WALLA WALLA — Renown Lincoln High School Principal Jim Sporleder has resigned due to an undisclosed, nonlife threatening medical disorder, the Walla Walla Public School District announced Tuesday.
Sporleder has made national news for the success Lincoln has found under his administration. The school, which serves students who struggle in larger schools like Walla Walla High School, saw its graduation rates spike from 13.4 percent in 2008 to 69.7 percent in 2010, where it has stayed since.
Furthermore, the school has seen a dramatic drop in suspensions. In 2009-10 students recorded almost 800 days of suspension, according to a Seattle Times article. By 2011-12, that number had dropped to just 103.
Sporleder has been on medical leave since the start of the school year and will remain in that status until June 30, 2014, the district said.
Phone calls to Sporleder were not returned this morning, and district officials did not comment on the nature of his medical disorder.
Interim principal Marci Knauft will continue to serve as Lincoln’s acting principal for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year. The district will conduct a principal selection process to hire a permanent principal for next school year.
Sporleder has been employed by Walla Walla Public Schools for 28 years. He began in 1986 as a special-education teacher at Garrison Middle School. He spent three years as Garrison’s assistant principal and 10 years as the school’s principal. Sporleder was named the principal of Lincoln High School in 2007.
His previous teaching experience from 1977 through 1982 was in Glendora Unified School District near Los Angeles.
He took a break from education from 1982 to 1986 to work with his family’s retail business, Sporleder’s for Men and Women.
“In my 31-year career in education, I have never worked with someone as committed to his students as Jim Sporleder,” Superintendent Mick Miller said in a prepared statement. “We wish Jim good health and nothing but the best in retirement. He will be missed, but his impact on kids in Walla Walla will not be forgotten.”
Ben Wentz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8315.