BURLINGTON — Although it had been 19 years since Jeff Baines applied for a job, when he applied to become Burlington-Edison High School principal, he knew it was the right choice.
Especially once he started hearing words such as “family” and “community” used to describe the school.
“It just feels right,” Baines said. “It feels like this is a calling.”
Baines, who has been an assistant principal at Sumner High School for the past 18 years, was announced as the Burlington-Edison High School’s new principal in February. He will officially start in July.
He will replace Todd Setterlund, who is becoming the district’s executive director of teaching and learning.
“It was important that the next principal selected was a leader who valued developing and maintaining relationships, and had a heart for students and their well-being,” Burlington-Edison School District Superintendent Laurel Browning said. “Jeff will listen and col laborate in a community of excellence and shared values to make an impact on the lives of those at the high school and in our entire community.”
On Wednesday, Baines hosted a meet and greet at the high school where he unveiled to a small group of parents and community members his 100-day plan to integrate himself into the Burlington-Edison community.
Much of that, he said, will involve a lot of listening, learning, and building relationships.
“I’m going to find out what Burlington-Edison is all about,” he said. “I’m going to get out there and have fun with the kids.”
He said he plans to continue the district’s work on equity, as well as its emphasis on postsecondary opportunities — regardless of whether students choose to head straight into employment, enlist in the military, seek a one- or two-year certificate or degree, or a four-year degree.
“The students are going to come first,” he said.
Baines started his education career as a math and physical education teacher, he said.
In 2018, Baines, who also served as Sumner High School’s athletic director for 14 years, was named the 2017-2018 Athletic Director of the Year by the Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association.
“I feel I’ve had a great experience both in the classroom and outside it,” he said.
Come fall, he said, he plans to have opportunities for families to be involved, and would like to have regular, informal meetings with parents and students.
“Relationships and people have got to be the center of what you do,” he said.
He and his wife Marguerite are building a house in Skagit County, and they have no plans to go anywhere else, he said.
“I can’t wait to get started,” Baines said. “I’m a Tiger now.”