Key positions fill for Lynden Schools with the Lynden School Board’s announcement of new hires across the district, including a new principal for Bernice Vossbeck Elementary, two new assistant principals at Lynden High School, a district special education director and a new head coach for the defending state championship girls basketball team.
Michelle Nilsen, BVE principal
Nilsen moves from her current position as assistant principal at Lynden High School to fill the open principal position at Bernice Vossbeck, which had been held for the past two years on an interim basis.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to joining the BVE team,” she says. “I am most excited about ensuring our students have a positive school experience that will stick with them through the rest of their school career.”
Nilsen says she loves having the opportunity to “turn kids on to learning and reading” and the change for her is thrilling, allowing to be part of a bigger purpose to make a difference for the students in the district.
Her focus will be on supporting staff and creating the best possible learning experiences and opportunities for students. “I believe that BVE is a great fit for me as this staff has proven that they are lifelong learners who continually raise the bar and then motivate, teach and support all students to do their best to reach it,” she says. “We will continue to hone our instruction to provide students with the skills necessary to be competitive in school and life, while at the same time loving them and providing a safe place for learning to blossom.”
Rex Fraser, LHS assistant principal
Fraser, currently the dean of students at Lynden Middle School, will shift to LHS to serve as one of the school’s two assistant principals.
“It’s great to be staying in the district and for an opportunity to discover new ways to serve our families,” Fraser says. “I’m proud of the work we are doing together as a district and am excited to see the new heights we will reach together in the years to come. For years, I’ve admired the growth and accomplishments of the high school and I am looking forward to becoming a part of their incredible team.”
David Kish, LHS assistant principal
Kish will fill the second assistant principal slot at LHS, the first time the growing school has had two assistant principals. After 19 years as a high school teacher, coach and building leader, most recently as the dean of students at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham where Kish was responsible for helping students build relationships, grow and find success in class and personal challenges, he’s looking forward to learning with Lynden staff on how to continue to support students at Lynden.
“My initial focus will be on building relationships with the students, their families and the staff at LHS,” he says. “I will also focus on identifying and removing barriers to student success and helping the staff learn and grow in their craft.”
Kish says Lynden is similar to the first two communities and high schools he worked in before moving to Bellingham and is looking forward to being a part of a small school community that cares deeply about students. “I love high school and being able to see our young adults showcase their talents in the class, on the stage, on the athletic fields and in our community.”
Rebecca Morgan, special education director
As Tim Metz shifts his role to focus on student services, the district has added Rebecca Morgan as special education director. Currently an assistant director in the Springfield School District in Eugene, Oregon, Morgan plans to start with Lynden this summer. Morgan will also take over responsibilities as the principal of the Lynden preschool, now with over 100 students.
Aaron Bogaard, girls basketball head coach
Bogaard, who has spent the last five seasons on staff as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team, moves into the head role for the next season.
“It’s an honor to be associated with Lynden athletics and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to lead the Lynden girls basketball program,” he says. “The program is at an all-time high and we have some talented girls coming back off of our state championship run. I’m excited to get back into the gym with them and get to work.”
The girls basketball team has won the 2A state title in two of the last four years.