Richard Dormer, principal of Petersburg High School

Richard Dormer, principal of Petersburg High School, pauses during a community forum in the  Ketchikan High School library on Friday evening. Staff photo by Sam Stockbridge

Petersburg High School Principal Rick Dormer will be the next principal of Ketchikan High School, the Ketchikan School District announced on Monday, concluding the district's search for a successor to Kayhi Principal Jason House.
Dormer spent Friday in a gauntlet of interviews and discussions with students, staff and the public, along with the two other finalist candidates for the position: Graham Storey, who is the principal of North Pole High School in North Pole and Maurice "Tom" Vail, who is the interim principal of Havre High School in Havre, Montana. About 50 staff members got a chance to meet the candidates during the interviews on Friday, as did about 150 students, according to Interim Superintendent Melissa Johnson.
Friday's visit was capped off with a community forum and meet-and-greet session in the Ketchikan High School Library. Ketchikan School Board Clerk-Treasurer Bridget Mattson was the only member of the public to attend either opportunity.
Johnson and incoming Superintendent Michael Robbins made the final decision on Monday afternoon after considering feedback from students and staff who participated in the interview process on Friday.
"Rick brings with him much experience and energy that will be a great addition not only to Kayhi, but to the KGBSD," Johnson wrote in an email to staff on Monday.
Last month, House announced that he will transfer to Schoenbar Middle School to serve as its assistant principal after finishing out the school year with Kayhi. When the current school year ends, House will have been Kayhi's principal for three academic years.
He explained in a phone interview Friday that he's transferring in order to spend more time with his family.
"Really, it comes down to prioritizing my family," he said Friday. "This is a fantastic job, but it is very demanding on time and resources and mental energy and all of those things. And I think my family has really supported me through this, but they've paid a price, and I've paid a price and lost time with them."
In a March 3 email to Kayhi families, House added that the position at Schoenbar "will be a good fit for the needs of my family and for me, as it represents a "return to my roots" — I spent many years as a teacher and administrator at the middle school level.
"I am looking forward to working with the younger siblings and friends of our Kayhi students in the years to come," he added. "I am also delighted that one of my daughters is starting at Schoenbar next year and we will finally have a chance to be in school together!  It will be a great joy to work with these Schoenbar Knights as they grow to become Kayhi Kings!"