Dr. Kelle McCallum

The new principal at Washington High School is a familiar face — Dr. Kelle McCallum, who currently serves as associate principal. She will replace Dr. Frank Wood.

Wood is retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year after spending nine years as principal at WHS.

McCallum’s appointment is effective July 1.

“I’m very humbled and excited about this opportunity,” McCallum said. “I’m looking forward to working with the staff and the community in my new role as principal.

“There are a lot of exciting things going on at Washington High School,” she added. “I love this place. The chance to be principal here is just icing on the cake.”

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer made the announcement to the WHS staff Wednesday morning.

McCallum has been with the district for 18 years, serving as WHS associate principal for the last eight years. She was the assistant principal at WHS for two years before being named associate principal.

“Dr. McCallum is very excited about this opportunity,” VanLeer said. “I have no doubt she will excel as our next building leader at Washington High School. She is familiar with all of the inner workings and current initiatives that, combined with her level of intelligence and people skills, make her the right person for the job.”

McCallum and her husband Kirk have two daughters, Abby, 13, and Allison, 8.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in education (health and physical education K-12) from the University of Missouri in 1994. From there, she received her master’s degree in school counseling from Lindenwood University in May of 2000 and earned her administration certification from Lindenwood in November of 2003.

McCallum received her Doctor of Education in policy and leadership from the University of Missouri in  2011.

In 2013, McCallum was named the Assistant Principal of the Year in Missouri.

McCallum was hired at WHS in July of 1998 as the director of guidance. She took over as assistant principal in July of 2006 and was named associate principal in July of 2008.

Through the years, she has served as senior class sponsor, junior class sponsor, guidance department chair, summer school – career academy, job shadowing coordinator, seventh-grade volleyball coach and eighth-grade volleyball coach.

“We have great students and very supportive parents here at Washington,” McCallum said. “It’s been, and will continue to be, a privilege to work with them. We take a lot of pride in the things we are doing here at Washington, and we will continue to do that.”

New Leadership Team

VanLeer said the district celebrates the service of two exceptional leaders at WHS — Wood and Assistant Principal John Ragan, who also plans to retire at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

With that said, a new leadership team will be assembled, VanLeer said.

“A step forward has been taken in that endeavor by promoting McCallum, who brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill to the position,” she said. 

McCallum has worked very closely with Wood as well as under Dr. Marty Riggs, the prior principal.

Wood said he’s excited about McCallum taking over as his replacement.

“It’s a wise choice,” Wood said. “Kelle is an outstanding leader who has helped us move things forward here at Washington. She’ll do a great job.”

McCallum will work closely with the district’s human resources department to assemble a new administrative team. Returning next year for his second year as assistant principal will be Joe Dierks.

“Kelle has been a great mentor for me this year. As I have gotten to know her, I have become more and more impressed with her intelligence, attention to detail and her desire to help students learn,” Dierks said. “Kelle has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is in the field of education. Her dedication to the staff and students at WHS is unwavering. I have no doubt that she will be a great head principal. I am so happy to have the chance to continue to work with her.”

VanLeer said the district will begin working through a process of hiring two new assistant principals, which is critical in a high school the size of Washington.