Aberdeen’s Miller Junior High principal has been chosen to serve in that same role for the school district’s new Harbor Learning Center, a program under development that will open this year at the Hopkins Building and designed to improve academic outcomes by reorganizing, re-imagining and co-locating the non-traditional education choices available to students.
“One of the difficult pieces of the puzzle these past several years is that none of our non-traditional offerings are sustainable on their own,” said Aberdeen Superintendent Dr. Alicia Henderson. “We believe the Harbor Learning Center will allow us to manage them more cost-effectively, and that our students will achieve more success by co-locating these programs.”
Henderson also announced three other assignments for 2021-2022:
■ John Meers, principal at A.J. West Elementary School since 2012, will become principal at Miller Junior High School to fill the void created by Griebel’s new assignment.
■ John Crabb, principal at Central Park Elementary School since 2018, who has also been serving as athletic director this year, will become an assistant principal at Aberdeen High School.
■ Joan Hoehn, currently assistant principal at Miller Junior High School, will become principal of Central Park Elementary School and the Hopkins Preschool.
Lisa Griebel, Harbor Learning Center
Henderson said the pandemic has made it more important than ever that high schools become responsive so that all students are on a path to graduate when school resumes in-person this fall.
“Lisa Griebel is the perfect choice to be the principal for this endeavor,” she said. “She has a real heart for young teens and young adults, along with a proven background as a junior high and high school principal, behavior interventionist and school counselor.”
The Harbor Learning Center will house Harbor High School, which is being renamed Harbor Jr./Sr. High School to serve grades 7-12; Grays Harbor Academy, which is the district’s online school; and the GED program, which currently is offered at the detention center and by an outside vendor. In addition, a Grays Harbor College program for adults seeking to finish their high school diploma may also be included.
Griebel has been principal at Miller Junior High since 2014. Prior to that, she spent more than 20 years in the Federal Way School District in teaching and administrative roles. She earned her master’s degree in school counseling and her administrative certificate from Seattle Pacific University.
“While I will miss the Miller Junior High community, I am honored to serve our district in a new way,” said Griebel. “I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to increase the opportunities available for our area’s youth.”
John Meers, Miller Junior High School
Meers earned his AA from Grays Harbor College and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees with honors, including principal certification, from Pacific Lutheran University. He served in various teaching and leadership roles in the Bethel School District before accepting the position as principal at A.J. West Elementary School.
“I am going to miss A.J. West very much,” said Meers. “Everyone knows how special this school is. But I also look forward to being the principal at Miller Junior High School. I have a great deal of experience working with middle school students, and I will work hard to ensure that Miller continues to be an integral part of the Aberdeen community.”
John Crabb, Athletic Director
Last year, Crabb, principal at Central Park Elementary School, was asked to also serve as athletic director. In his new role as an assistant principal he will retain athletic director responsibilities. Crabb is an Aberdeen High School grad whose his father taught at the high school for many years, and he says being at the high school has been a very positive experience this year.
“One of the things that I love about Central Park is the extension of community,” he said. “I have built professional and personal relationships and you can’t replace those. Our staff is outstanding and our PTO is second to none. As a school and a community everyone is really bonded. That’s hard to leave. However, after serving as athletic director, I see that the high school is even more of an extension of the entire community of Aberdeen; the community where I was born and raised, and that I love. It’s a 180-degree change in some respects, but to be a part of it on this level, and to be part of a team of administrators, teachers, coaches, athletes and cheerleaders who bring our community together is something I want to do.”
Joan Hoehn, Central Park Elementary and Hopkins Preschool
Hoehn has been a principal in the district since 2016, including the past four years at Miller Junior High School as assistant principal where the school successfully transitioned from serving grades 7-8 to now serving grades 6-8. Henderson said her new assignment as principal for Central Park Elementary and the Hopkins Preschool taps into her literacy and early learning expertise.
“I am very humbled and honored to join the excellent school community at Central Park,” said Hoehn. “I share the staff and community’s dedication to caring for our students every day while providing them with meaningful learning in a compassionate environment.”
Henderson said the district will advertise the positions it is not filling internally, including principal at A.J. West Elementary and assistant principal at Miller Junior High School.
“We are so fortunate in our district to have a leadership team with the experience and capacity to adapt to changing circumstances,” said Henderson. “Each of these administrators has been successful in their current positions and I have no doubt they will be successful moving forward.”