Pristine Principalship

Getting ready goodbye to the past four years and hello to the future


The Bellingham Promise

Michelle Kuss-Cybula gives a speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new building in January of this year. As the new building begins and her principalship comes to an end, the smooth and ahead of schedule transition into the new building will be remembered with her strong leadership heading the move.

Blake Zimmermann

In the last four years as principal, Michelle Kuss-Cybula has stood fearlessly at Sehome’s helm during one of the biggest transition periods in the school’s history.  However, with the move approaching its final stages, the time for new leadership in our community has never been better. Our new principal starting in Fall 2019 will be Sonia Bell. She has served as an Assistant Principal at Squalicum High School this year and was an Interim Assistant Principal at Sehome during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Kuss-Cybula appreciated her time here serving as Sehome’s Principal, but she is also looking forward to her new role as the Superintendent of the Cle Elum Roslyn School District. She explained that the size of the students in the school district matches the student body size of Sehome, so her relationships with the people there will be different. 

“I’m looking forward to knowing every student and family of that community that we serve,” Kuss-Cybula said. 

Another change will come with a shift in what her new job will entail. Instead of leading a singular school, she will be in charge of most aspects of the entire district from food services to busing. 

Kuss-Cybula is also looking forward to the change of scenery. 

“…nature is everywhere. You don’t have to have to travel to get out to the outdoors for the four seasons,” Kuss-Cybula said. 

On the other hand, Kuss-Cybula will miss the experiences here too. 

“I will miss the relationships with students, being able to see kids every day,” said Kuss-Cybula. “When you are a superintendent you don’t have those relationships, you’re more of a visitor than a mentor or advisor or a teacher or a coach and that’s one of the things I will absolutely miss the most.”  

The new principal was decided upon by many people through a series of interviews. Multiple committees in the Sehome community helped to decide, including parents and staff. One contributing group was a separate student committee. 

“…we pulled together groups of students. We wanted diversity like representation from ELL, and the LGBTQ+ community, athletics, clubs, sports, CTE, music, art and drama,” Kuss-Cybula said. “We really wanted a robust representation of students at the table so that we had different groups being represented asking different questions. 

Bell  reported that her experience as a staff member in a variety of schools around the district will be helpful in her new responsibilities, and that learning from others will be a vital tool as well. 

“Being the principal will be a much larger responsibility than being an administrator,” Bell said. “Observing Kuss-Cybula has been very helpful for my new position.” 

Bell also said that she looks forward to using the new building as a creative space for both students and staff to use in new and unique ways. 

In the upcoming weeks Bell will be visiting to meet students and get acquainted with the new space. If you are at all interested about our new principal be sure to drop by the office and say hello.