These days there is an abundance of Panther pride at Bonney Lake High School in the Sumner School District.
Over the past nine years, the high school has received numerous awards marking gains in student achievement, increased graduation rates, assessment scores and improving levels of career and college readiness among graduating seniors.
“I believe the awards are a result of a dedicated staff who came to Bonney Lake High School to ‘do business’ a different way with the focus on student achievement,” said Principal Linda Masteller. “We have never deviated from that focus.”
Masteller — who helped found the school in the 2005-2006 school year and has been its principal for the past nine years — said the awards to her mean the school as a whole is doing the right thing.
“Obviously, a school can always get better, but it is recognized that we do continue to get better,” Masteller said. “Our entire staff — from administrators to counselors, to teachers, to secretaries, paraeducators, custodians — all care about kids. And our kids care about each other.”
On May 29, the Sumner School District announced Masteller as a recipient of the Robert J. Handy Most Effective Administrator Award for 2014.
The award, established in 2002, is sponsored jointly by PEMCO, the School Employees Credit Union and the Washington Association of School Administrators.
Under Masteller’s leadership, a few of the awards the school received over the years include the 2011 Washington State Innovative School Award, the 2013 High Schools That Work Outstanding High School Award and this year’s Washington Achievement Award for showing growth in student performance over the past five years.
Masteller said her leadership philosophy “stems around shared/distributive leadership.”
“I have never had a need to be in the spotlight,” she explained. “I like to discover talent in the staff and develop that talent, creating leadership within. I believe shared leadership creates ownership in what we do. We have a strong group of teacher leaders who support our vision and deliver professional development, sharing their strengths and expertise with others.”
Masteller said as principal she sees herself as responsible for providing the “resources and vision to help staff/students find success.”
“We are proud of the variety of leadership opportunities we provide to students through various groups aimed at their interests,” Masteller added. “Because of this model, we have a long list of awards our students have earned, which continues to grow each year, at the state and national levels.”
Masteller said the school vision is: “Excellence of mind, strength of character.”
“This stands for our belief in creating well-rounded students, who excel in academics but who are also solid citizens,” Masteller said. “We believe athletics, clubs and activities are equally important with academics.”
Masteller will end her tenure as principal this year at Bonney Lake. Starting next fall, she will become a director at the Sumner School District office.
Masteller said her hope is that “staff and students at Bonney Lake High School continue to prosper and maintain the excellence we have begun.”
“I could not have asked for a better group of people,” she said.