Mary Kleekamp and Shawn Wallace have been named the new assistant principals at Washington High School, effective July 1.
They replace John Ragan, who will retire, and Dr. Kelle McCallum, who will take over as WHS Principal, following current principal Dr. Frank Wood’s retirement.
Joe Dierks currently is in his first year as an assistant principal at WHS and will remain in that role.
“I’m looking forward to this new chapter at Washington High School,” McCallum said. “We will continue with our tradition of pride and excellence. Our new personnel will continue to uphold high standards.”
Kleekamp and Wallace both were internal candidates for the assistant principal positions.
“Shawn and Mary both are professionals who have taught at Washington High School and have developed tremendous respect from students, parents, and the faculty and staff,” McCallum said. “Both will bring strengths to our school to help us continue a focus on student achievement and Blue Jay pride. I look forward to working with them as they begin their administrative careers.”
Kleekamp currently is serving her ninth year at WHS as special education instructor/case manager.
She’s also been the junior varsity and seventh-grade volleyball coach during that time.
“I am very passionate about the direction in which our school and district have been moving over the past few years, and I am looking forward to continuing to expand my partnerships with students, parents and staff as we grow together,” Kleekamp said.
Kleekamp, 31, grew up and lives in Washington with her husband, Phillip, and son, Jack, who will turn 2 years old in July.
Phillip Kleekamp is a credit analyst for the Bank of Washington. Mary Kleekamp is a 2003 graduate of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.
Kleekamp attended Fontbonne University in St. Louis, where she also played volleyball. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in K-12 cross-categorical special education and K-6 elementary education in 2007.
She holds master’s degrees in secondary administration and special education administration and is working on her education specialist degree, all from Missouri Baptist University.
“I’m very grateful for the leadership I’ve had the privilege of working under from Dr. (Lori) VanLeer to Dr. Wood, and everyone in between,” Kleekamp said. “We have great students of all ability levels here and it is important to me that we are providing opportunities for success to all students with programs such as CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies), the Mercy Pathways to Employment and others.”
Kleekamp is looking forward to working with the WHS administrative team.
“I’m champing at the bit to get started, but I want to finish this school year strong. I owe that to my students. I’m soaking up every class period I have, because I know it’s coming to an end. I feel like I’m constantly growing as an educator and am excited to start working with the administrative team.”
Shawn Wallace currently is serving his fifth year at WHS as an industrial technology instructor.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s exciting to think that we could have the same leadership in place at Washington High School for a long time.” Wallace said.
Wallace, 33, grew up in Lonedell and attended Northwest High School in House Springs.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education, a master’s degree in educational administration and an educational specialist degree, all from Missouri Baptist University.
Before his five years with the School District of Washington, Wallace spent four years as an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Owensville Middle School.
“We have phenomenal classes and programs here at Washington High School,” Wallace said. “I’m excited to work with the teachers and help them continue to build positive relationships with the students.”
Getting to know the teachers is a top priority for Wallace.
“One of my main goals coming in is to get to know every teacher we have at the high school, get in their classroom and get to know them on a personal and professional level,” Wallace said. “I already know the students, and I’ll continue to build positive relationships with them.”
Wallace also is excited about McCallum taking over as the high school’s principal.
“Dr. McCallum has so much experience in the building,” Wallace said. “She may be new to the position, but she’s not new to the role, demands and challenges ahead. She’s a great leader.”
Shawn’s wife, Michelle, is an emergency room nurse at Mercy in Creve Coeur. They have two daughters, Abigail, 3 years old, and Caroline, 2 years old.