New principal hired for Centennial Elementary School in Olympia

A new principal will take the helm at Centennial Elementary School in Olympia later this month.

Olympia School District officials have hired Shannon Ritter to replace Alice Drummer who is retiring this year. Ritter, 43, of Olympia, has served as dean of students and assistant principal at Marshall Middle School and supported staff and students at Hansen Elementary School since 2010.

Superintendent Dick Cvitanich described Ritter as an outstanding leader and a good match for the 530-student school in southeast Olympia.

“She is student centered, and always exploring ways to help them grow as students, leaders and citizens,” Cvitanich said in a news release. “She is highly respected by parents and staff members for her instructional knowledge, strong interpersonal skills, organization and enthusiasm.”

Ritter has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a reading endorsement from Saint Martin’s University, and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from City University. She also has administrative credentials from Seattle Pacific University.

From 1995 to 2009, she worked at South Bay Elementary School in North Thurston Public Schools. She was dean of students at Aspire Middle School in Lacey for a year before moving to Marshall.

In an interview with The Olympian, Ritter said she’s looking forward to working with Centennial’s students, staff and community. She said she’s also excited about returning full-time to the elementary school level, where she began her career.

Ritter grew up in Centralia. She and her husband, Brian, have lived in the Olympia area for about 20 years. Their 13-year-old twins, son Avery and daughter Audrey, will be in eighth grade at Washington Middle School this fall.