Ki-Be school district shakes up staffing

Ki-Be school district shakes up staffing »Play Video
BENTON CITY, Wash. -- On Monday night, school board president Tim Cook announced Wayne Barrett, the 7 year principal of Kiona-Benton High School will be leaving at the end of the school year in June. The remainder of his term will be served, not as principal, but as “Special Projects Administrator” working with the same man who asked him to leave the building in February – Superintendent Wade Haun.

Barrett will receive the same pay and benefits he did as principal. He is said to be finishing the requirements needed to obtain his superintendent certificate, and plans “on moving on to one of many open positions in other Districts.”

Shawnta DiFalco will serve as High School Principal for the remainder of the year. She has been the acting interim since February 24. Cook read a statement that said “The Board of Directors, and Superintendent Wake Haun, are in agreement that Ms. DiFalco has done a commendable job while assigned as principal. Her retention in that role has the support of the teaching staff at the school, as well as the teachers’ union.”

After announcing Barrett’s impending departure, Tim Cook announced the school would be eliminating Vance Wing's position. Wing is the Executive Director handling athletics and curriculum. Cook called the measure a “cost-saving move,” but it comes on the heels of Wing’s recommendations to fire the Girl’s High School Basketball Coach and reassign the Girl’s High School Wrestling Coach. The basketball coach was reinstated after a show of student support during a school board meeting in March, although the similar thing happened for the wrestling coach, Cook told KEPR their decision was final. Wing’s position is said to be getting re-distributed among existing staff.

However, Wing’s recommendation for Holly Graham's reassignment, which was specifically termed not a “demotion” from the High School Wrestling Coach to the Middle School, could cost them their current team.

“I refuse to wrestle next year if I don't wrestle for Holly,” said one of her wrestlers. “If she leaves, I can guarantee you I am not going to be here next year.” "Holly has treated every girl on that team fairly regardless of who her parents might be and who she gets along with," said one parent, directing her comments towards Tim Cook.

Graham’s reassignment follows a restraining order that she filed against Cook. The case was heard, but the order was not granted.

“Do your job, don't mix business with your personal life," said one male wrestler, to the cheers of the crowd. “It seems like before you guys make a move maybe you ought to talk to the kids first and see how they feel," said an upset parent.