Bob Duke will return to Lowell Elementary School as interim principal to start the 2012-2013 school year. Duke, a retired principal, stepped in last school year on an interim basis to lead Lowell during the illness and death of Principal Bob Dahl.
Despite a recruiting effort, the district could not find a candidate ready to lead Lowell permanently, said Superintendent Carla Santorno. The district will hire a dean of students to provide administrative assistance to Duke, who has limitations on his retirement that prevent him from working full time for an entire school year. Meanwhile, the district will continue to keep the permanent principal job posted and open.
Duke is well-known throughout Tacoma Public Schools having worked as principal at Baker Middle School from 1999 to 2002 and as a long-term replacement principal since 2005 at Edison and Mann elementary schools, Bryant Montessori and Stewart Middle School.
Since 2005, he has served as a founding board member and board chair of the Kids at Hope Northwest Regional Training and Resource Center. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for Communities in Schools Tacoma and the Board of Directors for the Washington Association of Middle Level Principals among other community leadership positions.
During his 22-year career as a principal, Duke served as principal or assistant principal at seven schools in five districts He was in leadership positions in Bethel, Clover Park, Olympia, Tacoma, University Place school districts and taught in Aberdeen and University Place school districts.
From 2002 to 2005, Duke served as the coordinator of Educational Leadership at Pacific Lutheran University.
Duke owned Duke Properties LLC, an apartment business in Lakewood and Tacoma, and The Burger Works restaurant in Puyallup from 1990 to 1993.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Bachelor of Arts in education from Western Washington University in 1969 and a Master of Education in administration from the University of Puget Sound in 1974.