.
“My dream was to be a principal,” McClure says. “The opportunity as the assistant principal the last five years working with two different principals was an awesome experience. When the opportunity (came open) to be at Isom, to stay in town and work in town and move into that position and still be in the same district, it was very exciting.”
McClure came to his Lynden Middle School role after teaching junior high English and social studies in Woodinville. While in Woodinville he was pursuing a role in school administration and saw the posting for Lynden job. Now his wife and four kids have fully immersed themselves in Lynden, living near Bender Fields and enjoying it all.
The love of living and working in Lynden made the Isom opportunity all that more special. “I know the people and how things work,” he says about the district. “I knew where Isom was at (from a culture point of view) versus a random district. Being able to become a principal right in this town was just huge.”
McClure has started settling in, but he isn’t the only one at Isom in a new role. With an “abnormally high amount of new staff,” McClure sees his most important first steps as supporting the growing school. Isom now has five portable buildings—three of those are regular classrooms—and added additional physical education and music teachers for this year to meet the needs of the students. “Just physically, the campus is being squeezed,” he says. “We are working out logistical stuff there.”
For a school that now has around 500 students—almost as big as the middle school he left—McClure knows that supporting both the new staff and the veteran staff with so much change going on around them will define the first few months of the position.
“Patrick brings five years of successful administration experience as the assistant principal at Lynden Middle School,” says superintendent Jim Frey. “He is a relationship-oriented leader who has a strong grasp of quality instruction and supporting teacher collaboration. He values gathering input as part of the decision making process and fosters a positive environment for kids and staff. Patrick works hard and takes his job seriously but balances that with a fun-loving approach that infuses humor and fun into the school day.”
For McClure personally, he’ll also need to handle the logistical transition from assistant principal to head principal and to a younger age. Having served as the principal of the Lynden summer school for the past three years and with his two oldest children of elementary age, McClure says he brings an awareness from both a principal and parent perspective of the younger age and that culture.
Even in a new position and leading new staff, McClure wants to bring the same personality and culture to Isom that he had at the middle school. “I want there to be an energy around student learning and that student culture,” he says. “It is a big piece for me, an excitement around kids. I want a building that provides a positive culture and a really supporting staff to help kids learn at high levels.”
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