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Greg Baker

Superintendent

Dr. Greg Baker became superintendent of Bellingham Public Schools in July 2010. As Bellingham's superintendent, he has spent time getting to know our school system and community through a comprehensive Entry Plan process. This provided part of the foundation for the development of The Bellingham Promise. In spring 2014, Dr. Baker earned Washington state’s Crystal Apple Award, presented to an individual who has given tirelessly of themselves to enhance positive stakeholder perceptions of K-12 public schools. He received this honor in recognition of his commitment to inclusive and transparent communications and The Bellingham Promise. Prior to Bellingham, he served as a deputy superintendent for Portland Public Schools. He has also served as an intern and special assistant to the superintendent of Boston Public Schools and as an administrator for Spokane Public Schools. He began his career in Alaska as a teacher and assistant coach. Dr. Baker received his doctorate from Harvard University; a master's degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University; and a master's degree in secondary education from Western Washington University. He earned his bachelor's degree with distinction from Gonzaga University. He and his wife live in Bellingham with their three children, who attend Bellingham Public Schools.

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Steve Clarke

Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning

Steve Clarke began his role as Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning in July 2011. In this position, Clarke supports the Department of Teaching and Learning and school principals.

Clarke served as Bellingham High School principal from 2000-11. As Bellingham’s planning principal from 1998-00, he helped the student body transition from a building that closed for a major remodel in 1998 and reopened in 2000. During the transition for the school year of 1999-00, he worked at Sehome High School as interim principal. Prior to becoming principal at Bellingham High, Clarke taught English and drama from 1985-93. From 1993-95, Clarke was assistant principal of Nooksack Valley Jr./Sr. High School. He worked as assistant principal at Bellingham from 1995-98, before becoming the principal in 2000, after the reopening. In 2005, Clarke received the honor of Washington State Principal of the Year and was selected as one of only three finalists for National Principal of the Year. He earned his master’s degree in school administration and his bachelor’s degree in education, both from Western Washington University.

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Michael Copland

Deputy Superintendent

Dr. Mike Copland joined Bellingham Public Schools in the summer of 2013 to serve as Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. He began his teaching career at Whatcom Middle School, later becoming assistant principal there and went on to lead Shuksan and Fairhaven middle schools as principal during the 1990s.

Dr. Copland served as a lead senior program officer on the U.S. team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation prior to returning to Bellingham. Copland previously served as associate professor and chair of the area of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington College of Education, and directed the Leadership for Learning Ed. D. program there. Earlier, Copland served as a faculty member and director of the Prospective Principals Program at Stanford University.

He graduated from Bellingham High School, and earned his bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in school administration, both from Western Washington University. His doctorate is from Stanford University. He and his wife, Brenda, also a Bellingham native and graduate of Bellingham High and WWU, have three grown children.

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Ron Cowan

Executive Director, Capital Projects and School Facilities

Ron Cowan graduated from Western Washington University in 1979, majoring in secondary education/mathematics. He received his master’s degree in 1984 from Western in secondary educational administration. Cowan began his professional career in the Ferndale School District in 1979 as a mathematics/computer science teacher at Ferndale High School. He became assistant principal/athletic director in 1983, and was promoted to Director of Business and Operations in 1988. He became Assistant Superintendent in 1997, a position he served in until August of 2005, when Cowan was hired as Assistant Superintendent for Bellingham Public Schools. In May 2015, he transitioned his focus to capital projects, and buildings and grounds. Cowan was recognized by The Bellingham Herald in Dec. 2011 as part of the 10 Who Cared series due to his involvement in the rebuilding and reopening of Whatcom Middle School after a fire in 2009 destroyed the building.

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Kurt Gazow

Executive Director, Educational Technology

Kurt Gazow was hired as Executive Director of Educational Technology in January 2014. He previously worked for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Wash. as the manager of information technology, a senior leadership position for the fifth largest school district in Washington state. He worked for Evergreen from 2005 until he joined Bellingham Public Schools. In Evergreen he was known for using his leadership in information technology to facilitate the creativity and success of students and staff. From 1999-2005, he was technology director for Camas School District. Previously, he worked as Academic Cooperative program manager for Microsoft. Gazow has his bachelor's degree from the University of Washington.

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Nora Klewiada

Executive Director, Human Resources

Nora Klewiada is the Executive Director of Human Resources. She came to Bellingham Public Schools in 1995 as Administrator for Personnel and Staff Relations. Klewiada previously worked for Federal Way School District where she was the Assistant Director of Human Resources. She has also worked as the Director of Human Resources for Haggen, Inc. Klewiada began her educational career in New Jersey as an elementary art teacher. She earned her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. She and her husband live in Bellingham.

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Bob Kuehl

Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources

Bob Kuehl was hired as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in July 2013. Kuehl worked for the Tumwater School District for 30 years. He was the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources; from 2005-08, the Executive Director of Human Resources; from 2003-05, Director of Capital Projects and District Programs; from 2001-03, Director of Secondary Education; and before that, he was a high school principal, assistant principal and teacher. Kuehl has his superintendent’s credentials from Washington State University, his master’s degree from the University of Puget Sound in administration and his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University. He brings a variety of experience to our school district and a passion for working collaboratively to build strong relationships with staff, labor leaders and our community.

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Rob McElroy

Executive Administrator on Special Assignment

Executive Administrator Rob McElroy was hired with Bellingham Public Schools in 1979 as a middle school core teacher and coach. He was an assistant principal at Fairhaven Middle School in 1984 and later at Roosevelt and Carl Cozier elementary schools. He served as principal at several elementary schools including Larrabee, Happy Valley, Lowell and Wade King from 1992 to 2011. During his time at Wade King, he led a process for the school to become the first authorized International Baccalaureate World School offering the Primary Years Program in Washington State. McElroy has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in educational administration from Western Washington University. His wife, Valorie, is a kindergarten teacher at Wade King. He and his wife have five grown children who attended Bellingham Public Schools.

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Isabel Meaker

Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Family Engagement

Isabel Meaker was first introduced to Bellingham Public Schools as an AmeriCorps Volunteer working as a diversity specialist with Woodring College of Education in 2009. In 2011, Meaker was hired as the Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Family Engagement. Meaker has a bachelor's degree in business from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from Western Washington University.

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Tanya Rowe

Executive Director, Communications and Community Relations

Tanya Rowe has been leading the Department of Communications and Community Relations since June 2004. Previously, Rowe worked at Western Washington University for five years in communications. She started her career as a journalist for a variety of daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Washington D.C., Indiana and for the Bellingham Herald. Rowe has a bachelor's degree in print and broadcast journalism from Eastern Michigan University; completed the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University and earned a master's degree in English from Western Washington University. She and her husband live in Bellingham with one young child.

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Simone Sangster

Assistant Superintendent, Finance and Operations

Dr. Simone Sangster was hired as Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations in May 2015. Since 2011, Dr. Sangster worked as the Chief Financial Officer for Lane County School District 4J in Eugene, Ore., and also oversaw nutritional services. Prior, she worked as Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations and School Support in Bellevue School District. While working on her doctorate, she conducted research analysis for Education Resource Strategies. She earned her doctorate from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and her bachelor's degree from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

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