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Nat’l assistant principal of 2022 tapped to lead Talent MS

Katherine Holden, who earned Assistant Principal of the Year titles at the state and national level, will lead Talent Middle School next year. [Coalition of Oregon School Administrators photo]
Katherine Holden, second in charge at Ashland MS, was selected by Phoenix-Talent superintendent to lead Talent Middle School next year

Over the last year, Ashland Middle School Assistant Principal Katherine Holden impressed the education world enough to win “Assistant Principal of the Year” titles at the state and national levels. Now, she’s impressed the Phoenix-Talent School District enough to move up to a principal position.

The P-T district announced late last week that Holden will lead Talent Middle School come Aug. 1, succeeding Kent Vallier, who will move to Phoenix High School to become assistant principal there.

“I’m excited to use my skill set and my drive to improve teaching and learning to support Talent Middle School,” Holden said in a district news release, “and this opportunity presented itself at a time when I was inspired to take on a new challenge.”

In April, the National Association of Secondary School Principals named Holden national assistant principal of the year for “creatively guiding her school through a dangerous fire and pandemic.” Prior to the national honor, Holden was nominated by her peers to be Oregon’s assistant principal of the year, and the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators agreed.

Holden was cited by these state and national organizations for her efforts in converting the AMS school gym into a shelter for families impacted by the Almeda fire the day after the disaster. Holden also was a “Teacher on Special Assignment” at AMS and coordinated Ashland School District’s Schooling Through COVID effort.

“My leadership style is very much one to support and serve teachers so they can be the best for their students, and that might be with resources, it might be with clear communication or with strong structure,” Holden said in a district news release. “As well, I want to be in service to our families and students so that they can successfully engage with the learning process.”

P-T Superintendent Brent Barry called Holden’s appointment to TMS a “big win” for the district, owing to her state and national titles.

“Katherine’s national recognition and everything she did to earn that honor speaks volumes about who she is as an educator,” Barry said in the release. “I believe her innovative approach will have a major impact at TMS, and we are very fortunate to have her.”

Holden has spent her career in Ashland schools and grew up in the Rogue Valley attending them. Her father also was a teacher in Ashland.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.