It’s not new Thorp Schools Superintendent Andrew Perkins’ first rodeo. In fact, Perkins has family roots in the valley going back to 1872.

On the death certificate of his Native American great-great-grandfather Shadow Top, it shows he died in “Kittitas.”

“In 1872, Kittitas was Thorp,” Perkins said, who thinks his distant relative could be buried in the area. “It’s just an ironic thing, coincidental.”

Coincidental or not, Perkins himself has supplanted himself in the district, buying a house on Robinson Canyon Road and diving headfirst into the small-district superintendent position he had been looking for.

Before his career in education, Perkins was a pilot in the Air Force, then later owned and operated the Royal City newspaper for 15 years. When his wife became sick of the deadlines, he went back to Central Washington University to earn his history certification and became a history teacher 13 years ago.

While earning additional administration credits, he found himself thrust into an assessment coordinator role, which quickly led to him becoming the athletic director, then the Career Technical Education director, then the assistant to the superintendent, all within the last five years.

“I went to the superintendent school at WSU and I told the superintendent at Royal, let me go to a couple seminars see if i actually want to do this,” Perkins said. “Because if I do, I want to go to a small school district and finish out my career in education as a superintendent. Then Thorp came up just like that.”

Perkins said he was one of 18 candidates, and when they offered him the job, his answer was simple.

“I said, ‘Ya dang right,’” Perkins said.

A GOOD FOUNDATION

Perkins said he is thrilled with the position Thorp is in, most of it he credits to outgoing superintendent Linda Martin and assistant principal Chris Jensen.

“I told (teachers and staff) ‘You have too good a thing going, I’m not here to change things,’” he said.

The one thing Perkins said he’d like to explore further is the development of a CTE program, which helps students apply classroom skills to real life applications, opening up a lot more opportunity.

“If you look at the small vibrant high schools statewide, they have a very vibrant CTE programs in their high schools,” Perkins said. “That retains kids and possibly even attracts kids from outside the district.”

Perkins said he was attracted to staying in a small district because he likes to be in the trenches where the action is.

“You’re with the teachers in the classrooms, in with the students, in with the athletic departments, you get to know the parents,” he said. “It’s small enough where you get to know everybody and your impact is magnified.”

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