Washougal, WA – Renae Burson will be the new Assistant Superintendent for the Washougal School District, effective July 1, 2018.  She has been principal at Gause Elementary since 2016.

“I am excited to continue the good work going on at Washougal School District supporting teachers, students and families but in a different capacity,” Burson said.  “I enjoyed being at Gause and working closely with students.  That every day interaction and relationship I had with them is what I will miss most.”

Burson brings broad experience in educational roles to her new position.  Prior to the principalship in Washougal, she has been a teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, an instructional coach, a K-8 principal, a curriculum coordinator, a special education director, and an AVID district director.  “This background provides a strong basis for the multi-faceted position of Assistant Superintendent,” said Mike Stromme, WSD Superintendent in a June 14 email to staff.  “Renae’s work in education reflects a passion for closing the opportunity gap and providing equitable experiences for every student.”

Burson was named the Shasta County, California Administrator of the Year in 2016, Teacher of the Year for the Mt. Lassen Math Council in 2011 and a California Distinguished Teacher in 2010.  She holds a Master of Science degree in Applied School Leadership.

“I look forward to continuing the district’s focus to meet the needs of every students,” Burson said. “Whether it is instructional materials, AVID or multi-tiered systems, it is all geared for every student’s success.”

Washougal, WA — Hathaway Elementary third grade girls got the chance to take a spin at engineering thanks to a visit by OMSI’s Pit Crew on June 5.  This OMSI imagineering program is a hands-on, inquiry-based workshop in which students use the engineering design process to solve challenges through design and testing.

Students created their own car design with a wide variety of materials supplied by OMSI.  They were expected to continue to alter their designs to complete a series of challenges including driving straight down a ramp, stopping in a target and finding ways to keep their “drivers” belted on the car.

“We want to begin inspiring these girls to pursue engineering, science and exploration and help to increase their curiosity,” said Hathaway third grade teacher, Nita Young. “They are learning too that it is ok to have your hypothesis proven wrong and to keep testing your ideas. It is exciting to hear the talk around the room.  They are working individually and together and using the right vocabulary to discuss the process.”

Student London Hickey said she has learned it is ok to keep trying at something before getting it right.  “I know to not get discouraged and to keep going for it,” she said.  “I like working to make the cars better each time.  I have not learned about these things before.”

“The first tires I used were smooth plastic and they did not work very well,” said student Tiffany Del Carlo.  “I changed them to the rubber tires and they stayed on and worked great!”

Student Charlotte Bisila worked on the challenge to secure toy people on board her car.  “It is fun to find a way to keep them safe with rubber band seat belts,” she explained. “I am testing different ways to hold them on.”

“We decided to have this be an all-girls workshop to take any competition with the boys away,” said Hathaway third grade teacher, Jaymi McQueen.  “We hope this gives the girls a greater interest in the sciences and encourages them to be a part of our Robotics Club next year. Traditionally, young girls have not been engaged in engineering. This is something extra special for third grade girls to help them get excited about this area of study.”


Having fun.

Washougal, WA — Stepping into the Washougal High School Excelsior Building on Friday, June 8 was like stepping into a high-end restaurant with delicious made-to-order brunch food stations as WHS Advanced Culinary students showed their skills preparing food and serving eager staff and students.

“The goal of this project was to have these students perform in a work situation under pressure,” said CTE Culinary teacher at WHS, Brenda Hitchins.  “They all did very well, and it was a success!”

WHS Principal Aaron Hansen was a huge fan of the event and the food.  “This practice is taking the students to a whole new level of experience and culinary delights!” he said between bites.

The project began with students creating a survey to discover what menu items WHS staff and student body would prefer.  In addition, each station had a survey to collect diner feedback.  According to Hitchins, students were also working to test some action stations to showcase on Thursday the 14th (omelets) and Friday the 15th (pasta).

“We were a bit challenged by the time constraint of the classes,” she said. “Students prepped the items the day before and had 25 minutes to set up the stations the day of.  Because of the success of the event and all the mouths to feed, we went over the time, but the teachers excused them from their next class.”

“We are so proud of our students and the success of the program” says Margaret Rice, CTE Director for Washougal School District. “It is truly a team effort and if not for the support of all the WHS staff, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off.”

Senior Austin Jandreau seemed in his element as he efficiently took customers’ orders and prepared a stir fry dish with his station partner, Nate Beaver.  “I have always loved cooking,” he admitted.  “I have been cooking with my mom since I was seven.”  And there appears to be no end in sight with Jandreau planning to attend Clark College and study Culinary Arts.  The end goal is to someday have his own bar or bakery.

Jandreau enjoyed the live action of this experience and the positive feedback he was receiving from students he served.  The duo had to think quickly when the meat component to their menu item ran out before the time was up.  “We just changed our offer to a veggie stir fry and everyone was happy,” said Jandreau.



