the Olympia School District logo, a line drawing of the capitol dome with the Letters O, S, and D at the base


School District

1113 Legion Way SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Office: (360) 596-6100

Newly assigned 2016-17 leadership

We are pleased to announce the following district leadership assignments for the 2016-17 school year approved this summer by the Olympia School Board:


Donna Atkinson
Supervisor of Student Information Systems
Formerly student management and data systems coordinator in the Centralia School District. Atkinson worked in the coordinator role in Centralia since 1988. Atkinson assumes the duties held by Susan Straka, who will retire in December.



Wendy Couture
Safety and Risk Reduction Manager
Formerly managed workers compensation and risk management programs for the Renton School District. Couture worked for the Renton School District for the past two years. Before that, she worked two years as an HR/EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) manager with Cadence Aerospace – PMW Operations, and six years as regional environmental, health and safety manager with C&D Zodiac, Aerocell Division.


Kristy Grinnell
Assistant Principal at Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA)
Formerly interim assistant administrator at ORLA.  Grinnell joined the Olympia School District in fall 2015 as the interim assistant administrator at ORLA. Before that, she worked two years as assistant principal in the Central Kitsap School District and one year as an assistant academic administrator with K12 Inc. Additionally, she worked three years as dean of students for Federal Way Public Schools and eight years as a teacher/administrative intern in the Clark County School District in Nevada.


Lauri Klancke
Executive Director of K-12 Teaching and Learning
Formerly coordinator of the Highly Capable program in the Olympia School District. Klancke worked with the Highly Capable program this past year. Before that, Klancke worked as deputy superintendent of schools from July 2014 through June 2015 at Shanghai Community International School, China. She also worked three years as an assistant school director, high school and middle school principal, and curriculum coordinator at Harare International School in Zimbabwe; four years as an assistant high school principal/dean and teacher at American International School of Lagos, Nigeria; and eight years as a teacher in the Tacoma School District. Klancke replaces Scott Niemann, who is the district’s new executive director of Human Resources.


Rhonda Morton
Director of Transportation,
Formerly transportation supervisor in the Tumwater School District. Morton worked in Tumwater’s supervisor role the past two years. She has extensive experience in public school transportation, including seven years as Transportation Director in Yelm Community Schools, one year as transportation supervisor in the Toledo School District and eight years as a secretary/bookkeeper/dispatcher with the Centralia-Chehalis Transportation Co-op. Morton replaces Troy Lee, who resigned in June.


Beau Neilson
Project Manager
Formerly mechanical engineer with BCE Engineers Inc. Neilson worked at BCE Engineers Inc. since 2014. Before that, he worked five years as foreman with Bulldog Construction LLC, two years as a Science Tutoring Center coordinator with South Puget Sound Community College and one year as an iron worker with Prengal Construction.


Ken Turcotte
Director of Student Support
Formerly program specialist in the Olympia School District Student Support office. Turcotte worked as program specialist in Olympia the past four years. He also worked one year as a speech/language pathologist in this district and 12 years combined as a speech/language pathologist and autism/behavior intervention specialist in the Sumner School District. Turcotte replaces Cissy McCormick, who resigned in June.



Previously announced leadership assignments for the 2016-17 school year include:


Curtis Cleveringa
Principal at Capital High School

Formerly principal and athletic director in the Taholah School District. Cleveringa has worked since 2014 in the Taholah School District, located on the Quinault Indian Reservation in Grays Harbor County. Before that he worked one year as an administrative intern in Utah, preceded by 15 years as a classroom teacher ─ six years in Utah and nine years in Zillah, Wash. During many of those years, he also served as a high school basketball and football coach. He replaces Michelle Anderson and Jennifer Hewitt, who served as interim co-principals this past year and will return this fall to their former assistant principal roles at Capital High School.


Mark Connolly
Principal at Pioneer Elementary School

Formerly principal at Rose Valley and Carrolls elementary schools in the Kelso School District. Connolly spent the past seven years at Rose Valley and Carrolls elementary schools while also serving as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Washington State University, Vancouver. Before that, Connolly worked three years as director of elementary education in Kelso, eight years as elementary principal at Butler Acres Elementary in Kelso, seven years as an elementary teacher in the Puyallup School District, and two years as a teacher in Puyallup’s Students Temporarily Away from Regular School (STARS) program. He replaces Linda Heade, who served as interim Pioneer Elementary principal this past year.


Scott Niemann
Executive Director of Human Resources

Formerly executive director of K-12 Teaching and Learning. Niemann served as executive director of Teaching and Learning for the past two years after having served four years as executive director of teaching, learning and special programs for the Centralia School District. Niemann also served five years as a K-8 principal in the Burlington-Edison School District, a high school assistant principal for one year and a middle school assistant principal for five years in Arlington Public Schools, an elementary school teacher for two years in the Granite Falls School District, and an elementary school teacher for two years in the Denali Borough School District in Alaska. Niemann replaces Aaron Davis, who resigned to accept other employment.


Celeste Waltermeyer
Principal at Olympia Regional Learning Academy (ORLA)

Formerly interim principal at ORLA. Waltermeyer served one year as the school’s interim principal. Before that, she worked one year as ORLA’s assistant administrator. She came to ORLA in 2014 after having worked 14 years at Yelm High School in roles including administrative intern, dean of students ASB adviser, culminating project coordinator and teacher.