Meet TSD's New Director of Elementary T&L

Tahoma School District Hires New Director of Elementary Teaching & Learning
Posted on 03/16/2023

The Tahoma School Board on Tuesday, March 14, approved the hiring of Dr. Gretchen Schlag as the Tahoma School District’s Director of Elementary Teaching & Learning (T&L), effective July 1, 2023. Schlag is currently the Western Region Associate Senior Director for AVID, a nonprofit that provides professional development, educational resources and support for school districts.

“Elementary teaching is where my career started, and it’s where my passion lies,” said Schlag. “Students start their journey to being college, career and life ready at elementary school, and I want to help give all our students a chance to be successful from their first day.”

After receiving a Master’s Degree in Education from Troy State University, Schlag started her career as a kindergarten teacher with Camden County Public Schools in St. Mary’s, GA. She progressed to an Early Intervention Program teacher in the same district where she implemented state reading standards for elementary students, led staff professional development and devised comprehensive units of instruction.

Headshot photo of Dr. Gretchen Schlag

Over the following five years, Schlag relocated to Oregon and served as an elementary reading specialist, instructional coach, and adjunct instructor for multiple universities. She eventually became a principal in the Forest Grove School District (2014-18). Prior to joining AVID, Schlag was the Director of Academic Programs for Portland Public School District (2018-21), where she facilitated the development and implementation of curriculum. Additionally, she supported the implementation of Equity Based Balanced Literacy and Equity based balanced biliteracy.

“Gretchen brings a new perspective to our district, which is greatly encouraged as we continually strive to strengthen experiences and outcomes for our students,” said Superintendent Mike Hanson. “Opportunities to bring in talented and experienced leaders who have had success elsewhere are so valuable; it reconnects us to the education world and reminds us that we can always learn from others. At the same time, it’s clear that Gretchen shares the love and empathy for students that we expect across Tahoma.”

Prior to the school board’s approval, Schlag toured various schools and the local community.

“What I noticed most is that Tahoma students and staff seem happy,” said Schlag. “There’s a positive energy at every school I visited, people are kind to each other, and there’s a clear sense of both high expectations and compassion. The feeling of pride and care in the community is obvious, and that carries into the walls of the schools.”

Schlag will serve in her new role alongside Director of Secondary T&L, Lindsay Henry. Henry is currently T&L’s Asst. Director. T&L’s restructured leadership will take effect following Exec. Director Dawn Wakeley’s retirement at the end of the current school year.
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