WHS principal, Aaron Hansen, views the food being served.

“The take way from the event was the students showed they had skills to handle pressure situations, practice all the skills they have learned this semester and walk away with a sense of pride that they gave back to the school community,” Hitchins said. “We are fortunate to have the funding from CTE and the students’ fees to support these events.  Our next event is the Senior Tea in which the Baking and Pastry class will make all the food and students from all classes have an opportunity to volunteer to set up, serve and clean up.”

“With this type of real world practice these kids can go to any local restaurant and have pertinent experience to share on a resume and in an interview,” Hansen said.

Hansen then took a moment to look out at the tables filled with students at the Excelsior Building commons sampling the cuisine prepared by their peers.

“Just look at them! They are waiting patiently for their order, they are sitting at the tables engaged in conversation,” he said. “Phones are not out.  The kids are enjoying each other as they eat.  I think food does that.”


Preparing the food.



Serving guests.

Washougal School District and Unite! Washougal Community Coalition have announced the two winners of the Washougal Middle School Poster Contest Winners:

  • Trinity Nicholson, 7thGrade, Canyon Creek Middle School
  • Skye Miller, 7thGrade, Canyon Creek Middle School

The theme for the 2018 poster contest was “Everyday Heroes Unite!” and middle school students from Washougal were asked to create an original poster using this theme for the citywide contest.

Members of Unite! Washougal Community Coalition selected the two grand prize winners and the six Honorable Mentions at their April 2018 community meeting. The Honorable Mention recipients are:

  • Mia Lockard, 6thGrade, Canyon Creek Middle School
  • Claire Zakovics, 6thGrade, Jemtegaard Middle School
  • Isabella Albaugh, 6thGrade, Jemtegaard Middle School
  • Kaylee Browning, 6thGrade, Canyon Creek Middle School
  • Emily Wade, 6thGrade, Jemtegaard Middle School
  • Jada’lynn Iriarte, 6thGrade, Jemtegaard Middle School

Skye Miller’s Heroes submission.


“All of the entries depicted the theme ‘Everyday Heroes Unite!’ very well. It is clear that our youth realize that heroes do not need capes or super human powers to make a difference. Our youth understand that ordinary people, including themselves, can show acts of kindness towards others,” noted Megan Kanzler, Youth Engagement Coordinator for Unite! Washougal and the Washougal School District.

Trinity Nicholson’s submission will be used as the new logo for the middle school and high school prevention club – HEROES Unite! All of the artwork submitted in the contest will be distributed to local schools, our public library, government offices and other community locations.

“We look forward to next year’s poster contest and encourage all who entered this year to participate again next year” offered Kanzler. She added an invitation to all Washougal citizens, “Let us all do our part in being everyday heroes to help those around us.”

by Megan Kanzler

Washougal WA — Camas and Washougal community members are being asked to help make an impact on the lives of school families who need a little help with summer meals.  IMPACT CW (Camas-Washougal), organized by St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Washougal, will be held on Sunday, June 10 from 11am to 2pm at Parker’s Landing Historic Park at the Port of Camas-Washougal, to collect donations and fill food boxes.

“We are asking the community to drive up and drop off their food donations,” said Beth Raetz, Impact CW Committee Member and Church Office Secretary. “If they can, we’d love to have them stop for a while, help fill boxes, enjoy a free BBQ lunch and listen to an outdoor concert by the Camas-Washougal Community Orchestra.”

St. Matthew Pastor Bob Barber started the event and continues to be a driving force. According to Raetz, the event grew from a sermon series “Be the Difference,” which culminated in going shopping and packing boxes during the Sunday morning worship service for the first event.  Barber is the 2018 Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce’s selection for Citizen of the Year.

Although many people are conditioned to make food donations around the holidays, Raetz explains that there is another critical need at this time of year.  “We are targeting families in the schools who receive free breakfast and free lunches and are a part of the backpack programs,” she said. “When school stops for summer those meals end.  These kids may get into a summer meal program but there could be several weeks before they start.  These meals will help to bridge that gap.  It just gives them a boost.”

Now in its fourth year, IMPACT CW is growing. “This year we are continuing to invite groups to get involved and help out,” said Raetz.  “We have high school students working on their community service hours, scout troops, church groups, businesses and families volunteering to help.  It is so wonderful to see families from little ones to big ones all helping to fill up boxes.”

Once the boxes are filled, they will be packed in a U-haul truck and on Monday morning will be delivered to Camas and Washougal schools who will then connect the boxes with families in need.

Schools are currently working to identify those families who could use some help.  “Last year we made 140 boxes,” said Raetz. “This year we expect the need will grow to 200.”

