Principal to return to Sheridan

Kris Knutson also will work at Creekside Oaks
By: Cheri March The News Messenger
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In the reversal of an earlier decision, the local school district announced Tuesday that popular administrator Kris Knutson will return as principal of Sheridan Elementary School this fall. Knutson had bid a painful goodbye to the Sheridan community this summer, when his position was eliminated in the Western Placer Unified School District’s 2008-09 budget. As the district struggled to cut nearly $3 million to meet its projected deficit, it made financial sense to eliminate Knutson’s position and instead have Phoenix High School’s current principal, John Wyatt, split his time between the two schools, said district Superintendent Scott Leaman. But with the growing Phoenix campus extending its hours from a half-day to an early afternoon release, it became apparent that Wyatt would not have had much physical presence in Sheridan. “John might have arrived just in time to wave the (Sheridan) kids goodbye,” Leaman said. “As summer went on, it seemed to become less and less appealing.” After completing its hiring processes, district officials were left with several open part-time positions, which they pieced together to create one full-time position. After much discussion, Knutson accepted. “My heart is in this district,” Knutson said. “I’m thrilled to be able to stay here and serve the Sheridan community.” Though the Sheridan principal position was always part-time, also involving program specialist duties for the district, previously most of the work was completed in Sheridan. But starting this August, Knutson will spend a day and a half teaching at Creekside Oaks Elementary School each week. He will stay at Sheridan for the rest of the week as both a principal and teacher. He will also continue his work as a program specialist. Once the news was official, Knutson used the school communication system to leave messages with parents. Immediately, he said, he began receiving excited phone calls. “I’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” he said. “The whole budget mess has created problems throughout the state and unfortunately it hit here as well,” he added. “I’m just grateful that the Sheridan community is going to be served.”