Olympia principal gets new assignment

Brendon Chertok will slowly replace Bob Hodges at Garfield Elementary

lpemberton@theolympian.comMarch 19, 2014 

McKenny Elementary School principal Brendon Chertok has been hired as the new principal at Garfield Elementary School on Olympia’s west side.


Olympia’s Margaret McKenny Elementary School principal Brendon Chertok is getting a new title: Principal of Garfield Elementary School on Olympia’s west side.

Olympia School District officials announced the change on Tuesday, adding that it will be a gradual transition.

Chertok is replacing Bob Hodges, who doesn’t plan to retire until the end of the 2014-15 school year. Hodges plans to work half-time next school year, and share the responsibilities of heading the 350-student, Title 1 school with Chertok.

Both principals said they like the idea of co-leading a school.

“I have a feeling we’ll probably sit down this spring and talk about how we’ll best fit our schedules together to keep continuity in the school,” Chertok said.

Hodges described Chertok as “a capable and competent leader” and said he couldn’t be more pleased with his selection.

“Brendon and I have partnered at Camp Cispus for the past eight years, which has given me a chance to get to know him well,” he said.

In addition to co-leading Garfield, Chertok will spend next school year assisting district administrators on several big projects, including the rollout of a new K-5 math curriculum and implementation of the teacher-principal evaluation project.

Chertok has a teaching degree from Saint Martin’s University, and a master’s and principal certification from the University of Washington. He began his teaching career in Lacey in 1994, and joined the Olympia School District in 1997 as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and principal designee at Boston Harbor Elementary School.

He has served as principal at McKenny Elementary since 2006.

Chertok and his wife, Rachele, have lived in the Garfield neighborhood for several years, and their boys attended the school.

He said it feels bittersweet to leave McKenny.

“It’s been the most fulfilling professional experience in my life,” he said. “I love the staff and the community, but after eight years I started thinking change could be a good thing for me, and re-energize me for the work and the challenges. It’s good for the school, too.”

District officials plan to meet soon with McKenny staff and families to make a plan for the school’s principal search, Chertok said.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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