Longtime resident and Haines School vice principal Kim Sundberg will be leaving to work as principal of High Lakes Elementary School in Bend, Oregon. She and her family, husband Scott and children Sanona and Corwin, leave for Bend on July 16.

Sundberg began her career in education as a second-grade teacher in Haines, where she taught for four years before becoming the dean of students. She said she’s excited to lead an elementary school.

“That’s my love, elementary,” Sundberg said.

Sundberg moved to Haines 22 years ago. She worked at the Hotel Halsingland, waitressed at the Fort Seward Lodge and owned and operated a breakfast and lunch food cart called the Local Catch.

She went back to school at age 37 and earned her teaching degree after a year. She applied unsuccessfully for three jobs at the Haines School before moving to Juneau to gain teaching experience. She later returned to Haines and again applied for a local job.

“I came back and the second-grade position opened up,” Sundberg said. “I said, ‘Okay, this is my fourth and final try. If they don’t hire me now, we’re out of here.’ Cheryl Stickler called me up (offered me) the second-grade position. I just squealed.”

While working as dean of students, Sundberg earned a masters degree in educational leadership. She applied for the Oregon principal job in April. She said Bend was one of a few places her family had considered living. Kim Sundberg’s mother and family friends are also moving to the area. She said they’ll keep their home in Haines and visit in the summer.

“This place grabs a hold of your heart. It’s been home. The community here is precious,” Sundberg said. “There just comes this point where life becomes a bit routine and you just want to see different places and try different things. It’s scary but also very exciting.”

Superintendent Roy Getchell said Sundberg will be hard to replace. He said Sundberg was in charge of coming up with an online learning platform when the pandemic begin in March 2020, and only had a week to do it.

“I think we did it as well or better than anybody that I saw under the circumstances and that’s a direct result of her effort,” Getchell said. “Having somebody that every day came in and did her best and worked her hardest and did that with a smile no matter the circumstances was an absolute gift for me as a superintendent, but also as a parent.”

Getchell said the school is in the process of hiring a new administrator.