Hazen High School principal retires after 35 years in education

July 3, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Sue Beeson (right), retiring as Hazen High School principal, gets a final adjustment of her robes from Science Department Chairwoman Teresa Coda before the last commencement exercise she presided over June 13 at Meydenbauer Center. Photo by Greg Farrar

Sue Beeson retired last month after working 14 years as an administrator at Hazen High School, the last three as principal.

“I’m going to miss the students, parents and staff who have made my time here at Hazen rewarding,” she said. “It’s been an adventure, but an adventure I have shared with a tremendous staff.”

Beeson, who retired June 30, has worked for the same employer – the Renton School District – since she graduated from Western Washington University. She taught math at Renton’s Lindbergh High School for 21 years before moving to Hazen as an assistant principal.

“I remember when we didn’t have an auditorium or the commons,” she said. “I have seen tremendous changes at Hazen with the new construction and I take pride in that.”

She has also put her stamp on the sprawling campus of 1,360 students and 110 faculty and staff. More than 90 percent of Hazen’s 10th-graders this spring passed the writing portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, an increase of nearly 10 percent over last year’s test takers.

Beeson leaves a job so consuming that she’s typically at work until 6 p.m. or later on weeknights, she said.
At a school assembly the week before June 13 graduation, Beeson revealed she was retiring.

“She started to cry and said in her heart she will always be a Highlander.” said Mandy Schendel, of Newcastle, Hazen student body president. “She got a standing ovation after her speech. That shows how much people respected her.”

Renton Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel said Beeson is a dedicated, caring, committed and talented educator.

“She will be missed, but leaves a lasting influence on the Renton and Newcastle communities, having graduated hundreds of skilled, caring and involved young citizens,” Heuschel said.

John Kniseley will be the new Hazen principal.

Kniseley’s most recent position was principal at Ridgefield High School, about 15 miles north of Vancouver, Wash. He has also served as assistant principal in high schools in Mission Viejo, Calif., and Monroe.

He has taught high school and middle school mathematics, algebra, geometry, and U.S. and world history.

In addition, he has coached high school boys baseball and girls softball, and has served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

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