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Bremerton High's new principal awaits return to West side

For Bremerton High School's new principal John Polm, the cross-state move from the small town of Chewelah to Bremerton is a return to the West side.

Polm and his wife Julie are from Longview, and after more than 20 years in eastern Washington, he is ready to come back to the other side of the mountains.

He accepted the principal position at Bremerton High School March 29 after a two-month search by the Bremerton School District and will officially resume the post July 1.

"I'm at a stage where I'm interested in some other challenges professionally," said Polm, who graduated from University of Puget Sound in 1985. "We're just really enthusiastic and excited."

Polm, 46, has spent the last 16 years at Jenkins High School in Chewelah, where he served as principal for 13 years. Before that, he taught and coached for eight years at Columbia High School and Columbia Middle School in Burbank, just east of the Tri-Cities.

When Polm visited Bremerton High as a finalist for the principal job, he interviewed faculty, staff and students and said he was impressed with the school's positive climate.

"I felt that the school community and the community at large was student-centered," he said. "Our goal as a school is really to help students meet their highest potential."

Superintendent Lester "Flip" Herndon said last week that Polm's professional experience and his focus on student motivation and extracurricular activities made him the best candidate among the 20 applicants.

Polm wants to help Bremerton students meet state testing standards, which he said is a struggle in schools statewide. Other than that, his main goal from the start will be to maintain and build upon the quality of education at Bremerton High School.

The school's previous principal, Aaron Leavell, departed last year for an administrative position at the North Kitsap School District after being named Washington's High School Principal of the Year. Since then, former assistant principal Katharine Gleysteen served as the interim principal.

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