Bob Duke will return to Lowell Elementary School as interim principal this fall as Tacoma Public Schools continues its search for a permanent leader at Lowell, the school district announced today.
Duke, a retired principal, stepped in last school year on an interim basis at Lowell during the illness and following the death of former Principal Bob Dahl. Dahl died last spring after a 15-year tenure as principal of Lowell. At the time, he was the longest serving principal at a single Tacoma school and many in the school community mourned his passing.
Interim Superintendent Carla Santorno said in a news release that despite a recruiting effort, the district could not find a candidate ready to lead Lowell permanently. The district will hire a dean of students to provide administrative assistance to Duke, who has limitations on his retirement that prevent him from working full time for an entire school year. Meanwhile, the district will continue to keep the permanent principal job posted and open.
Duke is well-known throughout the school district. He worked as principal at Baker Middle School from 1999 to 2002 and as a long-term replacement principal since 2005 at Edison and Mann elementary schools, Bryant Montessori and Stewart Middle School.
Since 2005, he has served as a founding board member and board chair of the Kids at Hope Northwest Regional Training and Resource Center. He was also a member of the board for Communities in Schools Tacoma and for the Washington Association of Middle Level Principals.
Duke held leadership positions in seven schools in five school districts, including Bethel, Clover Park, Olympia, Tacoma, and University Place.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Western Washington University and a master’s in education administration from the University of Puget Sound.