Prairie View Elementary School

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Principal's Letter

From the Desk of Dr. Gonzales

Dear Prairie View Families and Community,

I am grateful and feel blessed to continue as the principal of such an exemplar school; which I believe is a special place of learning.  This is my second year at Prairie View and I absolutely love it here!  The staff and I are so appreciative of the community that surrounds us! It is filled with committed parents/guardians who partner with us and will do whatever it takes to ensure that our students grow as learners, leaders and citizens.  We are always striving to make sure we provide the best education to help your child achieve his/her highest potential.

We started this year with approximately 130 new families to our school. Therefore, I would like to make sure you know my background.  I grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, with my parents and four siblings.  I attended Washington State University for my bachelor’s degree, University of Oregon for my master’s and for my doctorate returned to Washington State.  I truly am a Die-Hard Cougar Fan at all times! 

This is my 31st year as a Professional Educator. I started my career teaching in Pasco School District for 4 years.  Then I headed to Yakima and Walla Walla School Districts where I was a principal for a combined 13 years. From there, I spent 12 years of my career at Spokane Public Schools where I supervised principals in 17 schools for 10 years. I then returned to the school-house as a principal for 2 years at Franklin Elementary before coming to Prairie View last school year.

I have been married for twenty-three years to Kirk Hirota who is a professional photographer. He has his own photography business but also teaches at Rogers High School and is adjunct at Whitworth University.  We have two daughters, Camina who is a senior at Whitworth University and Kimiko who is a freshman at Stanford University.  My parents have helped us raise our family and have lived with us for 21 years.

As you can imagine, education for all children is important to me. My parents did not have the opportunities afforded to us now.  My dad attended school until sixth grade and my mom to third grade. Luckily, I was able to teach them both how to read and write.  With my past experiences growing up, I came across people who I referred to as dream breakers. I do believe all of us at Prairie View are Dream Makers.  You may have learned from your children already that DREAM is our theme at our school.  We are here to help your children realize their dreams.  Some of the ways we are doing this is through having staff talk to students about their college experiences, setting goals with our students and wearing our college gear on Fridays.  These are just baby steps towards partnering with our parents to make students more aware of the opportunities available to them. Our school’s Council for Learning Improvement (CLI) team consists of staff and three parents: Cassie Anderson, Adrienne Fischer, and Stacy Hill.  Our focus is on College & Career Readiness (CCR) as part of our school improvement process.  If you have suggestions or ideas for us, please feel free to contact one of them or myself.

You will also start to hear more about Project Lead The Way (PLTW).  As funds allow, and with PTO support, we will be doing some supplemental units around computer science and bio-medical.  We are starting with fifth graders soon, so stayed tuned.  Again, this is to give students awareness of what is available in the STEM fields. Other members of our team are looking at other opportunities to get families involved in a career day or a career fair of sorts.

Feel free to give me a call at (509) 465-7802 or drop me an email at irene.gonzales@mead354.org at any time.  I will do my best to get back to you within 24 hours.

I am excited about our continued partnership together!

Irene Gonzales, Ed.D.