Ron Banner may be new to the superintendent’s office, but he is no stranger to Clover Park School District. He has spent the last 17 years in the school district as a principal and administrator. It is his familiarity with the district as both an educator and a parent that drives his work as superintendent.
At an event welcoming teachers back for the new school year in August, Banner relayed the story of a sign he saw while on vacation. It read “Drive like your kids live here.” He thought it applied perfectly to education.
He told the audience of teachers and administrators that he wanted them all to “teach like your kids go here.” For him, it’s not just a mantra, it’s a fact. His two sons both graduated from Lakes High School and his daughter is currently a sophomore there.
“My biggest goal is to give back to my community,” he said. “I want to make things better than they were when I got there, and I want every student to get what I want for my own children: a strong education.”
Banner earned his teaching certificate from Washington State University and began his teaching career at Maple Lane, a boy’s prison in the Juvenile Rehabilitation system in southwest Washington. He taught health and physical education there for eight years, all while working to earn his administrative credentials.
In 2003, he accepted a position as assistant principal at Woodbrook Middle School and was leading his own building three years later at Southgate Elementary School. He spent eight years as principal of Mann Middle School before moving to the district offices to become assistant superintendent for elementary schools in 2015.
Banner loves working with students. He has been working one on one in a mentorship role with members of the Lakes High School football team since he moved to the district offices, teaching them about character and leadership.
Even now that he is superintendent, he has kept up that passion for mentoring. He meets with his current mentee, Lakes sophomore Adam Allen, at least once every two weeks. They talk about Adam’s grades and how he’s doing in school. Banner gives him praise when he deserves it and tough love when he needs it.
“Having that male role model in his life that he doesn’t have at home has made a huge difference,” said Adam’s mother Grace Allen. “Adam has learned a lot about accountability, and when he can’t talk to me about something, he knows he can turn to Mr. Banner.”
Banner believes strongly in the principles of servant leadership. Whether he’s talking to a room full of teachers or working one on one as a mentor, he is most comfortable when he’s leading the way to make his community a better place.