Non-perishable food donations can be made in advance of the event and dropped off at St. Matthew Lutheran Church at 716 Washougal River Road ,Tuesday through Friday from 9:30am to 1:00pm.  Financial contributions can be made through or checks made out to St. Matthew Lutheran Church.

For more information, contact Raetz at the church office at 360-835-5533.

Washougal, WA — Robert Knight, President of Clark College, addressed the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club Thursday morning on the benefits of community colleges, as well as plans for the school’s future. Rotarians also recognized Camas High School sophomore, Yozen Fang, for his academic achievements.

In his speech, Knight said he’s pleased with the strength of Clark College, which was established in 1933.

“The way we teach is changing,” said Knight. “And, our teachers are some of the best out there — I know our students are getting a quality education.”

He said two-year colleges like Clark address a demographic of youth that aren’t ready for the size of four-year universities.

“We get them ready, and with our small class sizes, around 20 students per class, teachers get to know the students by name,” said Knight. “And, as parents we’re saving you a lot of money. They’re getting the same quality education as they would at a large university for these first two years. They’re the same classes. Then you can go on to become a Duck, a Beaver, a Huskie, or a Cougar.”

He also discussed the growing demand for vocational education, and wants to change the attitude toward trades.

“Parents need to know there’s a growing demand for these kinds of jobs, and they need to know they’re paid high wages,” said Knight. “So we’re working on changing those perceptions. We also need to think about going to school year-round, instead of taking summers off. That’s a old way of thinking.”

Additional points:

  • Clark College owns several acres of land to build a northern campus in Ridgefield, of I-5 exit 14. The school bought the land several years ago, and is getting the funding to build there.
  • Clark College Columbia Tech Center Campus is a big success, and helps students in Camas, Washougal and East Vancouver get to Running Start classes quickly.
  • The Running Start program has 2,400 students.

Yozen Fang

Rotarians also honored Yozen Fang, a soft-spoken Camas High School sophomore, as their club’s Student of the Month, for his academic achievements.

“Students are always given praise by staff,” said Rotarian, Ron Carlson. “According to your teachers, Yozen, they say you’re an inspiration to the work ethic of CHS. Your ability to experience defeat and never give up is amazing. You are very successful, and … you are slowly … shedding some of your shyness in the school. Another teacher said ‘underneath that quiet exterior is a sharp and witty mind. He diligently works on his work and is faithful to every teammate he works on in his research projects. While he is quiet, his math work is excellent. He is very talented, very bright.’”

Fang writes in Japanese using highly skilled terms.

Fang said he loves to go on long walks, and read.


Camas High School sophomore, Yozen Fang, was recognized as the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club’s Student of the Month at the group’s weekly meeting.








Washougal, WA — High school education is often multidimensional.  For Washougal High School senior, Ulysses Ramel, his interest and skill in 3-dimensional printing helped him to broaden his expertise while he developed opportunities for other students to learn how to create 3D projects.

Ramel made positive and negative 3D mold examples for use in a new unit of instruction in the WHS Baking and Pastry class.  He also wrote step-by-step instructions for students to create a positive mold using class software.  This work, and the passion he exhibited to help others learn, earned him recognition in the 2018 Clark County Youth Commission’s Youth Achievement Award for education.

In the nomination submitted by WHS Librarian Hillary Marshall, she said his expertise helped her to teach and reach more WHS students.  “Ulysses demonstrated perseverance as Chef Hitchins and I were creating a brand-new unit of study and he created multiple molds as examples. His attention to detail was exceptional as he explained why designs worked or failed and helped me to understand the software, so I could deliver clearer instruction.”

“I was happy and surprised to receive this award,” Ramel said.  “I like sharing my knowledge about 3D printing and helping other students to have the fun of creating something new.  It is a nice feeling to make something for people to see.”

“Ulysses is helpful and wants to share his knowledge of 3D printing,” said Marshall.  “He is kind and approachable so working with him is encouraging.  He helped me giggle my way through learning a software tool that was uncomfortable and foreign to me, so that I could gain confidence under his guidance and deliver a clear, concise lesson to the Baking and Pastry class.”

Ramel is a student at the Cascadia Tech Academy Pre-Engineering program where he refined his knowledge of 3D printing.  His skills were put to the test when he was asked to help assemble the school’s 3D printer.  “By assembling it, I now understand the concepts of how it works so I can see how to work around mistakes and improve the product,” he explained. “Once you know how something works, you know more about how to fix an error.”

Beyond his Cascadia projects, Ramel has also created 3D key chains and drink coasters for the WHS Unified Sports to help the team promote itself.

Ramel is Filipino and arrived in Washougal during his freshman year from the Philippines.  At that time, he could understand some English language but was not able to speak it well. Now he plans to join the Air Force and go on to college for a degree in mechanical engineering.

