News

Out with old principals, in with new as school year ends

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Thomas Jefferson High School and Camelot Elementary School will have new leaders in September.

Mark Marshall will take over at Jefferson. He was selected after a national search.

Marshall is a middle school principal in Georgia and earned his doctorate in education from Auburn University in 1999.

He replaces George Ilgenfritz, who presented his letter of resignation in March. Ilgenfritz had been with the district since 2000. This academic year, he was at the center of campus controversy. Before classes started, he removed the longtime advisor of the student leadership and government programs for unspecified reasons. Students, parents and some faculty were upset with Ilgenfritz and protested publicly. Later in the school year, Ilgenfritz was suspended without pay for 20 days after an employee filed a complaint with district officials.

In late November, a social studies teacher at Jefferson was placed on leave after the mother of one of his students told Ilgenfritz and district officials that her daughter had received sexually explicit mail from a felon in the state prison in Monroe. The felon was a former student of the teacher’s.

The teacher has since left the district.

Marshall, who has been an educator for 19 years, explained that choosing Federal Way was the result of his own national search. He wanted to get back to working in a high school - he was the principal of an Atlanta high school earlier in his career.

He also started an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program at the middle school where he currently works.

Marshall also believes Thomas Jefferson is on the verge of becoming a great school and garnering recognition.

“I feel the ingredients are there,” he said.

Since he was in high school, Marshal knew he wanted to work in education, he said.

Camelot Elementary’s new principal is homegrown.

Paul Marquardt was a teacher in the school since 1997. He taught grades three through six and was an intervention specialist for students needing extra academic help. About four years ago, he decided working in school administration was where he wanted to go next. Marquardt did his administrative internship in 2003-2004 under his predecessor Sharon Stenersen.

Stenersen is retiring after 35 years in education. She has been a principal in the Federal Way Public Schools for 20 years.

“I feel really confident he’s (Marquardt) going to be wonderful,” Stenersen said.

Marquardt heaped praise on his former boss calling her an “incredible principal” and was “to blame” for the school’s success. Camelot is a nominee for a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School Award. Schools that are academic leaders in the state or have made dramatic improvements are recipients.

Marquardt has his bachelor’s and master’s in education administration from Central Washington University.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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