Renton welcomes three new principals to the school district

The principals will lead Benson Hill Elementary School, Talley High School and Hazen High School.

Though summer has just begun, many students in Renton can expect a new face when they return to school in the fall. In the coming weeks, Benson Hill Elementary School, Talley High School and Hazen High School will each have a new principal.

At Benson Hill Elementary, Jeffrey Cerveny will be the new principal. Previously a principal in Portland, Oregon, Cerveny focused on student literacy and social emotional learning, according to Renton Chief of Elementary Education John Schmitz at the June 22 school board meeting.

“Jeffrey’s range of experience really is a great match for our elementary school improvement goals and priorities for next year and that special education experience is such a benefit for a principal,” Schmitz said, referring to Cerveny’s experience as a special education administrator and a special education department chair.

After his introduction, Cerveny spoke to the school board, saying that he’s excited to be there and to join the district.

“One thing that has stood out to me is how warm the welcome has been,” Cerveny said. “Its really a testament to the Renton school district and living the values of service, equity, and excellence in education.”

Chief of Secondary Education Gioia Pitts introduced Ericka Pollard, who will be the new principal at Talley High School.

“She has led the school’s intervention and case management teams to drive towards student outcomes, focused specifically on attendance and academic achievement,” Pitts said about Pollard’s work as the assistant principal at Franklin High School in Seattle.

Prior to taking the position in Renton, Pollard worked for 21 years in Seattle Public Schools as a family services provider, special education instructional assistant, academic interventionist, reading specialist and classroom teacher.

Pollard talked about being thankful for the opportunity in Renton and gave special mention to her mother, who has also worked for Seattle public schools. “I’d especially like to thank my mother who’s shown me first-hand how to love our students to life, and not to death,” Pollard said.

Ashley Landas will be Hazen’s new principal. Landas’ previous role was the assistant principal at Skyline High School in Issaquah. Pitts described Hazen as a go-getter who’s already set up her office.

“She is ready to lead Hazen,” said Pitts.

In Issaquah, Landas has “supervised the special education, ASB and athletics department since 2018,” and had also worked for over 10 years in teaching and leadership positions in Florida. In Florida, Landas was a high school Spanish teacher, a government and economics teacher, and a world language department head. Pitts also mentioned that Landas is a windsurfer.

Landas then spoke about her enthusiasm for her new job and how she cannot wait to start. “I am extremely excited,” Landas said. “I live literally two minutes from Hazen. I can walk there from my house, so I’m super excited about snow days because I can get through the snow.”