Katrina Riippa, Associate Principal
Katrina Riippa has recently moved to Oak Harbor from the Seattle Public School system, where she taught since 2011.
Katrina chose her small, midwest college in 1997 based on its excellent pre-medical program, which boasted an under-graduate cadaver lab. . . and graduated four years later with degrees in English and Studio Art! Upon returning to the Pacific Northwest, she was fortunate to find that a Master's in Teaching program was being offered through a collaboration of Washington State University and City University near her home base of Port Townsend. Student teaching experience at the middle school level solidified her belief that education was the right field for her. --What better way to improve the world than by educating young people to be conscienctious problem-solvers?
From 2003-2021, Katrina taught (mostly 7th and 8th grade) in a variety of environments-- from inner-city schools with 1000+ students to a rural school with only 350 students, grades K-12. While the majority of her teaching was at the middle school level, she stayed connected to high school events and culture through coaching positions (cheer, track and basketball), youth group leadership and her principal internship, where she spent time at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle and Sequioia High School in Everett.
Katrina's interest in becoming a school administrator stemmed from a jarring and tragic event in her most recent school community. This event gave her a new perspective on-- and understanding of -- the importance of strong, positive, thoughtful school leadership. Her philosophy surrounding leadership is that it is the administrators' role to consider the school holistically, providing an environment where (to the greatest degree possible) a sense of safety and certainty is paramount. In a place where students feel safe, they are better equipped to learn, develop positive relationships, and gain a greater sense of self, which will prepare them to enter the "real world" with confidence. It's not the school's job to make life "easy" for students, but to provide them with the skills, resources and supports to tackle challenges as they arise.
Katrina is honored to have been granted the opportunity to work for -- and with -- members of the Oak Harbor community. Oak Harbor High School's career preperations programs, enthusiastic teaching staff and reflective, thoughtful administrative team are all aspects of this school that make her proud and truly excited to be a part of the Oak Harbor and Wildcat community!