Steilacoom, WA — In its 155-year history as a School District, Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1 has only had five superintendents.
After 14 years of guiding the district, Dr. Art Himmler announced recently that he has accepted a position as superintendent of the Omak, WA School District. The new position is effective July 1, 2009.
During his Steilacoom years, Dr. Himmler has overseen the doubling of district enrollment. Effective Sept. 2005 because of that district growth, Steilacoom, formerly ranked as a second-class district, moved into a first class ranking. Enrollment growth was prompted by the addition of an Internet program, which draws on students from around the state.
In 1997, under Dr. Himmler’s leadership and with citizen passage of capital bonds, the District moved into the Technology Era. From a handful of Apple II’s, then in a storage room, to today’s classrooms outfitted with cutting edge interactive instructional technology, the District is offering its students a premier opportunity for digital learning. In recognition of this achievement and others, Dr. Himmler was recently named one of the nation’s “Top Ten Tech-Savvy Superintendents”.
A major accomplishment during Dr. Himmler’s 14-year-tenure was the 2005 resolution of the Steilacoom-Clover Park Boundary dispute. Effective 2010 funds from that settlement will come to Steilacoom schools.
Since moving to Steilacoom from the Carbonado School District, Dr. Himmler has overseen the remodel and renovation to Cherrydale Primary and Saltar’s Point Elementary and Anderson Island Elementary schools. In 2001, the district added Chloe Clark Elementary School at DuPont/Northwest Landing as its newest school. This past fall the district opened Pioneer Middle School at DuPont/Northwest Landing. Renovation/remodeling is currently underway at Steilacoom High School, which opened in 1980. A formal opening is anticipated later this spring.
Other milestones during Dr. Himmler’s tenure have passage of two capital construction bonds and regular school levies. Because of the efforts of the district’s dedicated levy committee members, approval of those issues has been at higher rates than any around the county or state.
Raising the level of achievement on state testing standards has been another hallmark of Dr. Himmler’s tenure, including encouraging district teachers to seek National Board Certification for its educators. In 2008 Dr. Himmler was recognized for his efforts on behalf of the district’s music program.
Not only has Dr. Himmler made a positive mark in Steilacoom’s Schools, but also in the community as well, having served as President of Kiwanis of Steilacoom, an activity which the district continues to support.
Growth in the number of volunteers in the district is another aspect of the community ties the district has nurtured. Steilacoom’s high percentage of volunteers is the envy of many other districts around the county.
“We wish Dr. Himmler the best of success in his new role, knowing that the Omak District will benefit from his experience. He will be sorely missed by many in our community,” said Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas.
Note: Steilacoom Historical School District #1 was established in 1854-Pierce County’s First School District.
Pioneer Steilacoom resident Nathaniel Orr was the District’s first “Clerk of Schools”, followed by other notable town residents such as E. R. Rogers, Thomas Chambers and Stephen Judson.
As the district grew, in 1962 Pioneer Middle School principal Blair Taylor became the district’s First Superintendent. Taylor was followed by Richard Wilson, Dr. James Maw, Steve Wilson and, most recently, Dr. Art Himmler.