New principal at Warm Springs Academy
With school slated to start next week, students and families can expect to see some new faces around the Jefferson County school district's classrooms and hallways, particularly one who is stepping into an administrative role at the Warm Springs K-8 Academy.
Bambi Van Dyke, the new Warm Springs principal, completed her work at St. Charles Mission School on the Crow Reservation in Pryor, Montana, on Aug. 22, and moved over the weekend to begin work with the rest of her new school Aug. 26 — a mere three-day transition.
"It's a fast transition to get out there, but I am super excited. I am thrilled to be taking this position, to be able to step up and do what I can to help this school," Van Dyke said.
"I have been at that same school for like 10 years, but I have been an administrator for six," she said.
Coming from one K-8 school to another, and one reservation to another, Van Dyke said she thinks there will be quite a few similarities.
"The school that I just came from, we have been working, since I have been there, to preserve the language. That's a big parallel that we will have between the two schools," she said.
"Mine is just one language but (Warm Springs) is three and I think that I can bring some really good ideas to the school in preserving languages for their native history and culture."
Originally from Gresham, Van Dyke said family is important to her. Somewhat recently, her stepfather passed away from cancer and she wanted to move back and be closer to her mother. So, when the job came up, she applied.
"It wasn't that I was looking for a different job, it was just that family is a very important to me," she said.
Van Dyke and her husband arrived on Aug. 25, so she could begin work last Monday. She said they have a daughter who recently graduated from school with her nursing degree.
Looking toward the weeks ahead and her new position, Van Dyke said people should know, above all else, she is here to support the students.
"I will promote the culture; I will promote the language and I will also promote academics," she said. "I am here for the students. I am a proud Native American, too," she continued, adding she is Assiniboine and Sioux.
"I would hope to work together as a community. I mean it takes a village to raise a child and I just hope that we can bring everybody together to do the best things we can for the students," she said.
509-J Superintendent Ken Parshall said, "One of the things we are excited about is Bambi helped improve her students' performance on the state tests in literacy. She also embraced the native culture and native language."
He also mentioned that before she became the principal of her previous school, she had experience teaching third and sixth grades.
"We think she is going to be a very good leader and a very good fit for our school," he said.
Parshall said Van Dyke joins another new administrator at the K-8 school this year. Longtime 509-J employee Lonnie Henderson — who has proved very adaptable, holding various positions for the district — is the new assistant principal in Warm Springs. They will both join returning Assistant Principal Diane Dominiak, as well as new leadership support Sara Ticer.
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