“I am pleased Ulysses is receiving this Youth Achievement Award,” Marshall said.  “I wanted to recognize his talents and encourage his efforts and help him reach his dream of a career in engineering.  Ulysses is humble about his talents, but they need to be highlighted.”

“I did not expect to get an award for this,” Ramel said with a smile. “It makes me proud.”



Ulysses Ramel received the Youth Achievement Award in Education for his work in 3D printing.

Washougal, WA — At a special meeting of the Washougal School District Board of Directors on April 27, 2018, the school board unanimously passed a motion to hire Dr. Mary Templeton as the next Superintendent of the district. Templeton and three other final candidates interviewed with the Board, district administrators, and representatives of the staff and community on April 25. She will begin her new job on July 1, 2018.

“The district started this process several months ago, gathering feedback from community, staff, and district parents, in an open and transparent process,” said Cory Chase, Washougal School Board President. “The board felt Dr. Templeton’s experience and background are best suited to the current initiatives and opportunities in our district. The board would like to thank all of the community members, staff, and others who participated in the process and provided feedback to help with this process. We are excited to welcome Mary to the Washougal community.” The board worked with Northwest Leadership Associates on the search process.

“I am so excited to be joining the Washougal School District as the new superintendent of schools,” said Templeton. “After spending time in the district this week, it was clear that there are great things happening here and that the community, staff, school board, and parents are committed to excellence for all of our students. I look forward to leading the Washougal School District with this vision for excellence into the future.”


Templeton is currently the Human Resources Director for Certificated Personnel for Spokane Public Schools, a role she has held for four years. She began her education career in the classroom, teaching German, English, and Drama for 15 years. She later served as a dean of students, principal assistant, and then worked as an assistant principal for four years.

Templeton recently received a doctorate in Education from Washington State University and has held a superintendent credential since 2015. She serves on a task force for the Public Educator Standards Board (PESB).

Washougal, WA — When Washougal City Coucilman, Dan Coursey, resigned his seat effective March 31, it set in motion an open process to fill the vacancy. That process ended Monday night with the appointment of longtime Washougal resident, Ernie Suggs, who was sworn in by Mayor Molly Coston.

A total of eight candidates applied for the open seat, and all appeared before the council Monday night to present themselves to the councilors. In a final 4-2 open vote, Suggs won.

“To be honest, it surprised me that I was sworn in at the end of the session,” Suggs said. “I applied two days ahead of the deadline, and we all presented ourselves to the council. I was fourth in line, and we all waited in a small room until it was our time. After that first round was done, the council voted on the top two candidates. Two other were tied for number two, then we talked again to the council, and answered one question from each council member. They voted agin, and it was 4-2 that they chose me.”

Suggs was encouraged to apply by several Camas and Washougal City Councilors.

“So, I thought, OK, I’ll give it a shot,” said Suggs. “To be candid, I was humbled and excited they chose me.”

Suggs is concerned about growth control and wants Washougal to build an adequate infrastructure to avoid major traffic congestion. He’s also a big proponent of inter-agency cooperation, local schools, and small business.

”I’m all about small business empowerment, and finding ways to help off-set the cost of running the city with a stronger tax base,” said Suggs. “We don’t have a lot of ways to bring in funds for the city.”

Suggs has lived in Washougal for 42 years, with his wife, Pat, who are the parents of six daughters, and grandparents of 13 grandsons. He worked for the Camas School District for 32 years as the Camas Community Education Director. He retired 10 years ago.

The council will get to fill another open seat when Washougal City Councilor, Joyce Lindsay, retires from public service effective May 31. The applicant process will begin anew. The city attorney said each council member could nominate for the next vacancy on the Washougal City Council.


Ernie Suggs takes his City Council seat.




Washougal, WA — The Washougal Police Department is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Unite! Washougal to bring a Drug Take Back event to Washougal. The four-hour event will be held from Saturday, April 28, from 10 am to 2 pm at Silver Star Search and Rescue, 1220 A Street, Washougal.

The drug take back held last fall helped nearly 160 Washougal residents safely dispose of 595.25 pounds of unused and unwanted medications with local law enforcement officers and Unite! volunteers.

The drug disposal event will be held at four locations throughout Clark County. All pills will be transported for incineration by the DEA.

The Washougal Drug Take Back event will be sponsored by Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, Prevent, Vancouver Clinic, Downtown Washougal Association, and the City of Washougal. Other partners included: D Studio 21, Prevent Coalition, Orchard Hills Dental, Vancouver Clinic, St. Matt’s Lutheran, and Bethel Community Church.

Unwanted medications can be disposed of year-round at several collection sites across Clark County. Controlled substances, such as pain killers and tranquilizers, can be taken to participating law enforcement agencies. Non-controlled substances, such as over-the-counter medications, can be taken to local participating pharmacies and sharps can be taken to local participating transfer stations. For more information on both types of disposal, visit