Veteran educator Kim Messersmith will serve as principal of the new Hunt Middle School, Superintendent Carla Santorno announced this week.
Messersmith currently serves as principal at Stewart Middle School. She will continue in that role until the end of the school year while also working on opening plans for Hunt.
Hunt Middle School in West Tacoma originally opened in 1958. In 2010, Hunt was identified as among the bottom 5 percent of Washington schools in student academic performance. Because of that designation, combined with low enrollment and the physical condition of the school, the district closed Hunt. Voters approved construction bonds in 2013 and 2020 to fund a new, $48 million Hunt Middle School now under construction. The school will open in fall 2021 and alleviate overcrowding at Wainwright, Mason and Truman. Elementary schools that will feed into the Hunt boundary are all or some portions of Geiger Montessori, DeLong, Whittier, Franklin and Jefferson.
“Kim’s experience and success aligns perfectly with what we need to launch a new school,” Superintendent Santorno said. “Thanks to the synergy between Kim’s leadership and work of the talented teaching staff, Stewart Middle School has made tremendous strides in student achievement over the last few years.”
Stewart also was identified as a low-performing school 10 years ago.
Messersmith earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education K-8 from Washington State University. She earned her Masters in Educational Arts Integration from Lesley University and her Certificate in Educational Administration from University of Washington.
She began as an elementary school teacher in 2001, who eventually became a National Board-Certified Teacher in 2005. By 2007, Messersmith became an instructional coach before becoming a dean and teacher at Giaudrone Middle School in 2010. Beginning in 2014, she served as assistant principal at Stewart Middle School before becoming principal in 2017.
Messersmith described her selection to lead Hunt as bittersweet.
“The families and staff at Stewart Middle School are the most amazing people I have had the honor to work for,” she said. “I have no doubt that the Stewart community will continue to flourish. The lessons I’ve learned here and the relationships I’ve developed have made a world of difference in my growth as a person and as an educator.
“As I look forward to a new experience, I am deeply honored to lead the reopening of Hunt Middle School. I want to help create an experience for the families and students of West Tacoma that is enriching and inclusive. Together, we can build a school that the community can be proud of and call their home.”
Messersmith has other ties to the Hunt community. When Stewart Middle School underwent a historic renovation before reopening in March 2017, Stewart students spent nearly two years temporarily schooled at “Camp Hunt.” During that time, Messersmith, the assistant principal, helped develop partnerships with the Morgan Family YMCA, Tacoma Community College, Temple Beth El, Tower Lanes and Sunrise Rotary. In her application for the Hunt principal opening, Messersmith noted that “developing community and family partnerships will be extremely vital to the reopening of this iconic West Tacoma school.”
In 2018 and 2019, Messersmith also served on the Hunt Leadership Team, which established a vision for the design of the new Hunt, including site and building layout.
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